Bailing bikes from the Bush

Andy and I were fortunate to escape from the trail this afternoon without broken hips or concussions.  Ice, ice, baby.  Ice that has been present for a couple of weeks had just received a faint dusting of dry snow, which lubricated the surface, hiding the worst ice flows and skidding one sideways on slopes.

Packing a saw and a small axe,  the was plan was to hit the snowmobile trail from here on High Street over to Moody Pond, where we’d clear any remaining blockage from trees that had bent or even fallen down due to the weight of the ice on the limbs.

It wasn’t very long until we were in trouble.  I am not going to publicize exactly what event occurred in the first two minutes of riding due to fear of significant others ( i.e. wives) likely scrutiny of this entry, and neither do Andy nor I give up on much of what we try to do, but we both were in total agreement we had to get off the trail.

We were riding fat bikes- me the Pugsley, and he his Farley.  We let almost all the air out of our tires to increase the contact patches.  The problem was his lack of studs on his tires.  I was able to grip the ice.  I couldn’t walk without slipping all over the place, but he couldn’t walk or ride. We actually tried to walk the bikes back up the big open field we were moving through but couldn’t get up.  Below us was more descent and then flatter, wooded conditions, which we aimed for.

It was no better on the flat.  After reaching the edges of his land, we cut through the woods and headed back through the field across from his farm.

Still, I was able to ride, and ride anywhere. My bike floated over the untracked snow, which was covered by that lubricated  ice shield that made walking very difficult.

I was instantly transported back to the 10,000+’ snow covered High Sierra, backpacking in California in 2010, where my booted feet were kicking steps through the ice in the hopes of surviving the traverse.

IMG_2506

Same thing here, with Andy tracking in my steps.  It took us 45 minutes to walk the little blip near the Start and Finish icons below.

Home to Searsmont and back

Home to Searsmont and back

We gathered our senses, congratulated ourselves on making it this far, and looked at our watches.  It was now 3:15 PM. We agreed to stay on back roads and put in some more miles before the riding would get crappy for the next two days, where above-freezing temperatures, and 1-2″ of rain would turn this rock hard surface to a quagmire.

It’s not easy riding the roads with 4 pounds of pressure in your tires, but we made it in before dark, and we agreed to ride again together some time soon and tackle those downed trees.   Maybe Sunday?

About Tom Jamrog

I'm sixty-seven and live in the Maine woods. I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2007, the Pacific Crest Trail in 2010, Vermont's Long Trail in 2011, the Continental Divide Trail in 2013, the Camino Portugese (2016), and Newfoundland's East Coast Trail (2017) . I am outdoors every day. I offer guided backpacking trips and classes in Maine, through "Uncle Tom's Guided Adventures".
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3 Responses to Bailing bikes from the Bush

  1. Tenzing says:

    Ice Age Paleo-Man!!

    Like

  2. Tom – sssshhhhhhh – you can tell me – Marsha does not need to know – but if you write it here in small font, I promise never to divulge……

    Like

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