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Day 2: To Piute summit

I was up at daylight, made some coffee, and got back en route by 0900. It was Friday, and weekend traffic was already passing on the trail.

The road continued good until it took off uphill to Piute Spring, where it turned rough and rocky. Passing 4-wheelers thought I was nuts, but it wasn't that bad - just put it in low and keep going.

My biggest problem was traffic - I had to keep pulling off to let 'em by, and I must've been passed by 50 vehicles, most of them in one huge caravan. Up at Fort Piute ruins there were people everywhere, and there wasn't room for half of them to park

I like people, and these are people who maintain the trail and vote for public land, but this was way too much. I rode right past the crowd and up-canyon til I found some shade and peace.

The canyon below the spring was well-watered with plenty of riparian growth and shade. 90% of the crowd stayed back with their vehicles. I decided to stay put til they all moved on ahead of me for keeps.

I'd planned to spend some time exploring around Piute Spring, and the routes around Piute Hill, but the crowd scene turned me off. Worse, NPS had "closed" the routes west of the fort after a brush fire, with a sign that didn't make it clear if the area had re-opened or not. All this bullshit was giving me exactly the attitude I go outdoors to avoid. It's close enough - I can always go back sometime when it's not the Friday after Easter, and spend a day or three.

In any case, by 1400 the horde was all gone - every blessed one. I took some pix of the stone ruins of the old fort, and got relaxed again riding back down to the main trail over the range.

My next trial was coming right up - a vicious westerly headwind from a big Pacific storm. As I turned west to climb up over the range, the road turned rocky, the wind pushed me back, and fatigue was catching up.

I called it a day still a mile short of the summit, finding shelter from the sun and wind under a cutbank in a big wash. I was happy to take it easy, and I had a nice view out over Piute Valley behind me, but I'd made just 12 miles for the day.

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