At that point, I really didn't want to turn around because all I had been doing was walking in snow. So I decided to walk in deeper snow. Unfortunately, this went on for EVER. It wasn't that far to get back to the next fire road but it just never ended. My shoes and socks were soaked. I started thinking about whether I should start bushwacking and make a beeline for the fire road or stick to the trail. I stuck to the trail. For another hour. Then, fed up, I decided to head off trail. This proved to be a big mistake.
The topography was brutally steep, rocky, icy, and snowy. At one point, it took me 30 minutes to get 50 feet up a hill. I fell backwards a few times and even yelled out in frustration towards the end. I eventually found a creek and decided to try to parallel it all the way to the road which was now 2 miles away. After fumbling up a few more steep ravines, I finally gave up, with daylight fading and temps dropping, and decided to just walk in the creek. It was cold but it was better than dealing with the saplings of trees that never ended.
A bit further on and I saw something odd. It appeared to be sleeping bags. You never know what you're gonna run into out in the sticks and it's the 2 legged critters that normally concern me. I got closer and was hoping this wasn't going to be some creepy Chris McCandless deal that ended in finding a body in one of the bags. Both were empty but it's still weird. Fifteen steps more and I looked to my left and saw a bunch of trash. Ramen noodle wrappers, hot sauce, probably 100 empty cans of salsa, trash bags, buckets, propane tanks, pots, pans, clothes, etc. This was probably someone either hiding/running or some low budget grow camp. If I would have known I was going to be off trail, I would have been more prepared. I marked the coordinates on GPS and will get with the local folks but they already know there's a lot of that stuff in the area. I may backpack into the area again this weekend to pack out all that shit. I got out of there and eventually ran into the road and then had about a 30 minute ride back to the car.
These are the pics I took today. Normally I mix them up but I left these in the order they were shot. The abandoned camp shots are ugly but I wanted to share them. I was only supposed to ride for an hour and a half today but I think I actually pedaled for 2 and hiked for 4.