The row of mountain bikes catch my eye as I was exiting the bus upon my arrival to the Backcountry Lodge. Although I had just decided to rest and heal during my time here, I thought that a little bike ride along the lone Denali park road wouldn’t hurt.
A little drizzle was falling as I strap on my helmet and test out the gears on the bike. Waterproof cover was on my backpack and bear spray was securely hooked to my side as I start pedaling up the steep incline that takes me out of our valley and onto the 92 mile stretch of National Park awesomeness.
Some thought I was nuts biking solo due to all the bears in the area, but I shrug aside those notions and the naysayer voices. I am here to feel alive, not just to live. If a bear mauls me and I survive, I have quite the story to tell. If I die, well that is a story in and of itself.
The low clouds decrease visibility significantly, hiding the mountains and the wildlife within.
My goal was to try and bike to Wonder Lake, about five miles from camp. On clear days one can see the reflection of Denali on this body of water, making for some fantastic photography. I hope to get a break in the weather for this opportunity myself, but my chances are slim.
I whisk by changing leaves and Fall foliage as I go. Moose creek is the only sound I hear, other than my own heavy breathing.
Eventually I reach Wonder Lake. A couple of wood ducks are on the water, but no one else. The low clouds shroud the place in mystery. I am thinking about leaving the bike and hiking the trail, but then I notice a sign which changes my mind.
A feeling comes over me that lets me know today is not the day to hike solo here. I’ve learned over the years to listen when this happens. I decide instead to keep on biking just to see how far I can go before my legs give out.
Turns out I had about ten more miles in me. No bears or any animals for that matter were seen on this day, only the quiet open expanse of Nature.
The drizzle turns into a downpour on my return ride back to camp. I let the bike fly down the road on the descent, water spraying everywhere, soaking me to the core.