The Unicycling Unicorn
|Posted by Jamey on October 18, 2015 at 4:00 PM|
Like usual it was super cold and hard to get out of bed. But I knew Mike had hot coffee waiting for me so packed all my stuff and went to his van. Not only did he have coffee but he made pancakes and had bananas, apples and nut bars. Really hit the spot as it was nice having some real food to start the day.
Thought I'd mention it here that Aspen Mike has been one of the main guys who inspire me. I've known him for about 10 years but only ridden with him a few times. Mostly I see his threads he posts on the unicycle forums about his epic adventures. He is a climbing machine and not only has he done most of the hill climbs and challenges in CO, he has done some in Hawaii including Mauna Kea. This is 0 to 13,796 ft in 43 miles and he did it on a unicycle! I'll be happy when I'm older if I can do half of what he does.
Denver, Durango, Canada or Mexico? So many choices.
Time to hit the trail so it's goodbye to Mike and up I go across Copper Mt. A mile in, the trail passed right next to the shops so I stop to use the bathroom. I decided to send a couple work emails and actually booked a gig in Tennessee and declined one in India. Who would've thunk I could do this while riding the CT and on the shitter?! lol
It was another big climb up and I decided to take my time and enjoy it...wise words from Mike before I left. It was a beautiful climb following a creek. Halfway up I stopped and ate Mike's apple he had given me. I swear it was the best apple I've ever had but it could have been I was hungry or the scenery or maybe it just was the best apple ever. So juicy and crisp. Wish I would have taken more than just one.
As I continued up I started thinking a lot about God and my cousin Danny who went blind a year ago due to a firework accident on the 4th of July. He is slowly recovering and is able to partially see again out of one eye. The thing I was thinking most about is how his entire family believe in God and pray all the time to this God for all the surgeries to fix his vision. That's fine but the thing that pisses me off is this God is the one that let him go blind in the first place and now they are thanking him that he can see like 50%. I got so upset thinking about it.
They should be really thanking the surgeons, doctors, engineers and geniuses that invented the technology. Plus all the people who have made donations to help find a cure to heal the blind.
Let me say I grew up as a Lutheran, was baptized, got confirmed and believed in God for half of my life. There is nothing wrong with that and I respect what anyone believes as long as it's not evil. I get that some people need a purpose as to why they are here and that they need hope that there is life after death. I also understand some people need a fear of a hell in order to be good people. Personally I don't need that to be a good person and do the right thing. I believe in the 10 commandments not because I'll go to hell if I don't but that it just makes sense to me. Do positive things and it will come back to you.
So the more I thought about God the more angry I got about if there is a God how could he create disease, natural disasters, war, poverty and most importantly how could he take my grandparents from me especially my Grandpa Herbert whom I look identical to and was the kindest person on the planet.
This is when my thinking changed and I started to think about all my relatives who have passed. My grandma Shirley who was the one that got me into unicycling. Without her I would not be mountain unicycling the CT right now. My grandpa Ron who I barely new and remember. My great grandparents Vanover who I'm pretty sure I got my humor from as he was always telling jokes. And to my uncle Ryan who was also a kind soul. He was the latest to die and it was due to ALS just like my grandpa Herbert.
I suddenly couldn't take it anymore and burst into tears. As I was climbing this beautiful mountain I had tears dripping down my face. My first time crying since the start of my trip. I thought this might happen but didn't know it would be about death. I sat down to think about life and to recompose myself.
As I sat, I realized for the first time that I have a fear of getting ALS or some other horrible disease that may end my life early. Or if I don't get it maybe my brother, sister, a close friend or another relative might. This tears me apart to think about and I decided that I not only need to do the CT for myself but I must try and help others as well. I am going to set up a donation page for the ALS foundation so that they can come up with a cure. Please donate if you can.
Sorry for the tangent but that's exactly what happened as I climbed up this beautiful mountain. I came to a really cool hut (more of a cabin) anyone can rent out for a night. Definitely want to come back and do that someday with a bunch of friends.
I also ran out of water so was happy to see a stream with ice cold snow melted water. I was now almost at the top of the pass and made the final push to the top. Breathtaking...the views and the altitude.
From here it was very exposed for the next 2 miles until Kokomo Pass. The views were amazing and I started feeling lucky to be alive and so happy I was here at this moment. By far one of the prettiest places I've ever been. Can't believe it took me 36 years to get here. Anyone reading this, life is beautiful. Go explore and travel the world before your too old or too sick. I'll give you directions to this exact spot. All you need to do is get here and it's free to hike, bike or uni up. Seriously guys, that trip you've always wanted to do, put it in your calendar and make it happen. Life's too short to wait until next year.
Met a nice guy named Kerry who was hiking the entire trail going the same direction as me. He offered to take video of me riding so I took him up on it.
Some bikers passed us and I thought it was cool when one of them said "The mythical unicycler. We found you". Put a smile on my face and I think that will be my trail name from now on.
The best thing about being at the top of a pass is it almost guarantees long downhill fun. And that it was. Several miles of it until I made it to a waterfall. Free ice cold shower. Couldn't pass that up.
The last few miles of the day are always the longest especially when it's mostly uphill. Note to self that when I plan days make sure they end on a downhill and start on an uphill. It sucks to end on a uphill and is much better to start the day going up as it is a great way to warm up in the morning.
Eventually made it to the end and my friend, Amy, was there waiting with a cold beer! Awesome. She had set up camp a few miles away but instead of hiking we could drive so that was good. She had her tent already set up so I finished organizing my stuff while she made a fire.
It was a nice campsite at mile 145.2 but there was an old tanker truck nearby that didn't look like it ran. Sooner or later another truck pulls up next to it and they start making all this noise. Had to laugh out loud as here we are in the middle of nowhere and for half an hour these trucks just sat there pumping something while destroying the peace and quite. Ha.
Amy was an expert at starting the fire and so we made some hot dogs. They hit the spot. I had fresh veggies, chips and a few more beers. Everything was perfect and I was so glad to have company. Thanks Amy for driving out, meeting me and giving me all the goodies including my resupplies for the next 4 days.
One of my favorite things she brought was my fleece pajama pants and cotton shirt. Every night when I slept I would be all salty and sticky from sweating all day. The inside of my sleeping bag is like plastic so I would stick to it all night and every time I moved sucked. Now I could wear these comfy clothes while I slept to help avoid this. Sure it adds a little extra weight to my pack but totally worth it.