Saturday was Tim’s birthday, and we usually try to put a ride together. This time, it was on Friday.
We re-visited Daniel Boone National Forest, where we spent some time back in July.
Going to a remote area, and having a flaky GPS is a bad thing, so I brought both my old GPS, and the new one, recently replaced.
We started at S-Tree campground this time. Tim and Patrick had scoped it out a while back, but I’d never been there. The ride start was at 1400 feet of elevation. It was a pleasant run on a gravel road that followed the ridge for a while.
We followed a turn-off that lead to a cleared piece of land overlooking… well, everything. I have no idea what the purpose of the clearing is. Maybe someone will build there.
After a while we took a steep downhill, still on gravel down to our only paved road of the day, KY-89. That was a couple of miles riding along the river, with some dogs chasing us along the way. Traffic was extremely light. There was a neat old wooden-decked bridge over Horse Lick Creek, a tributary of the Rockcastle River.
We eventually turned off near where Horse Lick Creek branches off from the Rockcastle River. This was a pleasant ride for a while. After enjoying a snack at a deserted intersection, we continued along. Our GPS route had us crossing the creek at a location that just wasn’t feasible – and there was a “private property” sign on the other side of the creek.
We continued on “our side” of the creek for a while. It remained mostly flat, but large mud pits became common. I was reminded of the old videogame, Pitfall!.
After a while our
road path dead-ended at a campsite along the creek. It wasn’t feasible to cross the creek there, and moving away from the water meant a steep climb through the woods.
We considered taking crossing the creek anyway. We took off our shoes and socks, intending to walk across. It was too far. The rocks were sharp. The water was icy. I bailed and put my footwear back on.
We turned around, and later
hiked crawled up the hill. Near the top was an interesting rock bridge and a cave. Neat, but I was too tired to get closer. We moved on.
After riding along the ridgetop for a while, there was a mostly-unrideable descent back to the creek. This creek crossing was shallower, and looked rideable.
It takes more than wet feet to deter me, so we continued on. In the flat spot by the creek, there was an open field with the makings for a bonfire. We had brought coffee-making materials, but time was running short. Sunset comes early this time of year, and we weren’t equipped with good lights. We skipped the coffee, but I did change into some dry socks. We also decided to cut the ride short, and head directly back to the car.
I mostly quit taking pictures at this point. We were off track according to the GPS, and there was that pesky creek and it’s cold water between us and the magic purple line. Tim and I had disagreements over the route, but it was his ride, and I followed.
In the end, even though I was technically right, his way worked fine. He has a better sense of direction than I do.
We had a couple of miles of endless mud pits to cross. I got a bit reckless due to my haste, and went over the bars. I wasn’t hurt, but rattled.
The temperature had dropped. My rear derailleur was iced up and wouldn’t shift at all. Tim’s drivetrain had similar issues.
Eventually we joined up with Raccoon Creek Rd. This began our climb back to the car. I walked most of it.
Raccoon Creek Rd and the endless mudpits before were a low point for me. I really wanted to give up cycling. I wanted to stay home where it’s warm and dry. However, I didn’t want to get rid of the Fargo as I had in some previous trips, so apparently the bike changes helped there.
Before I knew it, we were at the car. The sun was slowly setting. What was supposed to be a short ride took all day. We stopped for pizza on the drive home. It was a nice finish to the day.
Now, my bike is cleaned and lubed. The sore muscles have returned to normal. The clothing has been washed, dried, and put away. Now what? I want to do it again, of course.