Hike the Line Part 2

…”Hike” the Line continued.  Read part 1 here.

***

That afternoon, we made a fateful turn onto a sandy road with the hopes that it would turn back to pavement soon. As the sand grew deeper, our tires got increasingly wobbly in the deep sand and we were forced to walk our bikes. Bike the Line had suddenly morphed into “Hike” the Line as we strained ourselves past sand intersection past sand intersection past sand intersection. It became apparent we were becoming increasingly lost as road signs disappeared and we became less and less sure of where we were headed. Thankfully, we managed to get a few bars of service in order to reach our much more well resourced support team to attempt to give us directions. Unfortunately, by this point, were over nine miles away from any semblance of paved roads. The only choice was to keep trekking. Wild blueberries lined our route, providing a quick distraction from our rather dire situation. Our spirits suddenly lifted when we spotted a porcupine climbing a tree, and we all stopped, transfixed at a mammal that seemed to be a mix of koala, badger, and cactus.

We stopped to admire the beauty of a porcupine in the wild.
We stopped to admire the beauty of a porcupine in the wild.

Trudging our bikes mile after mile, we finally retired to camp next to the path and cook a quick meal of black bean veggie burritos. Our water supply began to get dangerously low–but in a moment of serendipity, Chalk encountered a generous park ranger who gave him six plastic water bottles when Chalk went ahead to explore the route for the following day. We put up our tents and fell asleep almost immediately to the sounds of whippoorwills and howling coyotes, our tired bones eager for rest.

Our route forced us through sand roads for days... sometimes on the Line 5 easement itself.
Our route forced us through sand roads for days… often on the Line 5 easement itself.

We awoke early, eating leftover English muffins and Velveeta mac ‘n cheese for breakfast. The difficulty of the sand path only worsened as we forced our bikes through oil-like mud pits and steep sandy hills. We got more than a few very puzzled looks from people on four wheelers and dirt bikes. After a few more wrong turns, in the late afternoon, we finally reached a tiny town. I don’t think any of us have ever been so happy to see asphalt before. We refuel our bodies at a local grocery store and canvass a bit more before happily retiring for the night, putting up our tents between gargantuan ant hills. We slept in but when we woke up we felt ready to take on anything–as long as we could manage to stay on the road.

Teammates took a victory pic after spending the better halves of two days walking bikes along unbikeably sandy roads.
Teammates took a victory pic simply upon seeing asphalt for the first time after spending the better halves of two days walking bikes along unbikeably sandy roads.

One thought on “Hike the Line Part 2

  1. Wow y’all. Seems like it has been a rough go there for a minute. Being lost can truly suck, but with bikes and equipment, etc, I cannot imagine. Seems like y’all found wonder in some of it and for that I am glad.
    SO DANG PROUD OF YOU ALL! I just don’t even have the words … but y’all just make my heart smile.
    Thank you for doing this very important work! Every day this pipeline sits is another day closer to a spill.
    Truly appreciate these updates and often I have wished to be there with y’all, making fun of chalk or smiling at Fred.
    I FUCKING LOVE YOU ALL!
    Elijah sends his love also.
    Your #1 fan
    Brooklyn

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