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    Day Two on the Gorge Mickelson Trail

    Day Two: We Got What We Came For



    That night in the hotel, the weather and thunderstorms broke, leaving a cold blue bird day for us to try again, dry kids and gear in tow up a 2 hour climb straight from town up a 4% grade. The grade deceives when pulling so much weight.

    This Should Be Easy?

    Biking a rail trail, you think, “This should be easy.” But what feels moderately difficult, turns out to be slow and grinding, draining you over hours – exactly what we came for. We could bike for 3 to 4 hours everyday, arrive to camp exhausted and exhilarated with kids not burnt-out, bored or frustrated from the rigors of the trail.



    Rail Trails Are Perfect

    Rails to Trails biking offers adventurous parents who want to bring their kids on a multi-day adventure the right ingredients of adventure and security, the right combo of wilderness exposure but close enough to bail-out points in-case something goes bad.

    When It Does Go Bad

    We used those bailout points day one when hail and 43 degree rain ran us off the trail, then again on day three when the weather turned cold and rainy and we stayed at a hotel with a pool in Custer, SD. Those days might have been tough for us, but the kids loved the hotel, the pool and jumping on the bed!



    Faster Dad!

    After the 2 hour climb I mentioned above, we enjoyed a leisurely downhill, soaking in the sights and sounds of the Black Hills as Trey yelled, “Faster dad, faster dad!” We passed a black angus cow on the trail. She wouldn’t move, she wouldn’t flinch until I slowly biked her way. She stayed motionless, when I was right beside her, bang!, she bluff charges me. Though my heart was racing, no harm done as I moved on passed. Brooke pulls over immediately. I yell to her to just keep going. She yells back, “No way! I saw what she did to you.” A few minutes later the cow moves on and we continue the trip.

    At camp Tana leads us in a game of ring-around-the-rosies, while the only pair of jeans we brought for Trey are too big and fall around his knees just before we all fall down.



    Underneath The Milkyway

    In the tent, since we save weight by sleeping in a tight, 2 man tent, I spend the time before prayers ducking and dodging elbows, knees and feet as we wrestle and play. Then bedtime about 8 pm underneath the Milky Way.

    Next installment, our Ultimate Bike Camping Pack List!


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