The day started off with an unpleasant surprise, and the result of one of two mistakes that I made in a 24 hour period. I woke up from a less-than-stellar sleep, thanks to the toddler next door who had a nightmare around 1 am. I discovered that my bike supplies bin was opened, and the ground next to it was littered with about $15 worth of Clif gels and Clif bars, as well as electrolyte tablets and an emptied bottle of citrus-scented Pedro’s brand bike degreaser. I guess Pedro’s is the brand of choice amongst Rocky Mountain National Park black bear. My neighbor confirmed that it was a bear, because he found bear paw prints on his truck. I didn’t realize that I had a bag of bike nutrition buried in the bike bin, but I’m guessing that even if I didn’t, the degreaser probably would have been alluring enough. That poor bear must have had some serious digestive issues today.
We managed to break camp by 8 am and took the shuttle bus up to Bear Lake, where we hiked down to Bierstadt lake and soaked in some incredible mountain views. We chose a shorter hike in order to reduce the intensity of complaints from the boys. As we came toward the end of the hike, the boys really slowed down, so I marched ahead. The slow pace was really tough for me to handle, so I made my second mistake and got too far ahead. Toby forged ahead of Gail and Toby, trying to chase me down, but he lost the trail within a couple hundred yards of the trailhead. Fortunately he was smart and walked along the Bear Lake road, which paralleled the last part of the trail. Toby and I then doubled back to look for Gail and Leo, who also lost the trail and also ended up on the road. Fortunately there was no crisis and we all regained our good spirits quickly enough.
Exhaustion quickly set in, and we spent the rest of the afternoon in mellow reading mode. Our evening feast was delicious, and consisted of veggie chorizo, home fries, salad and smores. Yum! Tomorrow morning, if weather cooperates, I’m off to Trail Ridge Rd., which is the highest continually paved road in the U.S. It’ll take me from 8100’ to over 12,000’ and across the continental divide. Woohoo!