Zen On Dirt

Hot Sisters Bikepack – Day 2

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Day 2…wow, that was a doozy. It really didn’t have to be as suffery as it ended up being, we just happened to make the classic we’re-close-to-civilization bad decisions. This always leads to an inordinate amount of suffering, and generally a motel room.

The day started as all bikepacking days tend to. Get up. Hydrate some cardboard shreddings, I mean cook some oatmeal. Pack junk up. Start riding.

The trail started out so mellow, but consisted of that deep duff, that combined with the moisture of the past few days, that makes forward motion just seem slow. Climbing seemed to take a monumental effort. Flat ground had me summoning my inner Hercules. And I was just in a foul mood.

Is this trip really a good idea? We’re sub-24 hours in.


I commented to Scott that everything just felt slow. The gray clouds cast a sleepy feeling over the area, bikes were moving snail pace as we made our way up the biggest climb of the trip, and my brain just refused to engage in excitement over anything.


“I think it may have had something to do with no coffee,” Scott hypothesized.

I normally ween myself off of coffee before these trips, but coffee is a required coping mechanism for me when surrounded by kids in SLC, and then Alexis not only filled *large* mugs with coffee while we were there, she filled them with *strong* coffee.

We split a caffeine pill.

Five minutes later, I was singing, ‘I love caffeine, I love caffeine, yes I do, yes I do.’ Clearly, I’m an addict.


It was good that we took the pills when we did because the rain started soon after. We were nearing the rim of the caldera and I was convinced that once we got to the other side, blue skies would reign supreme. We stopped at the top to finally put rain jackets on and the drizzle stopped just long enough to let us descend down to lake level before unleashing its fury.

Freezing, we hi-tailed it to the “resort” to find they were booked for the night, and then to search for the hot springs. It was starting to seem like a lost cause trying to find it when Scott saw people in bathing suits below us. Scrambling down the embankment, we secured the hottest spot in the pools, getting in fully clothed, hands and feet tingling. It was gloriously hot.


The internal core temperature rise lasted the hike back to the bikes and the coast to the Obsidian Flow. “Let’s go see it!” I insisted. Dating at 400,000 years old, it’s the youngest flow in…some geographic designation.


Cold now, we went to the second resort, hoping to get a hot meal and potentially a room. I didn’t hold out hope for a room, but when Scott stayed in the main office longer than he should have for the “Do you have a room for tonight?” “Nope.” interaction, I got excited.

Sure enough, we got the last cabin. We cranked the heat, I stood in the blazing hot shower for as long as I morally could, and then spent the rest of the evening under the covers trying to get warm.

Whenever I get really cold, I reflect on what I did wrong. In this instance, we raced for civilization instead of hunkering down and getting dry. We brought a tent for a reason. Anyhow, alls well that ends well, and now we get to spend the morning exploring the caldera.


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