“I always ride my bike to the trail head. Couple hundred miles on the bike, sleep in the bush on the way,” Steve told me as we pedaled next to him in the Adirondacks. He wore jean shorts and a beat-up hat and carried a huge backpack loaded with camping gear. “I just rest my pack on the gear on the rear rack and it works great.” My padded-shorts butt felt for him, but he seemed happy and in high spirits.
Steve rode an old-school mountain bike and was headed into the mountains to finish hiking the last six peaks of the Adirondack 46. Thirty years after laying sights on hiking the tallest 46 mountains in the Adirondack Mountains, this was the final push.
Here was a guy in his late 50’s flipping conventional bike touring wisdom on its head. With no training and the “wrong” gear, he was doing a 400 mile bike tour through steep mountains and sandwiching three days of backpacking in the middle! And he had nailed the peak seasons for fall foliage and was going to have an amazing time. Good for him!
Meeting him also got me thinking. With Portland, Maine beckoning from a scant 130 miles away 0ver the White Mountains, all the meditating in the world can’t stop me from pondering the next big adventure. A quest like Steve’s inspires me to consider challenges that are woven into the fabric of life for years to come rather than an all-consuming one like this bike tour.
Don’t get me wrong, there will be more adventures that require practically all our time and energy. Meeting Steve simply ignited a desire to frame out and pursue a big, audacious goal to tantalize and motivate us over a long period of time. A big writing project? Mountain biking all the IMBA Epics? Start a for-purpose company to build schools? Bike touring every country in Europe? Or maybe something completely out of left field like kayaking the Inside Passage (Kipp, let’s do it)? In the words of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, exxxcellent.
But first things first. After a fantastic stay in Burlington that we extended after making some great new friends, today finds us pedaling into the White Mountains on a perfect fall day. Big climbs and remote mountain territory points toward a great finale enroute to Maine! Talk to you on the other side.
P.S. A few shots from the last couple days are below.