Tag Archives: lightning

Being Wild

While visiting anywhere there is always somebody trying to get money. In Suesca it was in the form of a local standing at the roadside asking for money for where we were parked, when we enquired about camping he asked for 30,000COP , about 10USD. This might seem reasonable but to prolong travelling, free is always better. We drove up the far side of the valley to a small disused quarry where the local farmer said we were welcome to stay. Once there we deployed the tarp to gather rain water and save more money, look at that majestic water gathering machine. Jealous ain’t you!?. Saved 70cent in the days water bill right there.

 

This place has also given us spectacular evening lightning shows. Consistently on the other side of the valley which is reassuring as we camp on top of a vehicle with great lightning rods poking out in all directions. Its incredibly humbling each time there is a strike that looks like it will destroy any tree building or structure in the way. It puts us in our place.

 

Back down in the valley eating costs little. 3 dollars can buy two people a decent meal consisting of a couple bowls of soup, a plate full of rice, chicken, plantain, salad and fries, and a couple of fresh fruit drinks. add evening meals cooked ourselves for 3-4 dollar and daily living is cheapIMG_20171122_140246.jpg

Add to it one of my favourite outdoor stores (decathlon) is down the road in Bogata selling low cost outdoor wear and equipment for any sport and the cost of living compared to Central America seems to have halved. My reccomendation to anybody travelling who likes the outdoors is skip central and get to South America!!

Anyhow, bye for now 🙂

Yellowstone, lightning, Tetons and Bear

So I decided to take my Yellowstone Alternate just because its there. It felt pretty counter intuitive to cycle 16miles north (the wrong direction) and to voluntarily climb over the Continental Divide and extra 4 times, but, I did. The park itself is beautiful. Spoilt only by the constant stream of cars and rv’s tearing down the road from one gift shop to another like in some chaotic ritual, I had to escape the madness. They seem to stream from one gift shop to the next to get a meaningless stamp in a book and buy another ‘genuine’ gift from China. Met a few cool people on bikes around here. I had an easy day into the park and another easy day out deciding it would be better to go to the Tetons. One more lightning storm cycled through, if you check the pics carefully you can see one of the bolts.  Im currently based at Jenny lake (though writing this in Starbucks in Jackson due to the very generous allowance of seats, power and wifi).

I met Harry and Roelie (she calls her self Rachael to make it easier for everyone). A lovely couple from Holland cycling north. I started yesterday knowing I had to sort some form of ice axe and crampon for my next endevour, I will climb the South Teton and Middle Teton peaks. I woke, cycled 5miles to breakfast, then about 15miles to the campground, then 7.5miles downhill to the town of ‘Moose’. From here I checked my bank balance to discover to my horror that I had not been a victim of card fraud, but overspent somewhat, so i can say goodbye to the chance of buying a house anytime soon. After arranging for my friend to send some kit to the local UPS; I cycled 7.5miles back up the hill, where I sat and thought what can I do with this delightfully empty day. After twiddling my thumbs for a while, along came Harry and Roelie. They announced they were going to the pub and invited me back down the hill for beer. A few pints later after an enjoyable afternoon we cycled back up the hill.

This morning i could hear some thumping about in the trees, presuming it was Harry in a drunken I felt obliged to check he was ok. As i came closer to the noise maybe 100m from the tents, I started to recognise the sound of a bear foraging. I ran back to the tent, grabbed the camera, and slowly approached. The noise was down the bank to the lakeside and i could hear it slowly moving along. I decided in the most inadvisable way to head it off further along. So a went ahead and waited. I now have a kind of cool vid of the black bear approaching. It was in a dip behind a downed tree and as it rose up, spotted me about 20 meters away, and scarpered off. A great way to start a day. I wonder what it is like for bears to be in constant fear of the thousands of people hiking and cycling around these parks.

Tomorrow i can collect the ice and and crampons and get ready for my thursday ascent. Followed by sprinting the following day to Atlantic City to meet Justin for a cycle across the 120mile Great Divide Basin. Bring on the next few days!!!

 

 

Trail Life mosquitoes and Lightning

For those that question why i bother travelling, hopefully these first person views will help. I’m now a stones throw from Yellowstone where I will start making side tracks from the official Great divide MB route and CDT, and doing the things I missed on this trip last time and really making this my trip. I’ve cycled into what will be the first of many lightning storms yesterday evening, it really makes the trail come alive. I tell myself the chances of being stuck is one in a million, even though i know 999,999 of those people will be no where near a storm. There is a reason they call Montana ‘Big Sky Country’. The vistas are awesome and natures display doesn’t disappoint.

I was also harassed by many thousands of mosquitoes. I presume these ones were working as a squadron/unit. It started with the little scouts coming ahead, flying around, sizing me up, working out which items of clothing they could bite through, then came the first wave, I swung violently in every direction, I turned my gas stove up full and ran, hoping this distraction of burning vapours would camouflage me, but in vein, their numbers were too great. And my noodles were ready, i had to return.  I then proceeded to do what I would call Ross Geller dance karate (friends if your too your to understand the reference, I really hope not though) while walking and eating, to any onlookers, I must have looked like a mad man. I then dived into my inner tent i set up under the table shelter, they had me pinned. I don’t know how many hours I was stuck there, hundreds of them walking around the outside looking for a way in, with me cocooned in my nylon mesh prison. I knew of a hole near the end that made me vunerable, i held a top in place with my foot, an eternity passed……….. It turned dark, the wind picked up, Zephyrus was on my side, they were blown away. In the dark and aftermath, I regrouped; gathered my thing together, and finally rested.

The next morning I broke camp fast and without food. My quads are burning from cycling and im itching all over from the previous nights attack. I got lucky this time, next time, they might get all my blood. On route to Lima i had a third flat tyre, Im certain the blood suckers were following me, I have never changed a tyre as fast. I’m considering beefing up my cycle reserve supplies and upping my tyres to something with a bit more traction.

Viva la Vida. Lots of love,

Benjamin

 

 

 

wise river -polaris- clark canyon res distance approx 78mile

reservoir to lima distance approx 30mile