Fitz-Barn Day 2

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Off Bannock Pass - Photo by Tracey P

Photo courtesy of Tracey Petervary

I could not sleep. My headache was better and overall I felt like I was finally over the funk. It was pretty early when I got up and quietly left my two camp mates near the top of Bannock Pass. My headlamp lighted the way and I thought I would head right down into the Lima Valley. But I soon discovered that I had some more climbing to do and took off some of my slumber clothes along the way.

The horizon was starting to become lighter when I eventually descended. It was pretty cold but that didn’t affect me. My plan for sleeping was to use a bivy and wear puffy clothes of mostly down. Then in the morning when things were nippy I could peel off the layers as necessary and stuff them in the rear seat bag. This system seemed to be working marvelously. Until I ran into a deep creek crossing.

Sun starts shining in the Lima Valley - photo by Aaron Baldwin

Photo courtesy of Aaron Baldwin

Once on the other side of the creek I quickly realized it was a mistake to get my feet wet. My toes started burning soon after as they froze. It wasn’t until I finally reached some sun patches on a hill side that I was able to thaw out. but this pain kept me company and kept my mind off of my condition.

My condition was good but I was hungary. So I stopped a couple times to snack on the only thing I had, coconut manna. I quickly grew sick of it and started to worry about how the hell I could make it to Jackson without eating. I stopped and accessed every hour … that and enjoyed some rest breaks in the sun. I almost started to have fun.

Photo by Aaron baldwin

Photo courtesy of Aaron Baldwin

The morning ride was mostly downhill and it felt good to scream along at high speeds. To me this was free ground. I was getting closer to my destination with minimal effort. And much needed calories. When I went through Grants my heart sank. There was no place to grab food. Nothing was open and the only bar looking building was closed. About 3 miles out of Grants a man flagged me down in the road.

“Are you with that woman with the green outfit”

“Yes I am”

“Do you want to stop for water and a cookie”

This sounded so good and I looked back on the road. And this is where my decision making skills need work. Just like the decision to not get food in Dubois this one had a reason. My reason … I didn’t want to back track. IT would of been 6 miles out of my way. Forgetting, of course, that the route was a full 400 miles and who knows how many miles to Jackson. My mind imagined a small climb and all downhill route to Jackson hot Springs where the largest burger in the world (all a part o my delusion) awaited me.

“Naw … I am ok”

“Which way are you going?”

“That way … I plan on eating all the ice cream Jackson has to offer”

“Over Bloody Dick Pass”

“Yes, it is the way we are supposed to go”

“But the is the L O N G way”

“I know”, as I dropped my head, then raised it towards where I needed to go.

“Ok, well the general store in Jackson has hand packed ice cream so good luck”


And I was off. And I felt pretty good … for about an hour.

It became apparent that I had farther to Jackson then I ever imagined. Even with all the data printed out in my bag and a GPS that said how far to Jackson. The going got slow. Suddenly a familiar feeling came over me. Dizziness. I stopped to filter water and berated myself about skipping the water and cookie offer. I rested for about 30 minutes and tried some more coconut mana. The damn stuff wasn’t going down so well. It was gross and my taste-buds rejected it. I just couldn’t eat the damn stuff.

I rode for another hour and realized I had left my water stop without water. I jumped off my bike near a stream and started filtering. That is when Tracey P came by and decided it was a good idea to take a dip. It looked good but I was concerned about making my chamois wet. I watched her ride off while I slowly filtered water. My boda filter took 10 to 20 minutes to filter enough water to continue. but I figured it was a good rest and it would be good to use my hands in a different way then to hold onto a bike handlebar for hours on end.

Once back on the bike I climbed the Bloody Dick Pass, not kidding you, it is really called that. I caught up to Tracey but never pulled up next to her. i just needed company. I was really hungary and even though I wasn’t sick any more the lack of nutrition really made me feel weak. I imagined the downhill to Jackson long and fun. We could ride in and have a burger together I fantasized. Then I would feel great. Just before we topped out on the pass, or at least what i thought was the top, I pulled over to urinate.

It was maroon color. Not the dark brown that I am used to but … red. Blood! I was urinating blood. I freaked out and sat down. Tracey was out of yelling reach and my phone was not working. My plan was to wait for Aaron and have him call for help down in the valley. And I waited. And waited. I grew so freaking scared that I decided that I had to continue. I just couldn’t think about it any more. Blood for god sake.

I found out that it was not all downhill and coasting was not a option. It was rolling and the road grew ever so increasingly rough until I started walking my bike and shouting obscenities at everything that moved. I didn’t want to put any effort into travel but I had to. I felt stranded and who knows when the next rider would come along. That stretch between when I saw Tracey last and Jackson was the longest I have ever pedaled.

Photo by Tracey P

Photo courtesy of Tracey Petervary

The first thing I downed was ice cream. I sat outside the general store thinking all elements of the world that I was still alive. But for how long. I was peeing blood and the last mile I had to promise a troll that if he gav me a ride into town I would give him my second born child. Of course I was lying but I think he knew that and loaded me onto his little wooden cart anyway. As soon as Jackson came into view it all vanished into thin air and I was left alone to walk my bike into town.

I called Mo to request extraction.

“How are you, are you OK?”

“No … it’s horrible … and I have a secret problem”

“What do you want to do?”

I glanced across the street and spotted Tracey’s bike leaning against the hot springs lodge. y spirits lifted and I forgot about my problems. Maybe it was the ice cream talking.

“Um, I am going to eat in the lodge and call you back to let you know”


I found Tracey in the back of the bar defending her position over a grilled cheese and fries. It was obvious she was about to leave as she was wrapping what it seemed to be some more grilled cheeses. And I learned that wrapping fries was a trick. And i followed suite by ordering, no kidding, One half pund buffalo bacon cheese burger, a order of sweet potato fries, a order of seasoned fries, and two BLT’s, I ate the burger and wrapped everything else. I think this “get food to go” lesson I learned from watching Tracey and Jay is in-valuable in these types of adventures. I left feeling a lot better and called Mo.

“I am going to go up the road and bivy out. i feel better. Let’s see how I feel in the morning”

Sunset just out of Jackson

Photo courtesy of Aaron Baldwin

And I was off.

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