Date: September 3
September mileage: 5
This morning, Geoff and I did a nice hike-a-bike on a boggy trail near Eaglecrest Ski Resort. It was the beginning of what will probably be the slow elimination of many nearby trails - beautiful, unrideable trails. And still, I have this determination to hoist my mud-soaked mountain bike through ever mile of soggy peat until I know for sure. Today's ride, the Treadwell Ditch Trail, had several hundred yards of tentative but exhilarating balance-riding on narrow wooden planks, interspersed by much longer stretches of slimy roots, slick stairways and sludge.
For a failure of a mountain bike ride, though, it was oddly satisfying. This is the first time I've ventured into the thick of the rainforest, dripping brilliant shades of green from every dead tree trunk, sinewy vine and bolder. When I look at this kind of landscape, I can imagine what people must see the first time they step into the redrock desert that I grew up in - it's like stumbling upon an alien world. People in southern Utah call it "Mars." With its giant mosquitoes and burgeoning bear berries, Tongass National Forest looks to me like a prehistoric remnant of Earth. I can almost imagine mammoths milling about, though it dosen't take a very wide stretch of the imagination to see the backside of a big black bear. For a split second today, I could have sworn I saw a furry butt ... but I can't be sure. By the time I cranked my head for a second look, all I could see was a mass of bushes. Probably spending too much time daydreaming.