Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Boy and His Snow Bike

It was the weekend, finally, but I was mired in the start of winter blues. Not enough snow to ski, but too deep to reach the lakes, bitter cold, ice, horrific wind. "Let's go up the backside of Mount Howard," J said. "I'll ride my fat bike and you can hike."

Captain Crankypants made an appearance. "I don't know if that will be enough exercise," I whined. I know, I can be really annoying. Pity the fool who married me.

But in the end I went, having no better ideas and wanting to spend time with J (see, I do have redeeming qualities). The road up Mount Howard winds steeply into the sky, eventually culminating at about 7,000 feet. You can get there by gondola in the summer. In winter, the road is unplowed and generally deserted, as it is a major slog.

 This is J's first winter with his hand-built snow bike. It's the first one in the county and a lot of people have never heard of this kind of bike. He hopes to start a trend. Even though the snow was deep and I could almost keep up on the hills while he rode, he was smiling the whole time and refused to turn around, even when he had to hike a bike.

Spoiler alert: we didn't make it to the top of the mountain. Not so much of a spoiler: I really, really wanted to. But we would have needed snowshoes, camping gear, and all sorts of stuff we didn't have. It's always a little hard for me to transition to day adventures instead of overnight. They seem so...short. And hurried.

But...because I only do day trips, I have time to write, and time to catch up with friends, and time to make bread. Those things might not be as exciting as backpacking in the alpine, but they provide a balance. If I could backpack all year round, would I get sick of it? I guess I will never know.

J had a great day on his bike. He is in love with it, so much so that it lives in the main room of the cabin. The fat tires do add interest to the room, so I haven't complained...much. As we drove down from the trailhead, I noticed an uncontrollable fit of giggling.



I've married someone the opposite season as me. But seeing how much he loves winter makes me like it too, most of the time.

Who is the elf?
A couple things:  People! Those in the know: Hiking in the northern Sierra, when can I avoid massive clouds of mosquitoes? Do I have to wait until August?

Also, if you want to know more about what I am writing, the book coming out and the next one, I keep most of that stuff on here: Check it out!


  1. in the snow. I'm so jealous! Hey I checked out your writing site. I had no idea there was a book in the works. I'll have to keep an eye out for it next year. :)

    1. Thanks. I plan to post a little about it here, just don't want people to feel this blog is about selling books.

  2. Love it, can picture that "road" up Mt. Howard. J 's a treasure, could use him to raise winter spirits here, too. Give hin an extra hug.

  3. How fun to have a partner who loves the outdoors even if in a bit different way, good motivation to get out and explore and share an experience. A biologist inventor sounds even more interesting.

    I'm with you about the Sierra and mosquitoes. I really hate those pesty things (they on the other hand love me) and I'm trying to plan some of my summer adventures. I don't want to wait until August and Sept but those seem to be the best months to avoid the mossies in many areas. I want peak wildflowers without mosquitoes, those seem to be impossible requests.

  4. Totally relate to enjoying the extra time allowed by dayhikes in winter, but still miss sleeping in the woods.

    Love the bike.

    I really liked the northern Sierras in August/ Sept. Perfect weather. No insects made swimming really nice.

  5. I was afraid of that...I didn't want to do the hike in August for a few reasons, but I do not want mosquitoes even more.

  6. I miss overnights too. I need to get out and backpack again soon, even if it will now include a couple feet of snow.

    1. I'm planning on it...if this freezing rain would stop!!

  7. I came across a photo of a fat-tired bike in the snow, the caption reads "groomed for huge tires." Really? The things people create.


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