First, some history. I went to October Mountain State Forest last year for an easy bit of camping & hiking. While there I found a bunch of old access roads that wandered through the forest & thought hey, wouldn’t it be cool to bring a bike here?
So I did that. I got there Friday evening, set up my tent, biked into town for dinner, came back & started a fire. It was really nice. I even remembered to put on bug spray, because the mosquitoes are bad there.
Saturday morning I had my plan mapped out. I was going to ride my bike on the roads around the perimeter of OMSF, making occasional forays deeper in where roads permitted. I had about 30 miles of roads, but I was concerned that I’d be back in 3 hours so I wanted to take my time. But, to summarize the point of this adventure: ride my bike on country roads.
Well, things did not go that way.
The climax of this adventure went like this. I was pushing, sometimes carrying, my bike down a rocky, half flooded trail. Through mud & leaves & pine needles. Over puddles & slick rocks. I had been doing so for more than two miles. In truth I had been doing this most of the day. The so-called road was supposed to cross the river. It had already done this a handful of times, with very nice bridges that were a welcome respite from the rest of the trail. But this time, the trail just ended at the river. Twenty foot wide & flooded. I had to double back & take another trail. I had to carry my bike up a very steep hill, over worse rocks, recklessly stomping in running water. At the top of the hill I turned left, as the map indicated. I had to carry my bike along the trail, which forked unexpectedly, & forked again. The trail wasn’t marked anymore. The mosquitoes were eating me alive. My calf was bleeding. My neck throbbed from a bee sting. I had had enough.
I got back to base camp more than six hours after I left. I passed out before dark. When I got home I spent an hour & a half cleaning my bike. I bought a new tail light, because I lost one in the woods.
I made every idiot mistake I could have, & I know better. When I should’ve turned back, I did not. When I caught a break, I did not quit while I was ahead, I just rushed back in like a damned fool. Despite somewhat trivial injuries, things could’ve gone so much worse & I consider myself lucky that they did not.
The only positive thing I can say about this trip is that I never panicked. I got angry when the bee stung me. I got angry when the trail ended at the river. But I never had time to be angry for long. I had to keep moving, & I had a bike to haul. If a true adventure begins when everything goes wrong, I did that well. If the true purpose of an adventure is to see what how you react when everything goes wrong, I can say I did that well, too. Hopefully I do not have to do that again any time soon.