- I had lots of fun. It was probably more fun than if I had hung out and left in the morning.
- I learned a few things about an unusual situation in the relatively safe local environment. I'll bail on a trip somewhere else without a doubt and I'll be better equipped next time around.
- Just like my rule for riding: If you don't crash now and then you're not riding hard enough, you're not getting better and you're not growing. Similarly, if you don't push your gear list to the point of determining that a certain piece of gear won't work you will never know where limits are.
- Did I mention that I had fun?
Headed out... bike lanes in Lexington. Nice.
My favorite spring board bridge... the return trip in the pitch black of night was fun. This bridge deflects 8-10 inches as you cross. Every time I go over I'm braced for it to let go and drop me in the canal.
A little off trail exploring on the way there... I'd pay for that on the way back out with an under-powered head lamp.
The gear... it doesn't take much.
Home Sweet Home
A table for one... ramen & miso is a favorite of mine lately.
I just can't stop staring at my bike... Molly was made for this.
I keep coming back to the MSR HyperFlow filter for a reason.
I decided to call it a night around 9:30pm. I planned on staying up and out later but the bugs were driving me batty. I quickly learned that my bivy (even with the large mesh window around my head) was WAY too hot for a July night in South Carolina. Even with my quilt kicked to the bottom of the bivy I was baking alive. I zipped out and took a nap on top of the bivy for an hour or two. I eventually woke up to the familiar crunch, crunch, crunch of a campsite visitor. I flipped on my headlamp to find a fox about 10 yards from the edge of the tarp. Clapping, yelling and even throwing sticks didn't get him any further than 30 yards away at any given moment. OK, that's it I thought... I'm going home.
Packing up was easy but I was worried about visibility on the ride back. After some brainstorming I was able to hook my Kelty Triptease from my bear bag kit onto the back of my Camelbak to make me visible to cars coming up on me from behind. If you've pointed your headlamp at Triptease at night you know that its unnaturally reflective. I ended up choosing to take my Petzl E-Lite headlamp in favor of my Zebra mainly due to to the fact that its lighter and more comfortable. Unfortunately, its a notch below functional for effective off trail pathfinding and the following bike ride home in the middle of the night. It got me by and that's all it was designed for but I spent 15 miles of riding on the way home thinking of how much better the Zebra would be.
I took a break on the ride home at a side of the road bait shop. The break was more to take in the night than to take a rest. Good times.
So what did I learn?
- Save the bivy for cool weather.
- Bring a decent head lamp. The e-Lite is only good around camp, honestly.
- Think about heading off trail and what that means if you have to get out in an odd situation. I'd do the same thing again but it worked out because I was lucky, not because I gave it good thought.
- Keep pushing. This was a good trip. How do I know? I'm smiling while I write this.