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Day 7: Wilderness Or Not? That is the Question...

Posted by Jamey Mossengren on October 18, 2015 at 6:00 PM

The morning came and it wasn't nearly as cold as others. I got up and had a lot of repacking to do so that took awhile. I had asked Amy to stop at REI and buy a footprint for my tent in case it rains. I also asked her to pick up a foam accordion sleeping pad as I was so sick of blowing mine up and taking two or three times to roll it up to get all the air out. I'm really thankful that she was able to do this as this helped make my trip much more enjoyable.

 

Made hot chocolate and breakfast skillet in a bag. Amy then drove me back to the start of the trail. It was tempting to just start at the campsite as I wouldn't have had to ride 2.5 miles but I want to do the entire trail. No cheating.

 

Used the restroom (4 for 4 now!) said goodbye and off I went. It was already past 9:30am so an hour in a half late. No worries I thought as it should be a relatively easy day. I was wrong. This day would suck balls.




Right now I'd just like to talk about Wilderness Areas as the CT goes thru several different ones where bicycles are not allowed so bikes must do the bicycle detour for those sections. Before I left for my trip I did a lot of research regarding Wilderness Areas and if unicycles are allowed or not allowed and it's kind of in a gray area. In Colorado law a unicycle is not considered a bike (42-1-102 (10)). The Wilderness rules states something about mechanical machines not being allowed but it then lists theses machines and unicycles aren't listed. I also found this nice article online about what is considered a "Mechanical Transport" which I think has many good points. I had a hard time deciding if I should ride the wilderness areas or take the detours. The detours are on busy highways with no shoulders so it would be very dangerous. Plus under Colorado law it is illegal to ride a unicycle on any paved highways with center lines.


One of the signs I encountered. This one says nothing about unicycles or mechanical transport.



 

I also researched why bikes aren't allowed in Wilderness Areas and the main reasons are erosion due to skidding (unicycles can't skid), safety to other hikers (unicycles can't coast so can't go nearly as fast), and to keep the areas remote so people don't have fast and easy access (unicycles go about jogging speed).


This sign clearly states the bicycles aren't allowed. Thanks goodness that a unicycle isn't considered a bicycle in CO!



 

Now I'm not going to tell you what I finally decided to do and am not going to admit to doing anything illegal here so I'll leave that up to you to guess. Basically it would have been illegal for me to ride the bicycle detours due to the highways and it might be illegal to ride the wilderness areas so I was kind of screwed whatever way I decided. Guess the only way to make sure I wasn't breaking any laws was to have a "trail angel" pick up my unicycle at the start of any wilderness areas and then have it waiting for me at the end of that section when I went thru it. Maybe I did that? You use your best judgement to decide what you think I did.


Another sign that mentions nothing about mechanical transport.



More signs of "Trail Angels". Someone had put a cooler full of all sorts of different pop. I didn't take any cause I didn't need any but sure is nice whoever did this.



 

Most of the day I was walking as the trail was either too steep or too rocky, even the flats and downhills. This meant I was going at a slow pace. Plus a couple hours in it started to rain so I had to stop and put on all my rain gear.




 

I had a fall where my uni smashed pretty hard into some rocks. My seat got turned so when I went to straighten it I realized the two piece seat post was twisting inside itself. Fuck. The only way to fix this was to get a new seat post or find a shop to drill a hole and put a pin or screw in it. Of course this is one of the only parts on my uni that isn't KH (Kris Holm). He's aware of this problem and so now all his seat posts are one piece. Unfortunately he hasn't made the new pivotal post tall enough for my long legs so I had to buy a 2 piece one from a different company. Kris if you are reading this, please make longer posts!

 

I was able to twist it back so it was straight and kept on going. For the next few miles the seat didn't twist so instead of trying to hitchhike into Leadville I decided I should be able to make it to Salida in 3 more days where my resupply is waiting for me at the post office.

 

Just in case I couldn't find someone to fix it I thought I better see if I can get a new seat post mailed to Salida as a backup. So I luckily had service and sent a text to Amy asking if she could call Joe from Compulsion Cycles to see if he could get one to me on Friday. (Turns out he did order one and have it shipped but the post office messed up and didn't have it when I arrived.) If anyone is looking to buy a unicycle or parts, I strongly recommend Compulsion Cycles. He paid for and sponsered the seat post that was shipped so thank you for doing that Joe! :)

Gotta love seeing signs like this on the trail. WTF?



 

It was now 4pm and I was only 12 miles in...only halfway as I wanted to do 24 today. Had some lunch which lifted my spirits and kept on trucking.





 

Decided to stop at mile 161.6 where there was a nice dry campsite. Slammed the Fireball Amy had gave me to keep me warm, ate some good Mac & Cheese and headed for bed. By far my least favorite day. There weren't even any good views which is why there aren't many photos or any videos.



My food bag properly hung for bears.


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