Managed to get out to the woods and meet Greg for a Fall S24O. I took off west from home solo on Saturday afternoon and met Jim at City Market and he rolled with me for part of the trip. Rolled out past Catamount and bombed down Gov. Chittenden Rd. where I lost my wingman to a pinch flat. Crossed the river in Richmond and rolled what used to be mainly dirt to Waterbury – the only stretch left unpaved after a round of stimulus cash is in Duxbury. The smooth ride was nice – but I will miss the dirt as following the river is a favorite ‘flat’ ride that is easily accessible from town – low traffic, scenic, and as a series of dirt roads – relatively traffic and roadie free. I was wearing thick gloves on the way out – and I needed to make time – so even though the sky and the fall colors were splendid – I took no photos. (Jim, ahem – where are your snaps?)
A quick warm up at Waterbury Station and a snack was had as I waited for Greg to roll in from the east. We climbed up to the closed Little River State Park, scoped out a lean to with its back to the wind and set up camp. Fire wood scrounging and catching up ensued as we warmed and I made some (horrible) freeze dried dinner. Temps dropped to the high 20s overnight – but we were out of the wind and comfortable for the most part. I had a hard time getting to sleep as I’m usually in my hammock – but with the cold and new gear I felt it smart to sleep in the shelter. I’m fairly certain the lean to floor was pitched toward my head. I was constantly trying to hike my pillow further under my neck to keep my head up, struggling to get comfortable. I eventually resigned to sleeping on my side, which is possible with the semi mummy cut of the new bag and integrated pad. The new gear worked well – for a 30 degree bag I slept in wool xc ski pants, a thick wool top, heavy socks, and a beanie, and probably could have survived in less. I put on the sweat free and dry extra layers more for the ability to sit in front of the fire and make a nature call if needed…
On the way into the park we encountered a grumpy porcupine, posturing as we rolled by – and throughout the night heard coyotes and several owls. At one point it sounded as if one of the owls was directly overheard – calling loud enough to wake me at 2am. We woke early to frosty temperatures and footwear, quickly gathered up more firewood, and warmed drinking some trail magic coffee that Jim bestowed upon me. (Yes, it was from a major chain, but for ‘instant’ – it was damned fine… and the ease of making it, while waiting for a warm fire, after crawling out of a nice warm bag… was priceless. Thanks Jim!) Our morning derailed from there as we tried to find real breakfast food in Waterbury. It didn’t happen – and as I was in calorie deficit from the miserable dinner the night before I took Greg’s offer of a ride back into town via his truck. We attempted 2 different diners – only to be disappointed by long lines (seriously, BTV needs more good breakfast eateries in town…).
All in I logged 52 miles. Felt strong this morning and had we known our breakfast plans would be dashed by the unwashed masses… I would have ridden back to town and lived off the Clif bars in my bag.