Vinotok

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Doug. There are lots of other people in the world that I’d rather have a picture of shirtless. Doug-1Schofield Pass between Marble and Crested Butte is a nice place to take a bike for a walk.

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150920_VinotokSchoPearl_HR-16401 Trail.

150920_VinotokSchoPearl_HR-18I told everybody that the flask was full of Pioneer’s Folly, a top shelf artisanal whiskey out of Chitlinsburg, Oregon. But they may have suspected that my top shelf is actually under the sink. Fortunately, there’s no cell service up there, so nobody could Google Pioneer’s Folly and prove that I’m a liar with really cheap taste in liquor.150920_VinotokSchoPearl_HR-17Real excited to ruin every bearing on her bike. Also, good job security.

“Our Green Man is dead!” Everyone on the street boos. The Green Man lays on the stage, next to the Earth Dragon. Doug passes me our pocket-temperature whiskey. It’s amazing the stuff doesn’t dissolve the plastic bottle.

“I totally missed the dragon last year! I think I was hiding halfway up that pine tree by this time,” Doug says.

“Who shall die so that our Green Man may be reborn?” the Harvest Mother (I think that’s what she is, everything is getting a little hard to follow) asks.

“The Grump!” the crowd yells. “Burn the Grump! Burn the Grump!”

“I find thee, miserable Grump, guilty of all charges and sentence thee to burn!” Drums beat.

150920_VinotokSchoPearl_HR-26 150920_VinotokSchoPearl_HR-27The Grump is marched to the pyre. Torches go in, the wood and the Grump catch, and fireworks bang out into the crowd.
150920_VinotokSchoPearl_HR-34I move back, it hurts to be within 60 feet of the fire.

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I almost fall over a kid on the ground. Hopefully they made it out of there with their hot chocolate intact. The dirt is a dangerous place to sit when you’re in the middle of a big group of shambling, shuffling, tripping (both ways) hippies.
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Riding into town for some fun is great. Riding out the next day is better. After a gallon of coffee.

150920_VinotokSchoPearl_HR-50My friends head back to Carbondale over Schofield, and I grab more coffee in town. Then start the climb up Pearl Pass, all warm and fuzzy after that great festival. Actually mostly just fuzzy. But Vinotok is great- nothing for sale, no tickets, and most importantly, no Grateful Dead cover bands.150920_VinotokSchoPearl_HR-55Almost 4000 feet up from Crested Butte, I’m done for the day. The elevation (definitely not the previous night) has me feeling all funny. Need more coffee.150920_VinotokSchoPearl_HR-54 150920_VinotokSchoPearl_HR-60I camp, and wake up every couple hours, constellations rise and set. It’s chilly at 12,000 feet.
150920_VinotokSchoPearl_HR-62 150920_VinotokSchoPearl_HR-63 150920_VinotokSchoPearl_HR-65Pearl Pass is kind of the original big mountain bike ride, and I’m excited to sneak it on such a perfect day. Even though I lacked the supplies that first group had- from the 1976 Crested Butte Pilot:

Everyone began dropping like flies up the Brush Creek Road, but seven hardy riders made it to base camp located three miles below the pass summit. The seven included Bob Starr, Rick Verplank, Walter Keith, Long Beach, Patty Ann Gifford, Patty Christie and Duane Reading. They were soon joined by the support vehicles driven by Doug the Bump, Ed Bliss, Abe, and Cotton Harris containing the drop-outs and the Klunker groupies, including Chris Whitsell, president of the Groupie Club. The group and groupies made camp, enjoyed a steak fry and consumed one keg of beer, three bottles Schnapps, 2 gallons of wine, and 3 bottles of champagne. Mechanical assistance was rendered by Steve Baker, head engineer. Then, according to Starr, everyone got drunk and passed out on the pass. Saturday morning dawned under gray skies and a drizzle. The tour members sprung up bright and early only to find someone had raided the donut stash during the night. Everyone was checked for doughnut breath. No luck, the culprit remained at large.”

Riding bikes in the mountains used to be real cool. Still is, although some people try to suck the joy out of it.
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3 thoughts on “Vinotok

  1. Everything about this trip looked fun! From the trails to the views to the Vinotok Festival! Although I think you could better enjoy that festivities a little father from the pyre. Unless, you know, you’re used to it.

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