09-26-2008: Evening at Willow Creek
Today's ride was awesome. I was worried my legs would be extremely tired from the long ride yesterday, but they felt really good. We started with a long uphill, it wasn't super steep, but it was long and relentless. After we got to the top there was a nice long flat section (I had been wanting one for so long). The road that the forest service told us was open was actually closed. If we wanted to go around on a different road it would have been 18 miles out of our way, we really didn't want to do that and we weren't sure if we even had enough supplies for that - it may have added an extra day. So we decided to brave the closed road.
The closed road started out with a steep, long downhill and we were nervous that we may have to turn around and go back up it if we weren't able to get through. When we came to the section that was closed, it wasn't too bad for bikes, there were four major washed out areas that spanned a section about 1/2 a mile long, the largest washout was only 20 feet long. There were dozer tracks through all of the washouts so it was pretty easy for us to ride or push our bikes through them. There were folks working on fixing the road, they didn't seem mind that we rode through. All in all we were happy we braved the closed road.
We are now camped at Ben Lilly Campground at Willow Creek. It's a very nice campground. So far we are the only ones camped here. Earlier we took a nice stream bath which was very refreshing. I love stream baths, they are one of my favorite things. This morning at Snow Lake we had a bit of a scare, our stove wasn't working properly, but Dan has a repair kit and when we got into camp he was able to fix it. Yay!!! It would have been awful if he wasn't able to fix it, we have some food that doesn't need to be cooked, but most of it needs some heat, rice, pasta, couscous, etc...
Now we are hanging out relaxing, the pups are pooped. I love this area the Gila National Forest is gorgeous. The steep, rolling mountains are like nothing I've ever seen, they are a bit relentless on a bike, but absolutely beautiful nonetheless. So green, so many wild flowers. We've seen a bunch of different types of asters. I'm not sure what they all are, but it's so nice to see nature again after the concrete jungles of Miami.