Reflections at the end of the GDMBR

I finished the GDMBR on September 29, 2015 at 3:43pm.  This is especially important, because the border crossing is only open from 8am-4pm.  You've been warned.  I had just enough time to get my passport stamped, cross the border, turn around in the dirt road, get mildly hassled by the Mexican border patrol, come back to the U.S., and buy a soda from the vending machine before they closed the gates behind me.

 Just had enough time to get my passport stamped and to the U.S.  again before they closed the border crossing for the day.  

Just had enough time to get my passport stamped and to the U.S.  again before they closed the border crossing for the day.  

It's hard to sum up a 2 month, 1 week journey in a few words.  But it's easy to say how it feels to look back at the trail. 

On my way back to Denver, I had to drive by sections of the GDMBR.  I paused my speedy rental car from the Sargent's trading post. It had taken me days to reach Sargent's from my stopover in Denver.  I could now go from Sargent's to Denver in a matter of a few hours.

Going by bike moved my soul. Going by car just moved myself and my stuff.  

   Staring up at the dirt road that led to Marshall Pass from a car window, knowing that biking over 1,800 miles to get there made me appreciate it in a way that a motorist never could. 

 Staring up at the dirt road that led to Marshall Pass from a car window, knowing that biking over 1,800 miles to get there made me appreciate it in a way that a motorist never could. 

I recalled that I had chosen the rockier way up the pass. (FR 203: 3,000' in 7 miles.) The aspens formed a tunnel over me, the rocks forced me to take my time.

 The harder route up Marshall Pass was also exceedingly beautiful.  

The harder route up Marshall Pass was also exceedingly beautiful.  

I was alone and challenged over and over again. I camped at a backcountry site and watched the sun evaporate from a nook in the mountains.

 Sunset on a mountain is often just a line of light sinking down the valley. 

Sunset on a mountain is often just a line of light sinking down the valley. 

 The simple joy of free camping in the woods. 

The simple joy of free camping in the woods. 

The next day I shivered as I sailed down the other side of the pass in the chill of the morning.  

One hand, then the other, tucked behind my leg for warmth... I chose not to carry an extra set of gloves. 

 The view coming down Marshall Pass into Sargent's. 

The view coming down Marshall Pass into Sargent's. 

I would never have that moment back.  BUT - it is completely embedded within me now. All the moments of pain, uncertainty, hunger, and thirst. All the descents of sheer joy or terrifying chaos. All the people and the places. And all the lessons learned.  They've shaped me in a way that can't be undone.

And I suppose that's why we do these things.  To experience the world, to leave our tire tracks in the dirt, to be sculpted by endless hours of pedaling and consuming gas station food, to share camp stories with strangers, and inadvertently - to inspire others.

 Becoming friends with strangers on the trail is all part of the experience. "Team Hi-Vis"... two of my favorite trail pals. Here all smiles having just eaten pie at Pie Town. 

Becoming friends with strangers on the trail is all part of the experience. "Team Hi-Vis"... two of my favorite trail pals. Here all smiles having just eaten pie at Pie Town. 

I hope that my stories have informed, inspired, or otherwise had a positive effect. I'll continue to post lessons learned and review of what worked and what didn't.  Leave a comment if you have a specific topic request!

ONWARD!

 Me, my bike, and the aspen. 

Me, my bike, and the aspen.