The hole that Blake is looking into was part of the trail at one point but it's washed out and now bottoms out about 12 feet below. To the right is a normal segment of trail. It's a bench covered in mud from the heavy rains the day before. See my wheel? That's all clay. It's heavy and it destroys our will in about 4 hours of slogging.
We can't hide from the water but we'll get to that part in a little while. First we have to show some cows.
This is very nice trail but you never know what's around the corner and it brings trouble all the time.
If you think I was kidding, look at this photo below and tell me that's not cow piss? Oh! um, you have to walk in it. This is tiny and can be mostly avoided but they get big and I have a black right shoe to prove it.
20 miles in we get free cold well water at Magpie Camp. This is 6 hours in I think.
This is Devils Pass. It looks cooler in person but it looks to be an old road. Crossing it on a bike is easy but you pay attention.
Blake crossing the last of the bridge.
This must be the flagship post. It's the only stainless steel trail marker we see.
This is more nice trail. Much of it is a deep rut(s) and you have to ride in the dirt next to it or walk.
We are both surprised but this is the Little Missouri River and we have to cross it.
The black stuff is wood charcoal.
See the vein, that is the charcoal from an old fire.
Camp! Day 1 is over. This is Elkhorn camp, We are the only campers.
This little turtle is on every Maah trail post. We understand early that slow wins the race. How poetic.
We give in an push. No reason to kill yourself on hills if you have to walk bad sections of trail. We are happy to make 5 mph average. Out best speed, one mile took 7 minutes.
These cows block the gate. They are protecting 4 or 5 calves so we go around and jump the fence.
More water crossing. Yuck.
That's cow poo on Blake's bars. So when I say free range cow pee fills the low areas and poo flies... Believe me.
Blake scouts a narrow for crossing. We don't find one and post hole mud, muck, and poo.
If you read the Man Trip and remember the Gnome. This is his dog. He has a bone. The angle is better in person. I'm not happy with this photo but it's what I have. It looks like a dog laying on a rock with a bone under his front paw.
Lunch. This is mid way through day 2 and the trail is getting better. We are a wreck at this point.
See, I'm happy.
It's that turtle again! See how the post is cut to point down at the trail. It's very helpful. It always point to the trail you want at forks and other hard turns.
We are within 10 miles of the end. Views are getting better and we know we'll finish just before dark.
This is the ugly end. I thought it was be better but it's covered in horse poop so that's better, right?
The last mile to town.
Below is a small set of photos of the first meat processing plant in North Dakota (or something like that, read the sign). We stop because it's a nice sunny day, we have an hour or so to kill and when are we ever going to be back, yep! Never.
Sundown is dramatic.
Blake and I work out some numbers and figure we burned 10,500 calories in 2 days. We have a big dinner at Boots Bar & Grill and retire to the van for beer and second dinners. I have Dinty Moore, don't judge me. I was hungry.
We drive home the next morning after shoving some groceries down our necks.
Adventure rides are hard, they suck, you rarely have fun but you rarely have time to think about the hell your living. It's common for me to wonder what I've done to myself. If the opportunity to make things harder presents itself, I double down. Some of my best memories are with my climbing buddy, Brad, and we barely made it out alive. I don't want to get that frightened anytime soon but to know it's getting serious puts me in a peak state that I find energizing.