The Mythical State of Jefferson: Day 02
10/13/2013 | THE MSOJ
When your route is compounded with semi-out-of-date maps and the lack on any actually previous route experience the chance that you take a wrong turn that costs you most of a day’s travel is very high.
We all know how important water is, right? Well if you don’t, let me tell you that it is up there. Right alongside air, energy, and heat in the top tier category of things that you definitely need. It was with this thought in mind that we picked our night’s camp. We had pitched our tents in an area where a natural spring bubbled out from underground. In ideal conditions even the most pasteurized of individuals would be able to drink directly from this clear fountain of limitless hydration but here, under the wing of a bird named misadventure, we were not so lucky. Here in the pristine high mountain wilds the aforementioned ranchers had grazed their cattle, and the cattle had peppered our little spring with a heavy selection of excrement in such away that they must have felt it was critically important to get every last gram of their waste into the water. Cow pies lined the little stream and in the small lengths of shore where the cows had happened to be off target we crouched and pumped, siphoning the day’s water rations through our little water filters. You have to trust they will do the job, you just do, because you can’t go without water but you can’t have gut-wrenching diarrhea/vomiting when you are smack dab in the middle of nowhere either. So you remember the packaging and the numbers and the promises and you pump your water, then you drink your water. Then you smash, compress, roll, bind, zip, and strap all of your gear to your bike and head off; or at least that’s what we did.
Wrong turns are going to happen. They just do, and when your route is compounded with semi-out-of-date maps and the lack on any actually previous route experience the chance that you take a wrong turn that costs you most of a day’s travel is very high. And here is the thing about wrong turns: it only takes one, it only takes one wrong turn to take you up the steepest gravel road you have ever been on in your life. And one wrong turn, just one wrong turn, will lead you onto a road atop a ridge that becomes a string of dead ends. And you tick them off, one road after another in the hopes that one of them will eventually lead you down to the camping spot you had hoped to reach on the first night of your trip. The camping spot that you will not reach by the end of your second day, the camping spot that you will never, ever, reach. You might find yourself pacing and anxious at the end of one of these dead ends. Maybe you are scooping the last bit of water out of your water bottle with your fingers and suckling them for nourishment. Maybe you are bickering with your compatriots, the kind of bickering that privileged grown men do, the polite-with-teeth arguing of friends on the fray. Despair, driven off for most of the day walks among you. Things do not look good. One wrong turn and you wonder when you will be forced to eat Daniel. One wrong turn and you wonder if the salt collected in his jersey will be salvageable as a seasoning.