September 6, 2001

9/6/01 Lander, WY

0 miles

It was nice to be under a roof last night, as every time I woke up, I could still hear it raining outside.

Jason said he'd fix me up with an internet connection at NOLS, so I told him I'd meet him later. First, I needed to do laundry. I know it's silly but I get so embarrassed sitting in the laundromat wearing my lycra tights. I almost feel naked. But usually the tights are the only clean clothes, so the rest goes in the wash. Afterwards, I had to stop again at the Wildflower Bakery for a good breakfast bagel-egg sandwich. Talked with Mike at the bike shop about the BOB trailer. He'd like to take his wife to Europe, biking around on a tandem, and he was considering the trailer. By then it was time to head over to the NOLS Alumni office to get caught up on email.

Jason

Before I knew it, ninety minutes had gone by and I still had a dozen emails to answer. But I took a break anyway so I could take advantage of the AYCE lunch buffet at Pizza Hut. Outside of NOLS, I ran into Pablo Valasco. Pablo and I talked briefly when I was here last because he had recently biked from South America to Alaska. When I told him I planned on camping at the Sinks Canyon State Park, he insisted I stay at his place. So, we walked the block to his apartment and carried the bike and trailer up a flight of stairs. He had to go back to work (he also is a NOLS instructor), so I said I'd meet him later.

Pablo

After stuffing myself yet again at Pizza Hut, I ended up back at Jason's office to work on finishing my email correspondence. By 2PM, I called it quits because I still wanted to bike up to see the Sinks. First though, I wrote up a little something about the trip for the alumni section of the NOLS newspaper, "The Leader". Said a hearty thank you to Jason for everything he'd done, and promised to find some info for him about the bamboo saxophone I once owned.

Since I had returned to Lander, I wanted to visit the Sinks, about eight miles southwest of town. The Middle Fork of the Papo Agie River disappears into a large cavern and reappears a quarter-mile downstream. The researchers are a little baffled because it takes about two hours for the water to flow that short distance, but even stranger is that the water found downstream is warmer and in greater quantity.

So, now that I didn't have to cart up the loaded trailer, I took advantage to see this phenomenon. I had heard it was an uphill climb, but hadn't thought about the winds coming down the canyon. Each mile seemed more difficult than the last. I'm so glad I hadn't tried to drag the trailer up here. At one point, I almost gave up because the headwinds were so strong. But I was determined (stubborn?) to make it the whole way to the Visitor Center. The last quarter-mile was the toughest I think I'd done this whole trip. And even though I earned every inch of pavement I rode, I was rewarded with a "closed for the season" sign outside the center.

No matter, I still climbed down to the river to see it disappear inside this huge cavern. Back down where it reappears, I wouldn't have known it was the same river, that's how different it was. The ride back to town should have been fun because of the descent and tailwind, except that it was pretty cold despite the sun.

The water disappearing into the 'Sink'

Back at the apartment, Pablo and I went to the Ganet Grill for some dinner. We must have talked for hours about our respective bike trips. Pablo is actually a trained diesel mechanic but has his sights set on working at NOLS Baja so he can learn to sail. Besides doing another bike trip, he also wants to sail around the world. We finished the evening watching a video on Mount Everest.