Day 37: Sargents – Storm King Campground

Miles: 78

Climbing: 4902

Got up after a rainy evening and night and chatted a bit with Ana, a solo female cyclist (awesome!!!) passing through on a West-East road route. Awesome to meet a fellow lady solo-er. She said I was the first female bike tourer she had seen AT ALL, and she’d come from San Francisco!

The store was open this morning. (See? Worrying for nothin’. Story of my life.) I got a few things to ease my troubled mind.

It was damp and cloudy, so I packed up a wet tent (again). My tent is starting to get moldy spots from being packed up wet every day. Paradoxically, I often don’t wait for it to dry because I want to get on the road before the sun/heat gets too bad. Rain and storms seem to come most often in the afternoons and evenings.

This morning was actually cold because of lots of cloud cover, but the minute the sun came out it changed quickly to humid and yuckily hot. The first 35 miles of today felt sluggish, hot, damp. The landscape was super nice, with pretty green hills opening into open mountainscapes and interesting rocks.

I met Gaelan at a reservoir for water restock, and though I was feeling junky, he had decided to go ahead to Storm King Campground–another 35 miles and two big climbs ahead…..he was on the next-to-last day of his trip and ready to get done. My legs felt like lead and I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to climb another TWO passes instead of just one.

Reservoir/Lunch Spot

Feelings about the morning.

I had lunch plus my usual midday cure of coffee and 4 ibuprofen, and it worked like a charm.

The climb up the first pass was really really beautiful, with fields covered with yellow wildflowers, bright blue skies, and cool rock formations at the top.

Literal first shade of the day.

Cool rocks!

After a quick descent, I started climbing the second pass, determined to make it to Storm King campground. Like….60% because the name sounded like an epic Tolkien spot. I was slowwwly making it up the pass, counting down miles after I finished my book on tape. Because of the campground name, I had Hall of the Mountain King stuck in my head for the entire climb. Could be worse.

The landscape was pretty but I didn’t take many pics—meadows and forests and more classic pass geography.

More Aspens.
Feelin’ GREAT

Storm King Campground was two (pretty) miles past the top of the second climb, and absolutely beautiful. Probably my favorite campground of the trip–aspen-filled, forested, and remote. I didn’t arrive till 7:30 so I had to rush through chores: washing shorts, making dinner, drying and setting up tent, filtering water, hanging bear bag.

This is what it looks like when two cyclists’ stuff explodes.

I ended up eating and filtering water and hanging my bear bag in the dark. Not so fun. This was also one of the highest elevations I had slept at (9500ish ft), so it got pretty cold at night. Once again I was thankful I went ahead and brought the super-warm down 15-degree bag–I had considered bringing a lighter one.

Tomorrow is my last day with my riding buddy, Gaelan. 😢 For all my “i’M aN iNdEPeNdEnT WoMan sOLo cYclIst” attitude, it’s been awesome to have someone to ride with (or, at least meet up with in the evenings, cuz I’m slow and actually hate actively riding with people) for the last little bit.

Filtering water in my tent in the dark.

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