The Unicycling Unicorn
AMAZE YOUR SPECTATORS WITH A UNICORN UNICYCLE THEMED, COMEDY AND CIRCUS SHOW!
PLEASE NOTE: The Unicycling Unicorn will be uploading more blogs from the Superior Hiking Trail, Arizona Trail, Oregon Timber Trail, Appalachian Trail & Pacific Crest Trail. In the meantime feel free to follow his PCT vlogs here: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXj2veEh2uVaZDQMNNlPUkPEZpfSgJP8n.
Day 10: Booze Drop Gone Wrong
|Posted by Jamey on January 8, 2023 at 10:30 PM||comments ()|
Sunday, Sept. 18th, 2016
When we woke up, all of us started packing our packs and we left just a little bit before Jeremy & Vanessa. And that would be the last we would see of them unfortunately.
After crossing a beaver pond and a bunch of mushrooms we came to Britton Peak where we had another booze drop…gone wrong. Well it wasn’t that bad but the bottles were laid on their side and apparently weren’t sealed tight enough so half of our booze had leaked out. Oh well. Shit happens and at least all of it didn’t leak out.
Next came Carlton Peak. We usually don’t do spur trails but decided to do this one to see the view. Glad we did cause it was pretty cool. Took a nice little break while we enjoyed the view and then continued on to Temperance River which was pretty cool with lots of waterfalls.
We ended up passing a bunch of school kids right before we came to our campsite at Cross River. This was a good thing cause the1st campsite was taken by a big group and we took the next one which was really cool as it was literally right next to the raging river. They had to hike another mile to the next one. Oh and 3 of them were carrying logs just for shits and giggles. Silly people.
After a game of Bocce, we had to have a fire as this was probably the coolest campsite yet especially the fire pit, which was only a few feet from the river. It sprinkled a bit on and off until eventually we decided to call it a night.
Day 9: BOCCE!!!
|Posted by Jamey on January 8, 2023 at 10:10 PM||comments ()|
So….we ended up sleeping in until 11am!!! This wasn’t only due to the fact I was hungover (and Ragged puked during the night…not to a hangover he claims but rather a bad cooked burger at the bar…hmmmm) but also due to the fact it was raining all morning long.
Didn’t leave the campsite until after noon…our latest start yet. But that was fine as we didn’t have that far to go until we made it to Oberg Mt. where our next food and booze drop was. Sure as shit, there it was hanging in the woods when we arrived. Hip hip hooray!
The Onion River Campsite was only a mile away and when we arrived, Jeremy & Vanessa were there. They had passed us while we were sleeping at camp.
After hanging up stuff to dry and setting up camp, we played 2 rounds of Bocce Ball. Jeremy really got into it and yelled out “BOCCE” during one of his throws which was perfect and made Ragged and I laugh (and we said this hiking each day at least once for the rest of the trip).
The wood was pretty wet so it took a while to get a fire going but sooner or later we had a nice little campfire going. Vanessa was pretty happy as they hadn’t had any fires on their hike yet so she was thrilled. Sat around telling stories and it was fun hanging out with our new trail friends.
Day 8: FREE Beers @ Lutsen
|Posted by Jamey on January 5, 2023 at 4:50 PM||comments ()|
Friday, Sept. 16th, 2016
Did the usual of waking up, packing and having some breakie. Had some nice views of Lake Superior along the way. Made it to Lake Agnes where we decided to stop and have a quick dip. There was a lady camping here with a dog and she nor the dog would leave us alone. I kinda wanted to skinny dip as I didn’t want my boxers to be wet for days and almost just stripped down in front of her and jumped in (which looking back I probably should have) but decided to just go in my boxers.
As soon as we got out it started to sprinkle so we got dressed and headed back on the trail. We were happy that it didn’t continue to rain and were stoked that Lutsen Mountain, a ski resort, was only a few miles away. Climbed to an amazing view of the lake and kept on going until we made it to Lutsen.
We decided it would be best to hike 1 mile further to set up tents before going to Papa Charlies for food and beer. It looked like it could rain any minute and we didn’t want to have to set up in the rain after the bar so it was a wise decision or so we thought…turns out it didn’t rain until early the next morning and the extra mile was all uphill which we now had to do twice.
After setting up camp we backtracked to Lutsen and found the bar and grill. When we arrived, the bartender said a couple were looking for us as they wanted to buy us a round! Turns out it was Jeremy and Vanessa who came back a bit later. So nice of them! They joined us for beers and burgers and we had great conversation for a few hours. They even offered to let us use their shower as they had rented a room for the night.
As a matter of fact, we actually ran into them as we were hiking into Lutsen as they were doing a day hike the opposite way which is why they knew we would be at the bar. We declined the shower as we had no clean clothes to change into. One of the best parts about the bar besides the fresh food and beer was that I was able to charge my phone for a couple hours and get it back to 50%!!! Yee haw.
We were at the bar from 6pm until about 11pm and then stumbled back to camp at the Mystery Mountain Campsite. Yes, it was 1 mile uphill but we didn’t seem to mind as we had full bellies and a wee bit of a buzz. After we made it to camp, soon afterwards it started to rain and continued most of the night.
Day 7: iPhone Down
|Posted by Jamey on June 1, 2020 at 4:50 PM||comments ()|
Thursday, Sept. 15th, 2016
So, I haven’t mentioned it yet but my iPhone battery was running very very low and my solar panel charger wasn’t working or just wasn’t getting enough sunlight as the trail had lots of shade. Plus, we were walking N to S so our backs weren’t into the sun. Unfortunately, this meant I woke up to a dead phone. ☹ Not cool especially since it was my only way of taking photos, plus it was what I used to write my blog.
I didn’t have paper to manually write it so now I am trying to think back and remember the couple days I skipped…I’m in CA and it’s nearly been a month…this is tough! I’m using maps, the SHT book and asking Ragged to try and remember what happened.
I believe we thought it was going to rain all day so when we woke up and it wasn’t raining we were in good spirits. It was a bit foggy and almost surreal as we walked thru forests and a long beaver pond walkway.
We made it to Cascade River and had a decision to make. Go the normal way and take the east side and risk having to get our feet wet due to a bridge that was out or take the detour west side. We decided to do the latter and it might have been the wrong choice cause man did the west side suck! There were a ton of creeks which meant we had to keep going up and down many many times so it wasn’t easy and there was a lot of elevation loss/gain, something we were not expecting as the west side elevation map looked pretty chill. Oops.
At the end of the Cascade River were a bunch of stairs (96 to be exact but who’s counting?!) we had to climb. Made it to the top and took a nice long beak. Only a couple more miles until we would make it to the next camp, Indian Camp Creek. We had made a $5 bet if we would camp with anyone. When we got to camp no one was there and it was looking like I would win the bet! Then a couple showed up so it looked like I was gonna lose. But lucky for me they just took a break (think they were scared of Ragged lol) and continued on to the next campsite. Yeah!
We didn’t have any booze left so it was one of our sober nights but we still had a nice fire and chilled for a bit.
Day 6: Big Mushroom & Big Fires
|Posted by Jamey on June 1, 2020 at 4:45 PM||comments ()|
Wednesday, Sept. 14th, 2016
When we woke, we learned that we had camped with six ladies. Made small talk over breakie and enjoyed the views of the river.
Back on the trail we followed the river for a bit and then continued on to Pincushion Mtn. Met lots of older folks hiking along the way and saw a huge, almost perfect mushroom.
Since we had full heavy packs on and we had a huge day the day before we decided not to push it and stopped around 10 miles at North Bally Creek Pond Campsite.
The trail workers must have recently cleared some of the trail in this section so we had unlimited firewood and took advantage of it by having our biggest fire yet along with some fireball of course!
Day 5: The Big Ol' Lake & First Food Drop
|Posted by Jamey on May 31, 2020 at 8:45 PM||comments ()|
Tuesday, Sept. 13th, 2016
Today would be the first and only day we would actually walk along Lake Superior. When we made it there, all three of us decided to get refreshed by having a quick dip in the lake. It was freezing but felt so good to have a quick bath.
The trail followed the beach for a mile in a half and we thought it would be easy and flat. It was flat but not easy as the beach was filled with small pebbles and your feet would just sink in so it took a lot of effort to take one step.
Our packs were pretty empty by now as we were nearing our first food drop. We had the option of setting up camp one mile before it and then hiking to the food drop and backtracking to camp or we could continue on, pick it up and go 2.3 miles more to the next camp. We decided to do the latter which would make it our longest day yet at about 16 miles!
We were both excited and nervous to see if our first food drop would still be there. Did an animal, human or storm get to it first?!
Nope. It was still there hanging from the dead tree we hung it from. Hip hip hooray! But we were very lucky as when we got the food down we noticed that all the trees in that area were marked to be cut down. This means that the workers would have definitely saw our bag hanging as well as our booze laying on the ground. Thank god they didn't take it. We joked how funny it would have been if when we arrived they had already cut down all the trees or drank all our beer and just left the empties.
One of the main reasons we decided to push on is cause we knew there was fireball at our food drop and so to lighten the load, for the next two miles to camp we drank some of it along the way.
Rolled into West Devil Track Campsite around 8pm and it was a really cool one right next to bridge crossing a raging river. There were several tents set up with people in them and one of the ladies came out to say hi. We chatted for a bit and then she went to bed.
We decided to make a small fire and collected some wood. When it was time for bed we hung our food from the bridge over the river which worked great.
Day 4: Mystery of the Falls
|Posted by Jamey on November 24, 2017 at 9:25 AM||comments ()|
Monday, Sept. 12th, 2016
Did our usual routine of waking up, making breakfast, packing our tent and gear and then hitting the trail. Made it to Devils Kettle Falls which was really cool. I saw a YouTube video last year (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ul1b_3eH9sA) about it as it is one of the mysteries of the world cause the river splits in two here; half the water goes into a hole and they have no idea where this water goes.
Had cell phone reception so made a few calls, checked email and the weather forecast before leaving the state park and continuing on until we made it to NW Little Brule River Campsite (I think it was called?).
Then it was time to chill, eat dinner and have another fire followed by bed. This is how much room MacGyver took up!
Day 3: Will Puppy Dog Make It?
|Posted by Jamey on November 24, 2017 at 9:10 AM||comments ()|
Slept much better the second night and felt so nice to rest our bodies. Both Ragged and I had very sore hips when we woke up and it hurt to put the packs on but we had to make it to our next camp so off we went.
We were starting to get our trail legs and even though we were sore we could tell we were getting stronger. We also had an order down that worked pretty well. Ragged led, followed by MacGyver and I would be last. This worked great cause I could keep an eye on my dog to make sure he was doing ok and that he wasn't wasting energy by running off into the woods.
Months ago I was very concerned that this might be too much and too hard for MacGyver and was debating if I should bring him or not. With proper training it would be fine for him but without it, he could struggle. I was happy when my ex said she would help train him beforehand and walk him more each day (and I’m sure he was happy too!).
So far, he was exhausted by the end of each day but was doing well. I was especially worried about his paws so kept a close eye on them. That’s a long ways to walk barefooted.
Along the day today we ran into Jeremy and Vanessa. They are married and we stopped at a creek with them and chatted for a bit. They had spare food and gave us some delicious dried mango.
Continued on and the rest of the day was pretty uneventful until we made it to Hazel Campsite. We were both so ready to call it a day so we setup camp and gathered firewood. And a fire we had. A huge one in fact!
Drank the rest of our fireball we had left and eventually made it to our tents for some zzz's.
Day 2: Three Bros
|Posted by Jamey on November 24, 2017 at 12:50 AM||comments ()|
Saturday, Sept. 10th, 2016
I didn't sleep that well as I was tossing and turning all night. Plus MacGyver took up a lot of my sleeping pad and tent…he’s a big dog! It was about 8:00am and Allie & Pop were cooking breakfast.
Chatted with them while we made breakfast and packed up our stuff. By about 9:30am we were ready to roll so we said goodbye to them and hit the trail...our first full day.
Free bone snack for MacGyver found on the trail.
We made it to the highest point on the trail which was pretty uneventful as there was no view. But further on we were awarded with some great views including our first time being able to see Lake Superior.
Considering it was our first day we were both doing pretty well and would take a break every 40-50 minutes. Decided to not overdo it the first day and decided to setup camp at Woodland Caribou Pond Campsite.
There were 3 brothers already camping here but we didn't (couldn't) go any further so found 2 ok spots for our tents. They already had a fire going so that was a bonus. Played some bocce ball, filled our water from the beaver pond...filtering it of course, made dinner, drank and sat around the fire talking with the three bros.
Yes we drank water out of this pond!
Turned out to be a pretty fun night but I eventually fell asleep on my sleeping pad around the fire (due to being exhausted and a bit drunk) so soon after I crawled into my tent.
Day 1: Double Rainbows, Allie & Pop
|Posted by Jamey on November 24, 2017 at 12:15 AM||comments ()|
Friday, Sept 9th, 2016
Wanted to wake up early to organize my stuff but since we didn't fall asleep until 2:30am I slept until 9:00am. Was so nice to have more than 5 hours of sleep. Organized a bit, left some booze at the trailhead and went to do another food drop...hopefully faster and smoother than last night.
Found the trailhead and went looking for a branch. Didn't take too long to find one and about half an hour later it was hung and we were on our way. Stopped and grabbed a cappuccino and continued to our next food drop.
Decided to do another booze drop along the way and then went to the trailhead of our third drop. Wasn't easy finding a good tree and branch but eventually found one, hung our bag, left some beer and booze, and back on the road. It was almost 2pm and we hadn't eaten anything so we decide to get a nice big ol' meal at a cafe in Grand Marias...our last one for the next couple of weeks.
We had one more drop to do and it was starting to get late in the day so we rushed to get er done. Again, it took a while to find a good branch but found a nice dead tree that was leaning so used that. Continued driving but now we were out of liquor due to all the drops and didn't think there would be any more liquor stores. Just as we were about to turn off the main road we were in luck as there was one right there. Yay!
Bought some fireball and went to do our last booze drop. When we got there 15 minutes later we realized I had forgotten it on the counter so we had to turn around and go back to get it. Oops.
Did the drop and made it to the trailhead start! The weather was looking a bit dark and rainy so we hung at my van while we started packing our packs. It rained off and on and when we were about ready we decided to hike the bonus 1-mile spur trail which went close to the Canadian border and has a 270-degree view.
Sprinkled along the way but wasn't too bad. The views were amazing and definitely worth the extra hike especially since we left our heavy packs in the van. Hung out for a bit and it started raining so we left.
10 minutes into the walk back, we look up and not only see a beautiful rainbow but two beautiful rainbows! Pretty sure that was the universe telling us we were in the right place and it would be a great adventure. Since we were in the middle of nowhere with little people around, we could have been the only two who ever saw those rainbows. Crazy.
Back at the van I read thru my checklist to make sure we both had everything and grabbed a few things I forgot. It was 7:30pm now and getting dark but we only had 2 miles to get to our first campsite so let the adventure begin...with headlamps.
We brought with some beers for the hike and stopped every 15 minutes or so to share one. Bout an hour later we arrived at Andy Creek Campsite with a bit of a buzz. Two tents were already set up there and one of them had a dog in it. The girl inside decided to come out, say hi to us and let the dogs meet so he'd settle down.
Her name was Allie and she was with her dad aka Pop. She was very friendly and she even went to show us where they hung her food bag for bears. Talked with her for a bit and then she went back to bed.
We went to hang our food and when we saw her food bag again we both burst out laughing and couldn't stop. It was so funny cause her bag was just hanging on a small branch about 5 feet off the ground. Very easy for any bear or animal to get. Fucking hilarious! Although as a side note, we would actually get lazy and start doing this too. But for now, we wanted to hang ours properly.
Lost our rope in the tree trying to hang ours but used another rope to get er done. Then we went down to the bridge over the creek to drink and chill some more as we didn't want to start a fire and wake up Allie and Pop. Eventually made it to our tents and day one was over.
The end for people heading South to North, the start for people heading North to South.
Day 0: Cops & Fucking Food Drops
|Posted by Jamey on October 27, 2017 at 12:20 AM||comments ()|
Thursday, Sept. 8th, 2016
Slept for 3 hours and tried to get up and start driving again but it wasn't happening so I stopped and slept for another 2 hours. This means I would be late but I was already behind schedule so what's another few hours.
Tried making some of that time by speeding some more. My Waze works pretty good by other users reporting when they see cops so you know when they are coming. Well not this time as I cruised into MN as there was an officer hiding over a hill and got me doing 75mph in an 65mph zone. Oops.
When the cop came up, he asked if I knew the speed limit and I said maybe 70 as I was coming from LA and wasn't sure. He said only 65 and went back to his car. When he came back he said he just gave me a warning and told me slow down. I thought for sure he was gonna give me a ticket so I was a very happy boy.
You can see the cop car in my mirror.
Made it to Minneapolis and sure enough hit some traffic yet again. This road trip has just been one delay after another. Had to stop by REI to buy a few last minute things like hiking poles and when I went to check out, one of the guys said "Aren't you supposed to be hiking with Andy on the SHT right now?" Looked up and saw it was one of Andy's friends. Ha.
Hit some more traffic but eventually made it to my sister’s house. Only took 46 hours of driving and I still had 6 to go. Wowzers.
Had to pick up a few things I bought online and had delivered here including my rain cover for my backpack. It was nice seeing my sister, her husband and my nephew. MacGyver was so happy to be out of the van. He was running and rolling in the grass everywhere. He also went swimming in their lake.
I took a quick shower and unloaded a few things from my van as I didn't want to leave any expensive things in my van while it was parked for a few weeks at the trailhead. Said bye and I was off to meet Andy at the trailhead in Duluth.
He was there waiting for me when I arrived. It was already 7pm and we were waaaaaay behind schedule so he put his stuff in my van and we set off. Tried swinging by a liquor store but they were closed. Stopped by a grocery store for some last minute items and ate at Culvers.
Next came the challenging food drop. We had decided not to mail out food resupplies to post offices along the way. Instead we would go to trailheads and hang our food every 5 days or so.
Found our first spot and it was dark. Walked up the trail and down the trail but couldn't find a branch to hang it. We started walking the road and still nothing. Eventually after like 45 minutes we found something that might work.
It took a while to throw the rope up and over the branch but Andy finally got it. Tied our bags to the twine and started pulling it up. Snap! The twine broke. Fuck!
We were both starting to get annoyed and frustrated by this point as we had been trying for an hour in a half with no luck. We decided to try and use different rope and a different technique. Ended up getting it up by using 3 trees. Have no idea if it will still be there in 3 weeks...
So…2 hours later we were back on the road heading to another trailhead where we will do an alcohol drop and spend the night. We had planned to hike one mile in to a campground but it was 1am and so decided to camp in the parking lot. We hung out for an hour drinking beers and catching up.
Day -1: Flat Tires Suck
|Posted by Jamey on October 26, 2017 at 11:35 AM||comments ()|
Wednesday, Sept. 7th, 2016
My alarm went off 5 hours later at 5:30am as I wanted to get thru Denver before rush hour. After driving 30 feet I felt a thump thump thump and so I got out and saw I had a flat tire. Fuck.
I had two choices; call AAA and have them come out to fix it or put the spare on and drive to nearest tire shop. I chose the latter and regretted it a bit as I had to take a bunch of things out to access the jack plus it took me awhile to figure out how to get the spare tire off the bottom of my van as I’ve never had to use it before. I thought it was rusted on the bracket but turns out there was this secret hole that you had to put the tool in to unscrew it.
Once the spare was on I lowered the van and noticed the damn spare didn't have enough air in it. Luckily, I had a bike hand tire pump so I spent the next 15 minutes huffing and puffing to put enough air in it. All in all, it took well over an hour to change the tire and I was a little grumpy and tired.
Drove to the next town but by the time I arrived it was only 7am so no shops were open yet. Went to Walmart Tire Services and waited until they opened at 7:30. When they opened they looked at my tire and found a hole. They said they couldn't patch it as it was too close to the sidewall. They didn't have the same tire to replace it with so I called a couple shops and found one somewhere else so I made an appointment there.
I had an hour to wait so I decided to google how close to the sidewall can you plug a hole, and I found a thread stating that you can plug it pretty close but most of the big retailers won't do it cause of liability issues and they want you to spend more money and buy a new tire. The thread recommended going to a small hole in the wall shop and they would probably do it. Sure enough I went to a small shop and they fixed it so didn't have to buy a new tire. Yeah!
Sneak peak of what is to come! (photo by Chris Broste, http://www.cbrophoto.com/)
Back on the road after a 3-hour delay. Drove thru the beautiful Rocky Mountains and it was weird seeing them with no snow as I was here all last winter being a ski bum.
Made it to Denver just in time for rush hour. Drove up to Boulder to pick up a motorcycle windshield for my brother and then headed to my storage unit downtown. Dropped a few things off and tried finding a few things I needed but couldn't find my solar panel charger. Guess I'll just have to buy a new one. ☹
Lots more driving and in the middle of Nebraska my gps map app, Waze, said there was a 45 minute delay ahead due to the freeway being closed. I googled for more info and sure enough it was closed for maintenance. Damn it. I was already running way behind schedule and did not need this.
After looking at the map, Waze said it would be a bit faster to go north on county roads to another freeway in South Dakota so that's what I did. These roads were only 65mph but decided to go 80 as it was late and hardly anyone on the roads...hopefully including no cops. Made up some time until I got drowsy and pulled over to sleep at a gas station.
Ono more sneak peak of what is to come...(photo by Chris Broste, http://www.cbrophoto.com/)
SHT Day -2: Showers Are Good
|Posted by Jamey on October 24, 2017 at 11:25 AM||comments ()|
Woke up bright and early so I could make it to LA around 11am and avoid as much traffic as possible. Still ended sitting in like an hour of traffic but got puppy dog and headed to my family friends house in Fullerton.
When I arrived they weren't home but they were kind enough to leave a key for me so I could get my stuff and take a shower. The shower felt so good since I hadn't taken one all week at burning man and I was so dusty and dirty.
Back in the van and headed towards Vegas where I hit some more traffic. Drove as far as I could before I was too tired to drive any further and pulled over at a rest stop for some z's.
SHT Day -3: Longest Road Trip EVER
|Posted by Jamey on October 24, 2017 at 9:25 AM||comments ()|
Monday Sept. 5th, 2016
Let the adventure...aka 52 hours of driving to the start of the Superior Hiking Trail...begin. It all starts in Black Rock City at the last day of Burning Man (craziest and coolest festival I have ever been to) which they call Exodus. 70,000 people leave and all need to get onto a single lane highway…so the traffic is crazy…like 10 times worse than LA traffic during rush hour!. I ended up leaving at noon and it took 6 hours to drive 4 miles to get on the paved road from the salt flats of the desert. Crazy.
Now I was heading 8 hours south to LA to pick up my furry best friend, a golden retriever named MacGyver, from my ex's house in Hollywood. Kind of sucked that I would have to backtrack this as I pretty much had to turn around and drive back kind of the way I had just been. But I also needed to pick up my lost suitcase that had just been found and delivered to my unicycle family friends who lived in Fullerton…so I didn’t have much of a choice and had to just suck it up and drive.
I had used a shipping service called sendmybag.com to ship some of my stuff from PA to CA after performing at Musikfest. It should have arrived a week later but didn't turn up and I found out they lost it. I had over $5,000 worth of stuff in there including my Schlumpf Muni ($3,000 geared mountain unicycle) as well as my sleeping pad, camelback and my $400 custom made sleeping bag made to fit me perfectly. So I was pretty upset when they couldn't find it especially since I needed the last three things for the SHT. I was so happy when I found out they found it!
Drove until I got sleepy and pulled over and slept a couple hours in my home on wheels.
These were all the keys that were in the lost and found at Burning Man!!!
Day 21: A Happy Ending
|Posted by Jamey on December 5, 2015 at 7:00 PM||comments ()|
My alarm went off at 5am bright and early. Wrote in my journal until 5:30am and got up. Tried to be quiet while I was packing up to not wake anyone else up but Mike, the tour guide, was already up to get coffee and breakfast started. A few of the guys were out and about by the time I left at 6:45am, my earliest start yet.
I had decided to skip breakfast to save time and get rolling. Said my goodbyes and thank you's to whoever was up and left. The sun was just rising and it was pretty beautiful. Still a bit dark out but there was just enough light to see the trail.
I knew I had to ride 38 miles to finish today so had to keep a fast pace. I was happy that the first 8 miles were pretty flat and ride-able. It then started to sprinkle so I stopped to put on my rain gear and decided to cook up some peach crumble.
From here it rained off and on as I continued up for a bit eventually getting above tree line. The trail stayed above for a bunch of miles and it was pretty chilly but I kept pushing on. I wasn't going to let a little rain slow me down or dampen my spirits.
I made it to the top of my last big climb (or so I thought) and was happy. Stopped for a few seconds to take in the view and take a quick video and kept on moving to stay warm. I could start seeing the lake below and the trail was a bit too wet and steep to ride so ended up walking down most of it.
Met a lovely older couple doing a day hike. The guy has a website with 5,000 photos of wildflowers and they were very friendly. The trail-head and end of segment was just around the corner.
This meant I was about to start the last and final segment of the CT! Yahoo!!! 18 miles done for the day and 20.5 to go with most of it being downhill.
Smashed the first few miles and it was super fast, fun and flowy with a few technical sections. Made it down to Junction Creek which it followed for a mile or so. Then came the uphill...
On the map and elevation it didn't look like it would be that hard of a climb. But as I continued up it seemed to take forever. I eventually gave up for a second and took a nice snack break. I had been pushing hard today so I needed this.
Got some energy in me and made it to the top. Now it was 10 miles of all DH to the finish. I decided to crank up my music and see how fast I could do it and with the least amount of falls. After 6 miles I was totally spent. It was pretty technical in sections and took a lot of energy and concentration to stay on but I was loving it.
Was so happy when I saw Gudy's Rest. She is the one lady that not only came up with the idea of the CT but actually made it a reality. She kind of reminded me of that one lady that had given me that $20 back on my first day ever of street performing who changed my life forever. I want to personal thank Gudy for all that she has accomplished for without her there would be no CT and I wouldn't have been able to have the 21 day incredible experience that I just had. I think it's pretty amazing how just one person can change the world for the better.
Decided I would take my last break here soaking in the beauty of the entire CT and reflecting on the trail. Got a little distracted when I turned on my phone and saw I had service. It was 6pm so sent a text to my friend Amy stating I was 4 miles away and should be there soon. I also had a voicemail from a reporter of the Durango Herald so called him back and left a voicemail stating I would be at the trail-head around 6:30pm.
Said my thank you's to Gudy, the Colorado Trail and the Universe for keeping me safe and for letting me have such an awesome time. Then I was off for the last 4 miles, again mostly downhill.
The last few miles I stopped and put on one of my favorite songs on repeat, "Jubel" by Klingande. This made me not only go fast but put a few tears of happiness on my face.
Pretty soon I came around a corner and there it was. The finish along with Amy, her dog Ivy, a reporter and photographer. Wooooooo Hooooooo! I was officially done and the first person ever to complete the CT on a unicycle. That's something no one can ever take away from me.
The reporter asked a few questions but not as many as I would have thought. The photographer asked to take some photos so we did. The article made the front page of the Durango Herald and turned out to be a good story. Check it out here.
Now it was straight to Carver's Brewery where I knew a free ice cold beer was waiting for me. Several times along the trail different hikers told me that anyone that finishes the trail can get one free beer at Carver's. They have a beer called the Colorado Trail Nut Brown Ale so it's kind of fitting.
Once at the brewery, guess who was there? All the crazy nutty mt bikers that I had camped with the night before. They all congratulated me and it was fun running into then one last time.
I was still super stinky so decided it would be nice to go back to the hotel and shower before dinner so that's what we did. By the time we made it back to the brewery the bikers had left so it was just Amy and I.
This is what my feet looked like before cleaning up.
Ordered a big old burger and a few more beers. Delicious! It just happened that the MN Vikings were playing their first game of the season so as we ate and drank I watched the game. They ended up losing and the bar was closing so we headed back to the hotel where I slept like a king on a nice comfy huge bed.
A few days later Colorado Public Radio called me up and did an interview that turned out pretty well. You can listen to it here.
So in conclusion I would have to say this would be in the top 3 things I have ever done in my life. It was much more challenging than I had orginally thought, mainly due to all the elevation gain and loss. I was very lucky with the weather and it was nice being by myself with no distractions for 3 weeks. I learned a lot about myself and also learned to not only forgive people in my life that have hurt me but more importantly to forgive myself. I'm so excited for whatever my next adventure may be...probably spending the winter in Colorado being a ski bum! I want to thank anyone that has read my entire blog and made it to the end. It took me a lot of time to write this plus upload all the photos and videos (over an hour for each day...so that's like 21 hours!). Life really is all about love and laughter so get out there and enjoy life!
I will be posting more blogs in the future so please check back to see what I've been up to. Peace & Love -Jamey
Day 20: Crazy Mt Bike Gang Made Me Do Tequila Shots
|Posted by Jamey on December 5, 2015 at 12:45 AM||comments ()|
When I woke up it wasn't too cold nor was my tent damp with condensation so that was nice. Made breakfast and hot chocolate while I sat and enjoyed the view. Two bow hunters walked over the bridge so I waved and they waved back.
Check out this video...probably my favorite video of the trip cause it was by far the coolest campsite yet!
Back on the trail it slowly kept climbing eventually dropping down into a cool little lake. Took a little snack break and kept on going.
I came to the last water supply for 22 miles so I stopped and filled my CamelBak with 3 liters and my water filter bag with 32 oz. Boy was it heavy. Don't think I needed that much but if I planned to make dinner and breakfast than I wanted to make sure I had enough.
When I passed a guy talking on his cell phone I was surprised he got service way out in the middle of nowhere. I decided to turn my phone on to see if I got service and sure enough I did.
Checked my emails and text messages. My mom had sent some text message asking me and my other family members if she should contact the ranger as they never received my morning check-in from my Spot GPS thing. She was starting to get worried and even Aspen Mike agreed that it was weird not to get a check-in from me.
I'm almost 100% sure I checked-in that morning but maybe I didn't hold the button long enough or maybe my Spot wasn't working properly. I checked and the tracking was still on so they should have been able to see I was up and moving along the trail. Anyways I immediately sent a text stating I was OK and continued on.
I came to the top of a hill and there was a huge group of mt bike guys camping. They took some photos of me and asked if I wanted a beer. I really wanted to go 8 more miles to camp but I figured one beer wouldn't hurt.
There were about 15 guys and they were all from the Bay Area in San Francisco. They had hired a tour company to shuttle them around the mountains and cook food for them. It was a pretty sweet setup.
They were curious about the unicycle so I sat around talking about it for a bit. One of the guys convinced me to take a tequila shot and peer pressure got the best of me. I decided to have one more beer and then hit the road.
Well, the tour guide, Michael Ackerman, wanted to do a radio interview for Bikepackers Magazine with me so I agreed and he recorded our conversation. Here is the interview if you want to listen to it...turned out pretty well especially since we all had a buzz going on! After we finished the guys said I should just spend the night and have dinner with them. Very tempting as they were a bunch of nice guys and I was having fun.
After another tequila shot and after the guide showed me a map and explained the rest of the trail to me (stating it was mostly downhill from here) I decided to stay. This would mean I have to do 38 miles tomorrow to finish but I thought it was mostly downhill and I've ridden the last 10 miles of the CT and know it's mostly ride-able and fast so I should be able to do it. I'll just wake up super early.
Set up my tent at mile 446.5 and then they had dinner ready. Chicken with koosh koosh, carrots and watermelon. Delicious! Was so nice that it wasn't dry food again.
As it got dark everyone moved around the nice big fire they had going. After a few more beers and a joint we passed around they decided to do some grease fire bombs in the fire. I've never seen this before but it was pretty cool. Just put a can full of grease in the fire, let it boil, add water and presto you have a big fireball. Did it several different times with one of them getting pretty big. A wee bit dangrous but sweet!
At about 9:30pm I decided I best go to bed as I wanted to wake up at 5:30am so I was on the trail by 7am. Said goodbye and goodnight to the fun group of guys. Also thanked them for the food, beer, shots and hospitality.
As I laid in bed I found it funny how the night had worked out. Originally I had thought all day that it was my last night camping so I would spend it alone with a small campfire by myself reflecting on my trip. Was totally opposite of that but I very much enjoyed their company. Plus I left out one of the best parts. They had s'mores for dessert which really hit the spot.
Day 19: Just When I Thought It Couldn't Get Better...It Does
|Posted by Jamey on November 30, 2015 at 8:00 PM||comments ()|
I wanted to get a super early start so that I could hitch a ride into Silverton ASAP to get my resupply box at the post office. I had no idea if they were open on Saturdays but was hoping. Alarm went off at 5:30am. Wrote in my journal for a bit and then got up.
Wasn't as cold as it usually is so that was nice. But when I got out of the tent one of my flip flops were missing. I had left it outside my tent with my shoes and water (CamelBak). I found it like 10 feet away next to a tree. Fucking weird. Freaked me out a bit and couldn't figure it out. I had ran out of breakfast food so skipped eating and just packed up and left.
As I started hiking, when I went to take a drink of water from my CamelBak, I noticed the entire end of the bite valve was chewed off. WTF? OK now I know why my flip flop was moved. Some critter came last night and moved it and chewed off my bite valve. Don't know what it was but guessing a mouse, rat, chipmunk, or squirrel. That bastard.
It was about 4 miles...all uphill...with 2,000 feet elevation gain to the highway. Wasn't too bad until the last mile as I could see the road but it kept following it and didn't get closer to it for ages.
My thumb went up when I reached the highway and about 15 minutes later a nice couple stopped and picked me up. They were from Durango and just getting away for the weekend as there was a big bike race down there. They were heading to Silverton to go hiking. Thanks for the ride guys, much appreciated.
They dropped me off at the only bike shop but they weren't opened yet. I checked the post office and was happy to see they were open on Saturdays but only from 11am-1pm. It was 10am so I decided to get a coffee, go to the bathroom and check emails.
Found a camping store and bought a new bite valve for my CamelBak then headed back to the bike shop. Still wasn't opened so I called and talked to the owner. As I was talking he pulled up in his car. Unfortunately he didn't have the brake pads I needed either. Damn it. Guess I'll be using what I have and hope it makes it to Durango. I would say the brakes are working at a 75% rate. Better than no brakes.
Went to the post office and picked up my resupply box plus another bonus box that was from my friend Amy. She had surprised me with my favorite candy bars, homemade cookies, chips, a beautiful card that said congrats you are almost there, and a bunch of other goodies. You're the best Amy, thanks
Went to the Golden Block Brewery to have a pizza and a Not Your Dads Root Beer before heading back to the trail. While here I repacked my backpack and sent out a press release to Durango and Silverton newspapers. I sent an email to my mom asking if she could send the press release to more places but she wrote back saying she was taking tests for real estate license all week and didn't have time. I asked her to find someone that could do it as I had to get back on the trail as I was behind schedule. Hope she found someone...
The train was just arriving in town when I left the restaurant so I rode by it and took a few photos. Of course some of the tourists took photos of me too.
Stopped at the liquor store for a small thing of Fireball for when I got to camp. Then it was back on the highway with my thumb out. I was next to a gas station and a guy came over to take my picture. I asked if he was going towards Durango and he said no but he could drive me the 6 miles up to the pass anyways. Awesome! Thanks dude.
Got dropped off and I was back on the trail by 1pm. Going to Silverton was a 3 hour delay but I needed to resupply. This meant I had missed 3 hours of riding so now I was behind schedule. Saw lots of bikers on the trail and talked to a few of them.
Kept on going and eventually had to do a #2. No toilets nearby so I had to go in the wild for the second time of the trip. Instead of logs, this time I made a toilet seat out of two rectangle rocks. Not the most comfortable but it did the job.
Finally made it over the pass and knew it was 3 miles downhill to camp. Was happy about that until I realized I had to walk most of it cause it was too loose and rocky. Bummer.
Passed two ladies camping and pushed on until I made it to Cascade Creek. It was beautiful. I explored the area and ended up finding a spot to put my tent right on a cliff overlooking the waterfall at mile 425.4. Definitely the coolest and scariest campsite of the adventure.
Had a smoke, set up camp, ate some munchies along with dinner which tonight was buffalo chicken. Spicy but delicious! Washed it down with Fireball and just laid back and watched the waterfall and the stars as they slowly starting appearing. Wow. Just beautiful and amazing. Just when I didn't think it could get any better...it did.
It wasn't that cold out so I just laid there enjoying the view. It really was magical and when it got dark out I decided to go thru all my photos of the trip and have a little slideshow while deleting the bad ones. Was super cool going back to the start of the trip and remembering the entire adventure day by day.
Once I finished it was nearly 10:30pm...one of the latest nights I stayed up...so decided I better get some sleep. Crawled into my tent, set my alarm and fell asleep to the relaxing sounds of the waterfall.
Day 18: Home On Wheels
|Posted by Jamey on November 30, 2015 at 7:00 PM||comments ()|
When my alarm went off it was way too cold to get up. Thought I hit snooze but accidentally turned it off. This meant I kept sleeping until the hot sun heated up my tent and woke me up. The first time I was actually warm when I got out of the tent!
It was 8am and I was behind schedule. I wanted to leave by 7:30am so that I could try to ride the 30 miles to the highway which would take me to Silverton. Hurried and hit the trail at 8:30am.
Today there were lots of ups and downs. Nothing huge but it added up over time. Plus the trail was either too rocky or bumpy to ride so walked a good chunk of it.
Passed right next to a big patch of snow so had to stop, took some photos and made a snowball. I only saw one guy today running the opposite direction and one family towards the end setting up camp.
Today I thought a lot about my current lifestyle and how I'm currently homeless. Well I take that back. I do have a home it just has four wheels (plus a few unicycles) so I can take it anyway. It's a Chevy Astro Conversion Van and I absolutely LOVE IT.
My dad found it for me a few months ago for super cheap, only $1300 and it had low mileage, 83k. The catch was it had front end damage. But my dad is an expert auto mechanic and has his own shop so he helped me fix it and make it new again. Only $400 in parts, paints and lumber to make a bed in the back. $1700 all up for a house is a pretty damn good deal if you ask me especially since our rent in CA I was paying was $2500 a month.
Originally my friends kinda made fun of me that I was living in a van. But I had to travel a lot over the summer to work at different festivals and it worked out slick plus I saved so much money not having to pay rent nor having to pay for a hotel.
Personally I love this van more than anything right now. I think it has to do with the freedom it brings. I can literally go anywhere I want with it. Do I want to van camp in Yellowstone, Yosemite, Joshua Tree or the Grand Canyon? OK. Do I want to go to Canada for a month to work? Sure. Or go visit family and friends in MN? On my way. Freedom is priceless. It reminds me of this adventure and how every day I'm in the middle of the mountains and free to go wherever I want.
So a few answers to some questions you may have... I always make sure to go to the bathroom before parking and going to bed. This way I never have to go during the night and when I wake up I just find a local coffee shop to get a cappuccino and use their restroom. Worst case I use a wide mouth Gatorade bottle for wee wee. WiFi is free at public libraries and most coffee shops or restaurants.
I haven't had any issues with finding a place to shower. I know a lot of family, friends and unicyclers so I usually know someone in town who lets me use their shower. Some festivals have free billets or the organizers help me out. Then there are always other options like public or hotel swimming pools, 24 hour gyms, lakes, rivers, oceans, truck stop showers, etc.
Where do I park? Anywhere I want to as long as the street signs don't say anything about no parking. The van doesn't look like a camper van so it doesn't look obvious that anyone is sleeping in it. I usually just park on residential streets and make sure not to stay in one place more than a few days. I also park in parking lots. Walmart's are the best as they encourage it as they know campers will go inside to use the restroom and end up buying food or supplies. Some of them even have free WiFi in the parking lots!
So ya, I thought a lot about my lifestyle and how happy I am at this moment. I love my job and I kinda like the fact I don't have to pay rent as my house is on wheels. I'm sure it will get old and I'll get sick of it sometime in the near future but for now it works. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "Not all those who wander are lost" -J. R. R. Tolkien
I eventually made it to the huge downhill. Nearly 4,000 feet in 9 miles. I was so looking forward to this part as I thought I could just cruise down and it would be a lot of fun. Not.
Turns out it was beautiful but way to steep, loose and rocky to ride. Huge let down but at least I didn't have to climb up it. This slowed me down and I knew I wouldn't make it to the highway before dark. So I took my time and tried to enjoy the journey.
Along the way I came around a corner and scared this huge animal that ran away. I'm not 100% sure what it was but I think it was a moose without a rack if there is such a thing.
Seemed like it took ages to reach the bottom but finally made it to the railroad tracks and Animas River. There were campsites nearby but I didn't want to drink water from that river due to a big mining spill a month ago so I kept going to the next stream.
Filled up my water and went a bit further until I found a kinda flat but a bit rocky area to put my tent at mile 406.3. It was almost 8pm and by the time I was eating dinner it was dark. I could see the stars which was cool but it's a bit scary being outside in the pitch black so I made it into my tent as soon as I could.
Day 17: First Aid Kit, Highest Point, Elk & Moose
|Posted by Jamey on November 29, 2015 at 1:10 AM||comments ()|
It was so nice waking up warm and in a bed. It wasn't nice sleeping with people who snore. But it was totally worth it and I loved that I didn't have to pack up a wet tent.
John was up as well as another guy who was hiking the CT. We asked if he needed a ride to the trail and he said that would be much better than trying to hitchhike. I ordered a breakfast bagel and cappuccino from the coffee shop next door and we loaded our stuff into Hannahs' car.
Up we went to the Spring Creek Pass. It was really nice having some real food and caffeine to start the day. Once at the trail head both me and the other hiker gave John $20 each to fill up her car with gas and buy a beer. The other guy was going the other direction so said our goodbyes.
There was a toilet at the trail head so I made sure to take advantage of that before heading off on the trail. Met some hunters along the trail and talked with them for a bit. Kept going and about 10 miles into the ride my brake started to make a funny noise. Shit.
I stopped to take a look. Took it all apart and spent an hour trying to fix it. I ended up have to bend the spring and I used one of my old pads and one John had modified. These two had the most brake pad material on them. So I kinda fixed it but they weren't super grippy. Guess it'll have to do until I get to Silverton.
Had to break out the first aid kit for the first time for the injury I got yesterday.
While I was working on it a lady hiker passed me and we chatted for a bit. She continued on and I eventually caught her. We ended up talking and hiking together for several miles. It was actually nice having someone to talk to. Then we made it to the highest point on the CT! Woo hoo!!! Plus there was a huge Elk at the top so it was a pretty magical moment.
It was all downhill from here so said bye and off I zoomed. Wanted to go at least 6 more miles so I would be on schedule. I had been out of water for an hour or two so I was so happy when I saw the next stream.
Made it up and over a saddle and down to a small lake. On my approach there was this gigantic moose. He stared at me while I took photos. Was starting to feel a wee bit scared so I quietly kept going around the corner where an older couple had set up camp.
I told them about the moose and said I was going to set up camp on the other side of the little lake at mile 380.2. While I was setting up I could still occasionally see that big ol' moose. Made me a bit uncomfortable but figured he wouldn't bother me unless I bothered him.
It started getting dark and super cold fast. So I hurried to set up camp, eat and lay down. Read more of my book and fell asleep.
Day 16: People are Awesome, Restoring My Faith In Humankind
|Posted by Jamey on November 28, 2015 at 11:25 PM||comments ()|
Brrrrrrr. Another cold morning. Instead of my tent being wet this morning it was frozen. When I opened up the door little snowflakes fell down on me instead of raindrops.
Packed up, made breakfast and started climbing. Up I went until I got to where the sun was and it felt so nice to start to feel warm. Pretty soon I was hot so had to stop and take off my layers.
This was a pretty good day to not have brakes as I was either climbing or I was on the snow mesa which was flat but too bumpy to ride. Therefore I walked most of the 10 miles from camp to the highway.
Saw these cowboys and horses along the way...
Along the way I did try to ride a bit and had my biggest fall of the trip so far. I was riding in a deep rut and my pedal hit the side and I went flying off superman style. Did a roll and came to a stop. Laid there for a bit, caught my breath and slowly examined myself. Just a little bit of blood on my elbow and knees. Got up and my right knee was sore but not to bad so kept going. FYI the reason I had a pedal strike is cause I had the longer cranks on due to having no brakes.
Finally made it to the road where I stopped to hitchhike into town where hopefully there would be a bike shop to fix my brakes. Surprisingly it only took about 15 minutes for a nice guy to stop at mile 357.4.
When he got out I noticed he only had one leg. Thought it was funny that a guy with one leg was helping out a guy with one wheel. Along the way I asked how it happened and it was due to an avalanche accident awhile ago when he was a ski patrol.
His name was Cliff and he lived nearby. It was like a 20 minute drive into Lake City and we had nice conversation the whole way. He didn't know if there was a bike shop so I told him to just drop me off at the camping store and I would figure it out.
Inside the store I asked the gentleman working where I might find brake pads. He said my only luck would be one guy in town named John who had a small bike shop at his house. He gave me his number and I went across the street to the pay phone to call him.
The pay phone didn't work so I went to another store that had a free WiFi sign. Used Skype to call as my phone didn't have service. All I got was voicemail so left a message. As I was leaving a nice lady working at the salon named Bear started chatting with me.
I told her I was trying to fix my unicycle and she told me about John. I said I couldn't get a hold of him so she said she would try as she had his cell phone number. Sure enough he answered as he was out for lunch.
I talked to him and asked him if he had brake pads. He said maybe but no guarantees. I would meet him at his shop at 3pm. It was about a mile away and I had an hour to spare so I started riding thru town.
Decided to stop at the bank to get some cash out but when I looked at my balance it was practically down to zero. An automatic payment had came out for a storage unit I have in Australia for $150 along with a few other automatic payments. The only other card I had on me was my Canadian bank account where all of my money is in but my card wouldn't work back in Salida and wouldn't work here either. I had $16 cash on me and that was it. Fuck.
Decided to ask my brother in law and my friend Woody to see if they could squarecash me money ASAP. I was now running late so decided to head to the bike shop.
Found it and met John. He was probably the nicest guy I've met on the trip. So happy and cheerful. Unfortunately he didn't have the pads I needed but he had some old pads that he might be able to cut and modify to make work.
He spent well over an hour working on them and eventually they fit and worked. The brakes weren't 100% perfect stopping power but should be good enough as a drag brake and should get me to Silverton in two days where hopefully I could find new ones.
I asked him how much I owed and he said nothing. What?! He just spent his time working hard to help me and he wanted nothing. Wow. What a nice guy. I had to give him something. I pulled out my wallet and said I can pay with my card or I have $16 cash. He said just give me ten and call it good. I gave him $16 and said I wished I had more to give. I'll probably be sending him a thank you card with a gift card when I finish. If you are ever in Lake City and need a bike shop I strongly advise meeting John and checking out his cool little shop. It's called Lake City Bicycles and his number is (970) 944-0405.
Said goodbye and headed back to the bank. Luckily my bro in law and friend came thru and I now had $300 in my account. Thanks guys. You are lifesavers. Time to celebrate and get some food.
Decided to go to the Packer Saloon. They had free WiFi, beer and food. Everything I needed. While there I started talking to the beautiful couple at the next table. They were from Seattle and worked at Boeing. They were curious about my trip so we talked for awhile about it.
To my surprise when they got their bill they told the lady to put mine on theirs and paid for my burger and beer. What genuinely nice people. Thanks guys, I really appreciate it and promise to pay it forward.
Now it was time to decide if I should try and hitchhike back to the trail or spend the night. The beautiful waitress told me about the hostel in town and how they sometimes shuttle people to the CT for free so I decided to go there and ask.
Once there I met Lucky the owner. He was super chill and showed me around. He didn't shuttle people anymore as it was off season but gave me a number to someone that might be able to shuttle me. Called him but he couldn't do it either.
Loved the sign at the hostel. How cool is this? Based on the honor system. Wish more of the world be like this.
Decided to stay the night as it was only $25 and all the other people at the hostel were hikers and very friendly. Took a shower, set up my bed and went back to the bar for a nightcap.
Small town USA.
At the bar I sat next to the guy who worked at the camping store. Talked to him for awhile and when he left I decided to buy his beer for him for helping me out today. Plus I wanted to pay it forward for the couple that had bought me dinner.
John, one of the hikers staying at the hostel came in so we sat around the bar drinking and telling stories. Good times for sure. Such a nice guy with lots of cool stories. I could totally see us being friends if we lived near each other. He was also hiking the CT and has a blog. Check it out here: www.bumblingabout.com
Towards the end I asked Hannah, the waitress, if she wanted to make $20 by waking up early to drop me off at the trail. She said she wasn't an early morning person but that we could use her car. What?! Are you telling me she was willing to give two strangers she had only known for an hour the keys to her car?! Yup. That's exactly what she did. Wow. Three fireball shots for all of us on me.
Turns out that John was taking another day off so he could drive me to the CT in her car the next morning. Weird how things just work out sometimes. I wasn't planning on stopping in Lake City but I'm so glad I did. It's a beautiful place and I will be coming back someday in the future for a holiday getaway. One of the highlights on my trip for sure. And so unplanned and unexpected. Plus it restored my faith in humankind. I had so many nice people help me out...the one legged guy, the camp store worker, the salon lady, John the bike shop owner, my brother in law Mark and friend Woody, the Seattle couple, Lucky, Hannah the bartender and John the hiker. Thanks a million. I have some pay it forwarding to do now.