We woke up and packed as a trio one last time on the nicest day we had seen in the last 2 weeks. Davy got on a train for Anchorage. His new plan was to fly back to the Bay Area and start a road trip.
Jeff and I put our bikes on the free shuttle that takes you to the end of paved section of the road that goes into the park. We biked 10 miles and dropped our stuff off and Sanctuary River campground. Ironically named, as it turned out to have the most-dense population of mosquitos we encountered in Alaska. Almost unbearable.
We fled the campground and spent the rest of the day biking 40-some miles into the park to Tolkat River. The bus system allowed us to throw our bikes on for free and get a ride back to where we had started.
We had 70 miles to go to get to the main entrance of Denali National Park. After about 10 miles of biking at the top of a large hill I looked back to see Davy riding his bike with one leg and instantly knew the bike tour was over for him.
Hitchhiking to the park entrance was our new goal. About 4 cars before Barry, an extremely nice manager of a golf course in Fairbanks, stopped in his Toyota Tacoma. We threw our bikes in the back and got a ride to an area outside the park called Glitter Gulch by the locals. Davy used his phone to plan his exit. I drank coffee and observed tourists trying to stay warm on a cold and rainy afternoon.
The next day was spent inside the park hiking. It was the first day of our trip that we didn’t get rained on. Denali itself remained hidden in clouds, but it didn’t really matter, the landscape was immense.
Two locals, Joe and Lisa, gave us a ride to a campground a bit north of Anchorage. They were extremely hospitable and had done some bike touring themselves. Lisa had just finished divinity school at Duke and started a job as the first woman Methodist pastor ever in Homer.
A wet evening and morning led to a mercifully dry day of biking up the tree-lined highway (with some sun eventually!) and a campsite beside Montana Creek. Davy’s knee had been hurting him and he was not optimistic about his ability to bike as much as he had planned.
The next day involved a similarly wooded day of biking. We were close to the tallest mountain in North America but couldn’t see it through the clouds. A mistake of pitching our tent at a wooded walk-in site led to the second-most buggy campsite of the entire tour. Evening rain forced a retreat to the tent for one of several competitive games of Oh Hell. One more day of biking and we would be at the entrance to Denali National Park.
When we got to Homer we were taken case of by an extremely gracious trio of hosts, Tucker, Joe, and Trish. We ended up spending a few days in Homer as we waited for a ride Joe arranged to retrace our route back up the Kenai Peninsula to Anchorage.
It was chilly and cloudy but Homer’s location surrounded by water, mountains, and glaciers still felt like another planet at times. Joe’s place from the hills east of town had an amazing view across the bay that we were able to take in sitting around the campfire.
We left the Anchorage airport around 11pm and headed south. Our late start resulted in a trip to Walmart for supplies that was particularly unpleasant even for Walmart. The ridiculous amount of light allowed us to then bike 15 miles outside of town and crash at an information hut after finding actual camping to be lacking.
Our first full day involved windy miles around Turnagain arm. We ened up camping at Upper Summit Lake. Our second full day started out with the only stretch of road with zero shoulder at Cooper Landing, and ended with an excellent camp spot at Johnson Lake where a moose hung out for a while.
The third day was a bit shorter and brought us into Homer. The weather had been overcast and none-too-warm. Fortunately we managed to avoid biking in the rain. That would come later.
I met up with my man Busy S. in Moab and we road bikes out Potlatch road and drove down to the creek that evening. The next day we road to the Needles of Canyonlands surrounded by warmth and sunshine. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures.
Busy left to go back to Denver and for the next 3 days we climbed at Cat Wall, Donnelley Canyon, and 1st Meat Wall.
eating an apply may seem like a very simple thing, but it's not. In fact, if I consciously had to remember and direct all the chemical steps required to get energy out of food, I'd probably starve to death. And yet, even bacterium can do 'anaerobic glycolysis'; that's why apples rot. It's lunchtime for the bacteria. They, we, and all the creatures in between, possess similar genetic instructions, our separate gene libraries have many pages in common. Which is, by the way, another reminder of the deep interconnection of all living things on our planet.