Category Archives: Wander

The mind wanders. Legs get wrestless. This is a place for stories, stories about going places, about the things that happen along the way, about the people you meet and the things you discover. Open this door and follow along on journeys short and long, but be careful how far you go, for even I’m still trying to find my way back…

The long road home.

Cars equal comfort.  They make things easier, faster, and less committing.  When you drive to the crag or the trailhead, it’s like you’re leaving a safety net in the parking lot.  With a bike, not so much.  When the day is done or the climb is over, there’s no jumping in the rig and punching the cruise control home.  When you’re cycling for transportation, the ride home is as integral a part of the climb as the summit, whether it’s a few blocks home from the gym, or a week-long ride back from the desert.  The lesson is this: the climb isn’t over when you reach the top.  You’ve still got to get down, you’ve still got to get home.  When you’re on the bike, there’s no easy escape, no quick way to pull the plug.  This requires commitment and dedication, but it also builds patience and understanding.

This is the last installment in our series of trip reports from the fall’s Pilgrims of Gnar expedition.  At 35 days and over 1500 miles of riding, this experience taught us a lot about ourselves, each other, and life on the bike.  A journey this long tends to change your perspective and leave you in a daze, but even as you readjust to the world around you, the important lessons and values avoid erosion.

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Zion National Park – A Bike to Climb Photojournal

I’ve been racking my brain, typing till my fingers bleed, trying every different angle, but none of it feels right.  This fall we cycled over 1500 miles across 5 states to spend 2 weeks climbing in one of my favorite places on Earth: Zion Canyon.  A trip report won’t do, and I’m not convinced there are any words or ways to convey to you just how much this life means to me, how much it’s changed the way I climb, live, and see the world.  I’d love to tell you about each pitch, each mile, every day and every climb, but I know that’s not how it works.  I want to grab hold of your shoulders, to shake you and show you what’s real, what’s important and why this life is the best thing that’s ever happened to me, but you’ll just think I’m crazy.

Maybe it’s the easy way out, maybe I’m missing something or just loosing touch with how to tell a story.  Maybe, but something tells me this trip was too big, to deep, and too crazy to properly share, and that my attempt with words will only confuse the issue.  What happened out there?  Sometimes even I wonder, but I rest easy knowing I shared it with my two best friends on earth, knowing they had their minds blown as wide as mine.  This time, I’m gonna keep my mouth shut.  This time, I’m gonna let the pictures tell the story.

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Gunsight Peaks – Trip Report

Over the week of July 25th to the 31st, Liz and myself climbed two routes and reached as many summits in the Gunsight Range of the Glacier Peak Wilderness area.  We climbed the South Ridge route of the South Peak, as well as the West Face of the Middle Peak.  Our ascents were completely free and followed the existing routes over varied terrain, including, but not limited to: splitter granite, steep glaciers, loose choss, devils club, and hot pavement.  The trip was a great recon and an epic adventure in its own right.  The Gunsights should be high on the list of anyone looking for golden granite in an absurdly alpine setting.  In addition to our meager climbing achievements, the significance of this trip lies, for us, in the fact that we undertook the approach entirely by use of Public Transportation. 

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Lessons Learned

We each want to progress, to learn and improve.  Each generation is not only lucky enough to build upon the efforts of those before us, but we too act, practice and refine our thoughts, our crafts, and our lives to be more in line with an evolving world view.  As climbers and adventurers we strike off, in an effort to learn more about life by experiencing it in extremes.  As we scratch the surface, the experiences call us back again and again, and soon we become more proficient and comfortable with the logistics, trouble, and physical hardship that often go along with these trips.  We learn from friends and relatives, books and movies, and of course our own personal adventures.  Certain disciplines call us, whether it be bouldering or alpine climbing, creek-boating or surfing, as the specialists we are we devour this lifestyle completely, striving to understand every angle and aspect of it’s execution.  Along the way we come to understand more about ourselves and the world, and subsequently the relationship between each.

This concept of bicycle-powered adventure is not new, and there are seemingly more and more resources appearing every day on it’s subject.  While I do not claim much experience from my limited adventures, from the meager amount I’ve learned along the way, I do wish to add my voice to the chorus of encouragement.  Truth is this is all still so new to me, and although we’ve been living the bicycle-life for about two and a half years, I constantly find myself exploring new aspects that keep it fresh, challenging, and exciting.  This was the first trip I’ve ever done that involved skis, only the second that involved snow, and the first that involved multiple stages of shipping gear.  In an effort to clear away some of the confusion, and help with the logistics of your own ride, I wanted to share as much of this knowledge as I can, in hopes that you’ll be able to take it one step farther, while doing it easier.  While in no way comprehensive, chronological, or even ordered, what’s below is one part trip report, one part advice, and three parts rambling rhetoric, enjoy.

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A Grand Failure

Each day I wake up, unable to sleep, yet hesitant to leave the warmth, I lay and recall my dreams until I cannot see any more.  Shuffling down the hallway, cracks of light escape from beneath a few doors, the rest lie dark and silent.  Outside, I step along the balcony to the small room with the large mirror.  On my mat I stand, and bend, and lie in awkward positions as my muscles slowly lengthen.  Beads of sweat break out on my forehead despite my lack of movement, my breath courses slow and deep through my nose.  I am alone, my mind is never silent unless I find it that way, when again it is surprised into thought.  Each day is lived as it comes, not necessarily in the moment but without thinking much of the before or after.  My forecast is a look out the window, feeling the air on my face.  My schedule is always the same; work, ski, at once.  When I come here, or to the pages in my journal, my mind wanders, looking at pictures of my own I am taken back, memories and emotions tingle at the base of my spine.  Talking with friends, scheming, planning, I look forward and see the future, not as it is or as it will be, but how it exists now in my mind.  Ideas are coming to life once more as the sun returns and the reality of melting snow, warm stone, and open roads grows closer.  The words are on the tip of my tongue, the spark of creativity once more slowly catching hold of the connections that have been made over the last few months.

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Year of the Bike

For those of you that missed it, 2013 was Salt Lake City’s Year of the Bike.  Personally, a claim like that brings to mind the far reaching social and infrastructural changes required to undermine urban motorized transportation, make cycling the primary mode of personal transportation, and take a big step towards ending the air pollution or “inversion” that has become a near constant threat to the health of SLC’s Residents.  Laws prohibiting single occupancy vehicles, expanded bike lanes and trails, economic incentives for cycling… Basically shutting down all vehicular traffic inside city limits except for trucks, buses and trains is pretty much what I have in mind when I think of a city giving over an entire year for the advocacy and awareness of bicycling.  Claiming anything as “Year of” should mean it’s influence is far greater than any other social or political force.  Think, Year of the Axe Murdering Homeless Man, or, Year of the West Valley City Gonorrhea Infection.  Although those might be titles you’d affix after the point, they pretty well capture what has happened.  So looking back on the last year, it’s hard to notice any real changes in Salt Lake’s transportation hierarchy.  Although I’m not a resident of SLC, and my time spent there usually amounts to a few weeks in the spring and fall, from my perch atop Little Cottonwood Canyon it’s easy to look down and see the murky, poisonous soup, and know damn well that it’s not a bunch of cyclists that’ve caused it.  But while SLC didn’t under go any major cycling-themed transformations, they’ve still managed to put together a few initiatives worth mentioning.  Also, in honor and celebration of the year gone by, I’ve dumped a bunch of pictures and captions in the following post that wrap up our bike-powered adventures in and around SLC this fall.  

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Pfeiffer-Porn

 
Although this is a re-run of a post I did for The Skierboyz, I thought I’d share it with you here as well.  Gives you a look into some of our off-duty wintertime activities.  Journalistic integrity aside, I’m not above re-publishing some low-key writing and pictures of a good time.  Enjoy!

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