We don’t yet rest. Seven days, 602 miles. Tomorrow we rest. Today, on the other hand, we ride 99 miles.
But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Today is the first day of Co-op Camp Sierra. This is a camp that was started in 1939 – that makes this the 80th year of Co-op Camp. Camp Sierra itself has been here a few years longer.
My introduction to camp came in 1985. I had a new job (Maintenance Director of Twin Pines Co-operative Community) and they sent me to camp to network and hobnob with my fellow wizards. Little did I know it would lead to an annual job for several years and a place I’d later bring my whole family.
You’d probably call me the Administrative Assistant to the Camp Manager. She called me her Mom. It was my job to make sure she got to all of her meetings on time and to drag her rolling suitcase around on the trails, as well as help plan and run the educational programs. For this, her kids later rewarded me with one of my most precious possessions.
Co-op camp was officially a place for people from the California co-ops to gather for continuing education in a mountain setting. It was and is much more.
It also has the best swimming hole around, miles of hiking trails in national forests, nearby Sequoia groves, and possibly the biggest tie dye project ever. (Camp photos from coopcamp.com) Lodging is in either your own tent or a camp cabin.While I didn’t bring the “grandmother” mug on this trip, tomorrow morning I will raise my cup on our first day of rest, in solidarity with my old friends at camp, who will be raising their cups on one of the cabin porches. I haven’t been back since 2006. Someday…
But what about today’s ride?
Oh yeah. The rain lasted all night but stopped by morning. The day started chilly, with fog/low-lying clouds. We packed up wet with one of the riders humming circus music. We are kinda like a traveling circus, rolling into town, setting up our tents, and leaving in the morning. We don’t provide much of a show.
We started flat and easy, retracing our steps from yesterday. The road started to tilt upward and the sun came out so we shed some clothes. We rode up and over Thompson Pass, with a gradually increasing slope, to 10% for the last mile. At the summit we crossed into Montana and Mountain Daylight Time.
A fast downhill seemed to go on forever and, as the road flattened out, a tailwind pushed us along. Only a little over 4 hours in the saddle today.
Tomorrow is another 100+ mile day over busy highway to Missoula. Then comes our day of rest.
I can’t upload photos from my current location. I should have better luck in Missoula. It’s past my bedtime anyway, and a wall of dark clouds is closing in.