We woke up from our rain sleep to an overwhelmingly FRESH morning at Cataract Lake.
The ponies were patiently awaiting the sunshine to crest the ridge and warm them up.
Lynda's Leaf Tarp had a fresh coat of ice all over it. Personally, I was glad she was cozied in with us for the night.
Cataract Lake. Source of Fresh Water and a Fresh Mind.
Fresh Legs? Not so much. Not for me, anyway.
But my spirit was soaring, wings spread wide, spearing through the fresh morning light.
Leaf Tarp Frosting!
The trail from Cataract Lake is nothing short of mind-blowing and Stellar. (These words pale so sadly!!!) Which means it's just like the rest of the trail: STUNNING in a SOUL-SENSE. One would think that it'd be easy to "get used to" such views, such True Grandeur -- such, jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring views and space-sense!
Not so. All it makes you do is WANT to BE in the space and time roll bliss of that beyond-comprehension physical, spiritual state; that dirt and tundra and rock and sky and cloud .. and ohmyGAWDness.
Truly, all you can do is... roll with it. IN it.
And Be Happy. Happier than you thought possible.
Because it's BIG out there. Bigger than you can possibly fit in your little brain;)
Day 2 found me tired, but over excited, as usual.
Ed was ON CRACK.
And so was LW. (duh).
LW's spirit was high. She did her normal morning spinn-up. She was grinning every inch of the way.
Ed took off.
See - he's THAT far ahead -- without even trying.
If you ask me: I think bikepacking suits ed SO well ;) I dare say we've converted him.
Ed, on the ridgeline, looking back at his companions, thinking: 'wth is taking them so long!!??'
This day caught me in an emotional ... riddle.
I was blissfully happy.
And struggling greatly.
Physical and Emotional.
I was HONORED as could be to be riding with LW, and EDE. I thought often: how the hell did I get so lucky? These people blow my mind as much as these views and this route. I am constantly stunned at how much Love I have for both of them. It as a fitting place for such friendship and honor.
I had one flat on Day 2. Big tear in the wall -- for some reason, we just aired it up and kept rolling... OOPS. It held for the day!!!!!
In this picture below (can you spot LW and I?), I am crying from happiness. I was so intensely happy and grateful -- so satisfied at finally being able to roll through a place I'd only watched my cracked-out-friends roll through (via blue dots).
I cried, thinking about Eszter rolling through here 2 times in he CTR race ... and I cried thinking about CAT rolling through here on her SS -- freaking BADASS.
LW pulled over in this field. The trail was dropping along the last bit of trail for the day -- the last piece that contours some big wall of a mountain to the West. She pulled over, and promptly laid down in the flowers to take them all in at a better level. I love my LW ;)
I found a little bit of "more" energy on that last bit of trail. Then we hit Stony pass, we climbed up, and flew down the other side. That is one hell of a long, descent. I was pretty sure I was going through the break pads a little TOO fast....
We landed in Silverton mid-day. High-tourist hours. yeesh! Ed and I checked into the hotel, and LW checked herself into her hotel. We showered -- and I put on my robe and promptly laid down in the big bed and thought: "there is no way in hell I'm getting an early morning start tomorrow" ;)
We unpacked, dried out, and completely stunk up our beautiful room. We ate, and we retired.
And I went to bed with a feeling of satisfaction, happiness, and as always: a little bit of fear of being able to "make it" the next day.
I fell asleep thinking about how truly unbelievably talented and strong Ez, Cat, LW,Ede are (and of course others)... but these 4 were at the tip of my mind.
And my heart opened more.