Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I dipped! Literally.

8 Miles
Two Moon Park

Sometimes I find myself making really stupid decisions solely on the basis that if it doesn't work out my way, well then I will have a story to tell.  Well, I have a story to tell.

As I worked my way deep into Two Moon Park, I started to notice subtle differences in the trail.  Some typically dry parts of the trail were muddy although it hadn't rained since Monday.  There was debris on the trail in places I hadn't seen debris before and several tree branches were broken and hanging over the trail causing me to duck.  I found deer on the outskirts of the park in places I don't usually see deer.  And deep into the park near the creek the trail was flooded!  What!

I hit the brakes and skid to a stop.  I investigated a little and thought it was odd that this small creek had flooded so much without significant rainfall since Monday.  I looked down the trail as far as I could and all I saw was water.  I turned around and found a trail that would get me around the flooded section of trail.  I made it about 200 yards when I came to a screeching halt again.  The trail was flooded here too but it was only about 15 feet wide.  Although there was some debris in the way, I thought, 'How bad can it be?  I ride this trail all of the time.  It can only be a few inches deep there.  I'll ride slowly through it and be on my way."

That was my dumb decision and here is the story.  I slowly approached the standing water and rode into it.  As my back wheel hit the water I remember thinking, "That's not too bad."  That's when it happened.  My bike dropped and so did I.  I quickly unclipped and found myself mid-thigh deep in the water.  I quickly pushed the bike out of the water and back onto the trail on the other side of this water trap.  Baffled and confused, I mounted my bike again and rode on.  Now I was curious.  Where is this water coming from?  There is no way that the creek did all of this.

I took several more trails trying to get back to the creek to see what was going on.  I crossed a few more smaller puddles and made it back to the creek.  Completely flooded here too!  But this time I could see the Yellowstone River.  Actually, I could see it before.  I was in it.  The Yellowstone is flooding and its all over Two Moon Park.  Then it hit me.  I've already crossed part of the flood waters.  What if I'm surrounded now.  Is that first crossing my only way back?

I turned around and took some dry trails that lead me to the river.  Sure enough, the Yellowstone was high and breaching the banks on my side.  The trails were muddy and slick.  I slipped into a big muddy puddle at one point.  Ironically, the highest and driest trail I could find was on the bank of the river.  I headed back in the direction of the park entrance.  All of the sudden, my trail disappeared.   The banks are collapsing and taking the trail with it!  I skirted around in the tall grass, catching the trail where I could and hoping the bank wouldn't cave in underneath me.  Every trail that broke off of the trail I was riding was flooded.  Bad news.  I'm now on an island! 

Finally I neared the park entrance and so far I didn't have to cross any waters that were deeper than 6-8 inches.  I may have lucked out.  I rounded the corner and there it was.  This time the water was actually flowing.  The crossing was about 20 feet with a swift current.  Again, familiar with the trail, I guessed that the water couldn't be deeper than a foot and a half to two feet.  I decided to try, knowing that if I turned around, I was going to have to wade accross that first crossing that caught me off guard initially.  And hey, if it was deeper than I thought and I got swept away by the current, what a story to tell!

I shifted down to my low gears and approached the water.  All or nothing!  Here I go!  I took off spinning my back tire in the muck and trying to stay upright.  I watched as the water engulfed the bottom of my tires.  My feet are now splashing in the water as I pedal.  Now my feet are both completely submersed and I can't see my front tire.  How much deeper can I go?  Pop!  Up comes my front tire and I crank hard spinning my back tire climbing the opposite bank.  Phew!  I made it and boy did I have a story to tell.


Anonymous said...

So I take it a shower was in order when you got back to work. Boy, are you lucky. I'm glad I didn't have to read your name in obituary section of the Billings Gazette!

Sarah said...

Don't worry Alana, I would have called you first. :)

Sarah said...

Forging a river on a bicycle durning your lunch break. Ahh, makes my heart go pitter patter. **Makes me so proud**