Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Is this Bon Jon?

Great weather lately in the PNW right? Not! 

All of the following shots were snapped with my nifty-fifty

On days where it's going to be really wet or the terrain rough/unknown
I prefer to take the 50mm prime lens.
It is more robust and takes better low light photos
(great for rain, and lighting in deep forest can be tough sometimes)

Downsides: no zoom, no wide angle either
Far off wildlife and landscapes are harder to capture
but the 50mm lens shines at emulating what the human eye sees.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Bob and I once again decided to forge our own all dirt path into the Olympics.
This gas station was the last hint of civilization till we got back to town.

The plan was to find a route to Bon Jon pass from Port Townsend which avoided the highways.
The last time we were there was on XWA with Shawn and I kept asking
"Is this bon jon?"

I asked with such frequency at one point Shawn was said something to the effect of:
"Dude, I don't know what you are asking me!?"

Every since then, "Is this Bon Jon?" 

has been an inside joke that's been giving us a chuckle on any long climb.

Horn was back in business, but terrain was too rough and jiggled it apart.
Happened back in Ellensburg once too so I glued this one.
Didn't have enough time to set so it jiggled out again.
There's a viable idea in there, the horn itself only weighs 80 grams
powered by my existing bike pump cranks out 120 decibels!! 
Air horn loud at least!

We started an hour before sunrise.
Didn't notice the Barzan poster till I went through my photos
Which was funny because on the route I was telling bob that I want to be Tarzan.
An untethered athlete, not a just cyclist.
These types of rides kind of force that upon you.

After the gas station we battled the power lines till Eagle Creek.
The power line trails are very steep both up and down.
A lot more contrast than the long meandering roads I'm used to.
The weather was unforgiving, stormy winds, and a deluge of water.
Riding out on the Peninsula is definitely a different kind of challenge.

We dried out under a bridge by Uncas Rd.
Didn't plan to, but we had to.
The bridge came at just the perfect time too, it really started to pour.
So many of these moments this year really solidifies my belief that
"Fortune favors the bold."

Rain was so thick it was louder than the creek.

As I was saying earlier, the 50mm lens is very good at emulating the human eye.
This is my favorite shot of the entire trip.

Bob made some coffee and some delicious Miso soup!
One of my favorites and he didn't even know.

I wrang out some layers, put on some dry ones, we ate, recharged.
By the time we tore down the rain calmed down too.
It could not have worked out better, and all of this was new discovery for both of us.

You know there's been a weather event when the amphibians come out.
We followed Uncas road on to a forest road and the real climbing began.

Rough-skinned Newt
They are harmless, but do not eat them. 
A poor soul in Oregon swallowed one on a dare and passed away.
Enough toxin in the skin to kill ~25,000 mice.
Regardless, I still find them to be a really cute critter, and always a treat to see.

Soggy, fatigued, slightly dehyrdrated,
and I couldn't be happier.

The radar did not forecast sunshine, but wow did it lift us.

There's something so primal when the clouds part.
You can feel the recharging properties on your mind, soul, and body.
When you're that cold/wet too it feels so tangible, like you could drink it.

Once again, forging new ground! We can file this stretch under:
"This was once a road."

This is what I mean about the Tarzan stuff.
We had to lift our obnoxiously huge machines through this stuff.
Up and over, a few sketchy descents, it takes you far beyond the bike.
Transforming a ride into an expedition and full body workout.
This is a huge factor in what separates bikepacking from touring I believe.

I did not add any filter
the rapidly changing weather conditions made for a foggy lens at times.

With a different mindset you can convince yourself that none of this was fun.
Not our style though, even with all the physical/environmental challenges it's all:
Postive Vibes!

I could watch the clouds peel off the forested mountains forever

The Olympics are wild, beautiful, and lush with life.

Again, without the storm this encounter would not have happened.

The Pacific Tree Frog 

Photo below (by bob) shows you how glamorous it is to take these photos :
I've crawled on the ground so many times to get the angle I want.
When you get on the animals level it brings you closer into their world.

Riding through the mountains and the forest.

Some cool mushrooms.
Will post ID on later date. 

Update: Clitocybe cf. dilatata

At one point, this truck was brand new on a lot somewhere 😂 
Here we are at the base of Mt. Zion

Mirror selfie!


This is Bon Jon, we made it!
High fives!

First drinkable creek since we got into the mountains.

I didn't pack enough water, bob had a little more than me and shared.
During breaks I was sucking the moisture off of pine needles
which was fun and surprisingly delicious. 
Left a really pleasant taste and kind of perks you up.

Looking at the route it appeared there would be numerous creeks to fill up at.
But this was the first drinkable creek in ~20 miles so we had a few liters each.
Refilled our water bottles for later too.
We were never in danger, but it is weird being soaked and very thirsty.
The elevation we had climbed at this point had been over 5,000ft from the start.

Coming down the mountain is fast, but chilly.
Having an assortment of layers for these kind of rides is paramount.

Till we meet again

Port Townsend's water supply is along this route.
I don't know why they have a decoy goose there, but alright.
I like geese.

(photo of me taking the above photo)

~25mph+ on the way out

We took a long break at snow creek rd/hwy 101 before Jen picked us up.
We had accomplished our mission of finding a nearly all dirt path into the mountains.
Celebrated with the rest of the miso, some coffee, had a nice snack buffet.

Rescue! Thank you Jen!

Ginger the bus!

A VW bus is one of the few vehicles I know of where I can just wheel my bike in.
Made for a really pleasant cruise back into town.

When you've been gripping a wet handlebar for a whole day
Fur is excessively soft, warm, and cathartic.

(George pictured above)

Link to the map below:

Had all the elements of a perfect adventure:
Uncertainty, obstacles, last minute saves, synergy, good food,
and most importantly though:
never-faltering positive vibes.

One of my favorite rides of the year so far!

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