Yesterday I headed out on an ambitious adventure, but only on a whim I had the night before. Despite deciding to do this ride at the last minute, I had a number of objectives and a bit of nervousness. I had two destinations in mind, and I had no idea how long it would take to reach them, and I had to be home by 8 pm. That gave me 13 hours. Tick tock tick tock.
I sure didn't think I'd end up on this ridge. But it had a trail, so I followed it. Eventually I hit a 2-track, and then no trespassing signs on a burly gate. So I headed off into the woods in the direction I thought I needed to go to get into the next canyon. After unintentionally chasing a deer for a few minutes, I popped out on a faint 2-track. That led me to a dirt lane. Big Rock Road the sign said. Then I passed Needle Disposal Road. Seriously. After a long descent, I found myself on the wrong side of a locked gate. Oops.
I climbed for a bit on a dirt road, then a mine road, and then discovered some amazing singletrack. Some was steep, loose, moto trails, and some was clearly ridden in by mountain bikes. I eventually came out of the woods onto pavement after weaving around for the better part of an hour.
Then I got stormed on. It was the first of no fewer than six storms to slam me during the remainder of the ride. I sought shelter from the hail in a spruce thicket as the thunder boomed overhead. I even dozed off for a few minutes before more thunder shook me awake. As the storm passed, I raced to beat the next one over the high point on my route, a jeep road that hits 12,000'.
Just below the summit, I rode around on the tundra for a bit until I found the elusive singletrack I was hoping to ride. It presented itself before too long, and I took off toward treeline. The trail snaked its way down for several thousand feet, getting rockier and gnarlier the lower it got. It was great fun, and amazingly, had no foot, hoof, or tire tracks on it at all.
Finally at the bottom, all objectives for the day had been met. But there I was, 8 hours in, very far from home, and with no route back planned. Time to consult the map...
Alice's Wonderland was a rather creepy, dangerous place if I remember the story correctly. This ride was through my version of Wonderland: only partially explored, unpredictable, deserted, and linked together by singletrack. Hopefully I'll get to return to Wonderland again before too long...