Day 4: Am I Going to Die?
From the pictures I posted of our camp site yesterday, you could probably see that bad weather was on the horizon. It stormed throughout the night but we stayed dry and woke to a nice sunrise over the lake. Apparently it got down to the mid 40s last night, but I stayed pretty comfy and warm.
We finally left camp around 830 and headed to Trinidad to find some food. The crazy thing is, the only thing open was a dang gas station Subway! This town has about 40 real estate shops and no food. James made a good point though: there are also no cannabis stores so perhaps that explains the lack of restaurants. Ain’t nobody eating “Fourth Meal” in Trinidad.
After a breakfast sandwich, coffee, gas fill up, and usage of Wi-Fi, we were off. By the way, typically Wi-Fi is the only way we get data (or I can make calls). Signal is extremely sparse out here (and even more so for a T-Mobile user like me).
We passed through ranches and pasture on dirt roads until we found the one we were looking for… The one that led to Rainbow Trail.
Now ya see, Rainbow Trail is marked “hard” but some jackass on the Internet said it wasn’t that bad, easy going even. The first hill climb was very difficult. Large boulders approximately 8 inches in diameter lined the trail and there was no clear path. We finally made it to the top and agreed that we would meet up at the end (Mistake number one). Because, you know, we just thought this would be a rough start and things would get easier… They didn’t.
I couldn’t tell you how many times I wrecked, got pinned under the bike, between the bike and a tree, and felt generally hopeless.
I ran through the litre of water rather quickly, as it’s very physically demanding riding on a trail like this (single track, rocks, ruts, etc.) and began to notice the onset of dehydration. I stopped sweating, my mouth was extremely dry, my muscles were cramping, and I had a hard time concentrating. I was in the middle of this trail, hours away from people and convenience stores, and I had seen nobody else. So, my thought was this : either drink the water coming off this waterfall at this creek crossing, or risk just passing out. I went with the former, knowing full well the risks. I was so exhausted at one point, I just rested against a tree. Do I look tired? Angry?
Nothing got better. Many times I would wreck and wait for James, but no one came. I did pass 3 guys on WR250s, but that was hours ago. After some single track on the side of the mountain (literally… If you fall, it’s a long tumble down) I came to a mountaintop. I left James a message in sticks. I couldn’t wait, there was a storm in the distance.
I continued to drink stream water as to not pass out. Everything was cramping. Quads, hamstrings, even triceps! I was well past forearm pump. It even got so bad that my clutch finger locked closed, I had to manually pry it open.
I came to an obstacle that was really testing, and at one point I thought it would best me. It took an hour to clear it, and I was exhausted. There was a nice view at the top, but not worth all this.
When I got to the end, I waited, but I made the decision to call for help. Since I had stopped so many times to rest, and never heard or saw James, I feared he may be hurt.
Remember when I said I had no service? Yeah. The only call I could make was 911. After taking down some details, the operator told me to call him back in 10 minutes. I used this time to set up shelter, as the thunder and lightning were close and I wasn’t leaving without James.
Tent set up, I call 911 again and the operator tells me he talked to James and he is on his way to Salida. Awesome! So I hurriedly get my tent back together and try to get the dispatch to give me the quickest way out (I supplied them with my GPS coordinates).
I headed North to try to catch highway 50, but I had been running on reserve for a while now (those wrecks tend to spill gas everywhere). As I’m riding, I’m trying to give it as little throttle as possible to conserve fuel, and mostly coast downhill holding the clutch. It starts to rain, but I’m on a mission.
I stopped for gas at Big O and fill up. The folks were friendly there. They offered me shelter in their garage. I told them thanks, but I’ve gotta get to Salida. I did, however, stop at McDonald’s to use the wifi so I could call James, and get a bite to eat (I hadn’t eaten since this morning and it was now about 6).
After talking to James, I headed to the hotel he booked (we earned it after that) as it was pouring. After unpacking, showering, and researching parasites in streams, we headed to Walmart for me to get some antiparasitic medicine. Surprise… You need a prescription. I guess I’ll call the doc tomorrow.
I’ve been trying to hydrate as much as possible, drinking out of a gallon jug.
Parting thoughts: today was more “adventure” than I signed up for. I was scared many times on the trail that I would be stuck and just have to wait until someone found me. Dehydration is no joke. I knew the risk I was taking drinking that water, but the risk not to was much greater. We were stupid. We agreed to split up even though we promised not to just a day ago. This is the worst time I’ve ever had riding. We put ourselves in a very dangerous position, and are paying for it.
We are now behind schedule, the bikes are missing parts, I lost some things on the trail. All because we were too stupid to heed our own warning. Lesson learned… It could have been much much worse than it ended up.