Big Agnes employees are always finding a quick escape into the backcountry. Here’s BA staffer Pete and his recollection of a recent, much needed, bikepacking trip.
How was the weekend? The weekend??…?…Hmmm, well… dang.., it was just right. It even felt pretty long! I think that’s because we busted out of work on Friday with the packs already loaded on the bike to hightail it to the Flat Tops and attack a bike traverse we’ve been eyeing on the map for a couple seasons. My only hope was that the snow was completely melted out to the top of the drainage so we could bike the entire way topping out at 11,000 ft.
Once we got there, we were psyched! The trail was bone dry, had that high country feel, and the occasional squeak of a pica. But then, the mosquitoes hit…HARD! They hit like a freight train, steadily swarming around our heads and munching the backs of our elbows. It started to get pretty serious and we found ourselves hammering on the pedals, desperately climbing in an attempt to bust out above tree line for some wind and exposure to escape the little pests. The headwall was steep and rocky, so we hopped off the bikes running hike-a-bike style and finally topped out riding cross-country over terrain, which reminded us of “The Sound of Music”. It was like we were cowboys riding horses bucking around front to back over the rough terrain, but really we just wanted to keep pedaling in granny gear so as not to get bucked off. Out in the distance we could see exactly where we wanted to camp, right at the edge of the cliff where the wind was strongest to kick out the mosquitoes.
Once we were standing at the edge of the cliff, we immediately dropped the bikes, pulled out our tents, bags, pads and down jackets from the bike bags, and scouted the best piece of ground to pitch our ultra-light Fly Creeks. A couple little nooks provided level ground with 360-degree views of the 12,000 ft. peak behind us with a hot pink sunset, to the cliff in front of us overlooking the vast green valley below. Normally we’d be rolling home from a couple happy hour brews in town, but instead we drank in the high country views and fired up the stove, which sounded like a jet liner taking off to boil water for a dehydrated meal of beef stroganoff. Man it tasted good and we discussed how it felt like we were in Google earth or in a plane looking down at the clusters of lights representing small towns in the valley, but really in all actual reality, it was about 10pm, a coyote was going off in the distance and some stars began peering out behind the fast moving clouds.
After a long work week, it was time to let go, take a deep breath, relax, and fall asleep outside, on top of a mountain.