This past weekend I took Mandy on her first backpacking trip. I had been many times in Boy Scouts and a handful of times as an adult. But in the 12 years we've been together I've never put forth the effort to give her that experience.
When we first got together we climbed so much there was very little time for other outdoor recreational pursuits. And then Boone came along and there has been little opportunity for the two of us to get away and do something like backpacking.
This month without the kids has offered us many kidless opportunities. While trying to pin down something to do over the weekend I came up with the idea of backpacking in to Bison Peak in the Tarryall Mountains within the Lost Creek Wilderness. I had attempted Bison on New Year's Day, 2009 as a day trip from Denver. I was thwarted by altitude and a false summit and had never been back.
The 12.2 mile round trip seemed to lend itself to an "easy" introductory backpacking trip. The elevation gain and elevation in general made for a bit more of a challenge than I had planned for. But all in all it ended up being a good trip. We camped at Bison Pass and then summitted Bison Peak on Saturday morning. We returned to the car in the early afternoon and was home in time for an early dinner.
What does all of this have to do with cycling? Well, other than the fact that after we reached the trailhead we were engaging in human powered transportation, the trip was good prep for me for my upcoming bike-packing trips.
Evans, then Guanella. From Guanella I think I will hike out to Squaretop Mountain, a 13er. I still think I'm being overly ambitious. I still think I may be biting off more than I can chew. But the adventure will be worth it.
I forgot how enjoyable camping can be, especially going beyond car camping. Last fall I got a slight taste when the kids and I bikepacked a part of the Medicine Bow Trail. It was a lot of work with two kids and hauling bikes and gear and whatnot. But that trip was fairly successful too. We didn't bike the entire Medicine Bow Trail, but we did pull off an overnight trip on the bikes.
The kids were bummed that we weren't waiting for them to come home to go "camping" this past weekend so I guess once they get back we'll do another fun family outing.
But where? Will we bikepack? Car-camp? Rock climb? All of the above?
In the meantime I will be riding a lot while Mandy is gone with them to New York. If I had more vacation time...well, I'd be going to New York with them, but if I had a little more I'd do a long bike tour while the rest of my family is out of town. But I will get some miles touring with the Xtracycle. I think the experience will be valuable for future cycling endeavors.
I'm thinking next summer we plan a long ride. I'm thinking we make it count.