Monday, December 10, 2012


Every time I awake to discover a fresh layer of Aput that child in me is happy. Some people liken it to Qana on Christmas but I... wait, you're not Inuit and I'm already leading into a long read about how the Inuit have 50 words for snow. Well they don't! They have what everyone has for water. Think about all the words that just describe water. River, creek, stream, brook, canal, lake, pond, pool, puddle, spill, drop, dew, moisture, mist, vapor, steam, clouds, fog, frost...glacier , iceberg, growler, icicle, slush, sleet... Lets not beat that anymore. Qana is 'falling snow' and Aput is 'fallen snow'. I awake to find a lot of Aput and I get geared up and go. My plan is to turn 6 hours and I hope 60 miles on the bike.

I can follow the trail if it's boxed in by trees but I don't know the trail and I get lost and have to read the map and all the blowing Qana makes that difficult. I can manage about 9 mph. I allow a few wrong turns in the name of exploration. This tunnel is one of the discoveries.

I make my way to this very nice 'Pump-n-Go'! I'm kidding, I don't have the Packraft but I kick myself a little because it would be awesome. It's maybe 11am.

Cutting through isn't bad. I flatten the tires to get a bit more grip and manage about 8 mph.
Lunch, I hide in the shadow of a bridge to get out of the snow. At this point I'm very wet but comfortable. I have well designed gear but its not waterproof. I'd like to be dry but I'm not. The snow has soaked me and the sweat filling in from the inside. I'm also about 30 minutes from falling ass first into a stream and getting two wet feet.

 The trail closes down as the heavy snow pulls trees lower and lower. My speed is still slowing and I'm close to 6 mph after 4 hours of riding.

 It's deep enough by 2 pm that I shovel it with each foot as I peddle.
 I make my half way point about 2:30pm. Way behind the plan. I want to get from 169 all the way to Saint Paul and then down the river back to home. I have lights and I fully expect to be done in 4 more hours.

 While I head back north, retracing 15 miles or so I find the trail is filled in. I hadn't noticed how much it was snowing. I was just grinding out the miles and didn't notice. My mood was good, soaked to the bone but happy and having a good time although I was now down to 5 mph with effort.

3 miles later and I was blazing new trail at 4 mph. It was a slog and I was losing the sun fast. Sure I have a headlamp but the trails are getting bad and riding on the road is suicide. I start working out a direct route to home. The only option is to finish my planned route to Saint Paul and then home. That's 20 miles or at my current pace, 5 hours. It's already 5pm. I have everything I need for that. Food, lights and cash for a coffee shop if needed.

I stop to rest under an overpass for a snack but the snow deepens to my axles as soon as I cast off.
Choked by snow and moving about 3 mph with snow to my hubs I concede that if I continue it will be 1 or 2am by the time I get home.  I take this pic moments after I call for a pick-up because no safe route exists at night in a storm from the where I am to where I need to be. It's 45 miles and 6h45m from my start.
I start the day excited about aput but piqsirpoq, drifting snow, and qimuqsuq, a snowdrift, end my day and on that Tavvauvusi (goodbye).


  1. What's the Inuit word for "why are you wearing a helmet?" Haha. Looks like a good time. I'm heading out Thursday to make a trail.

    1. Last winter I lost it on a large log and pinned a tree so hard I fused hydrogen. Without my bucket, I'd be repeating the 3rd grade today. So, rib me all you like, the bucket stays. :)

    2. Good point. Try and not do that again!