Monday, August 21, 2006

The Flume Trail

The following is an e-mail sent by my husband Brent to Jeff about our adventure Sunday August 13th, 2006. (As a side note, we WILL be doing this again sans the dog this Sunday the 27th with a professional soccer coach visiting us from Australia! Do we know how to show someone a good time or what?)

I am still not over the trauma. I can tell you that I have never been more proud of my wife. From Spooner to about 2 thirds up Cardiac Hill she did not stop and we were passing folks like they were standing still. After a few minutes rest, she rode the rest of the way to Marlette. We had a snack and let Chili take swim. We rode around the lake to the Flume Trail. Truly enjoyable.

When we got to the landslide area, Chili tried to chase a squirrel and fell off the edge! He went about 50 yards down before he could stop himself. We called him and he climbed as far as he could. Then I had to climb down and pull him up. I had his collar and it started to slip off so I grabbed his front legs and pulled until he could get his hind legs up and then I pushed him over my head to the trail.

We got to the fork where we could do the ride down to catch the shuttle or continue on with the loop. Sandie's mantra for the day was, "We are NOT taking the shuttle!" So we did the half mile climb to the next fork where we headed over to Twin Lakes. While climbing up TRT I got a flat and was hoping it was patchable as we did not have any spare tubes (stupidstupidstupid). Once it was fixed (at a spot where we had a great view of Washoe Lake) we were on our way. Climbing, climbing, climbing. Somewhere along the way (according to the way I was reading the very vague map) we missed a turn. It is entirely possible that we just had not reached it when I made the executive decision to turn around. Now that I have looked at a second map which is totally different than the one the ranger handed me, this seems like the more likely truth. But I was worried about getting too far out of the way and the dog was wearing down fast. We rode back down the switch backs which seemed Hellishly endless on the way up but very fun on the way down. We ran into another couple on their way up and compared notes. They decided to continue on and we kept backtracking.

After Twin Lakes Mark II we took the deep sand road that drops down to Red House Flume Trail, crossed the dam, and found ourselves in what is called (and now I know why) Hell Hole. We did a quick check of the Crap Map and headed up Sunflower Hill. We ended up walking the steepest part (about a half mile), more out of frustration than fatigue I think, and then I hopped on and told Sandie It was easier to ride. As she was getting on her bike, she snagged her drink tube from the Hydropak on the bars and the valve popped off. Water went everywhere and this was the straw that broke the camel's back. She had a quick breakdown, I held her and got her settled down. She got on the bike and climbed that freakin mountain without stopping again. There are a few forks in that road which are NOT listed on the map. Luckily I have my dad's excellent sense of direction and knew which way was best. I knew we were on the right road, it was fire road (so we could be rescued with a phone call), and we needed to ignore any nagging sensation to "check the map" as that seems to be where we went wrong in the first place. When we got to the top I said, "Enjoy your downhill, I'll stay with the dog."

She took off as we started to see signs of life again. I stopped to talk to a guy and let Chili rest. I told him about our ordeal and he asked if we had enough water. I said that we were fine, I was just really worried about my dog. He wished us luck and Chili and I headed down the hill. We met Sandie at the bathroom at Marlette.

We started the climb out of the lake basin. I stopped to let Chili drink from the stream and refilled his bottle. When we got going again Sandie was about 50 yards up the hill. I looked up just in time to see a deer bound across the trail right in front of Sandie. I said "Holy shit!" and started laughing. When we caught up to her she said it was only about 2 feet in front of her and she thought for sure there would be a second one since they're hardly ever alone. When we got to the top I told Sandie to take off again. I was really starting to worry about my pup. I just rode the brakes and kept looking back he was a trooper. We stopped once in a while to get a drink and I talked to him and tried to keep his spirits up. His tail was drooping and he was limping pretty good.

When we finally reached the parking lot it was 6:35. Sandie had ridden a little over 27 miles(she rode back to check on us after waiting at the end of the trail for awhile), I was just over 26 and Chili was working on 30 with his wildlife chasing and whatnot.

All in all, it was a helluva ride. If I wasn't so worried about Chili I may have enjoyed it more. As it was, it caused me nightmares last night. I knew he was hurting and it was my fault. I didn't worry about Sandie so much (just a little) because she is one tough chick. I am so proud of her after this weekend. She has come a long, long way and I owe it to your group rides. So I MUST say "Thank you" and please pass that on to the rest of the guys.

I have been babying the pup and he is eating it up! He is still in allot of pain and it makes me very sad. He is coming around.

I want to go again. I want ride it backwards so I can find that road. I know where it hits the road to Marlette. Maybe our next kidfree weekend. I won't be torturing the dog again though...

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