Broken mount on the Johnson Trail
I planned on cycling the Johnson Pass Trail which is a shortcut on a map but the long way round cause it takes so much longer to travel. But German engineering let me down and I had to abort the trip.
It was only one mile into the trail when my right hand side pannier fell to the ground. Its not the first time that my panniers have fallen off when cycling over rough roads but this time it was different. The lower mounting bracket had broken. I pulled out my MacGyver kit of repair tools and hastened a repair that I was confident would hold on good quality sealed roads but not on the rough mountain bike trails of Johnson Pass, so it was back to the trailhead for me. Damn.
While cycling back up the highway, cursing my bad luck, I was wondering what else could go wrong.Three day previous it was a broken Brookes saddle (which was a real pain in the arse, haha), now a broken pannier mount. If things come in three’s then what would be next. I stopped at the junction of the Seward hwy and Sterling Hwy for dinner at a spot that was amazing. Next to a lake in a glaciated valley. Sometimes I have dinner early then cycle another hour or so into the evening, enjoying the amazing colours that greet me at that magical time of day. And this was no different. By the time I made it to Summit Lake it was no longer frozen. Four days ago there was a thin layer of ice just clinging to the surface of the lake. Time to stop for the night.
The following morning I had a downhill run almost all the way to Whittier. There were a lot of road cyclist out on this day. I spoke a couple of them that cycle from Anchorage to Seward and take the train back. Great way to enjoy the nice weather and long daylight hours. Approaching Whittier I followed a hiking trail with my bike called the Blue Ice Trail. It follows the road shortly after the Seward Hwy turnoff. I like to get off the road onto small trails when I have the chance.
Getting to Whittier involves traveling through a long tunnel under the glacier filled mountains. Bikes are not permitted to be ridden through so I waited to hitch hike through. Luckily the first people who arrived gave me a lift, thanks Anne and John for the lift. When setting up my tent, snap, broken tent pole. I had noticed a hairline crack a month ago in Tasmania and though, she’ll be right. Well, not quite. Out came the MacGyver kit and a temporay repair done. It wont last long but it should get me another couple of weeks. At least now I have had my 3 things happen. They say things happen in 3’s!!!!
Whittier is a strange place. One of the ugliest towns I’ve ever visited set in some of the most scenic fjords I have ever seen. It was once a military town but now I don’t think it knows what it is. I met some fishermen who called in to do some laundry. They filled me up on beers, I couldn’t say no. I liked hearing their stories of the Bering Sea (Deadliest Catch) fishing and easier times fishing around the sheltered waters. Not the kind of life for me.
I was meeting 2 other cyclist in Whittier, Lucile and Johann, both from France. We planned a couple of days sea kayaking the Prince William Sound area. Hoping to see Whales and glaciers calving into the sea. Then take a ferry to Valdez and cycle to Prudhoe Bay together. For the afternoon we hiked to a viewpoint near Portage Glacier before visiting the local Sea Kayak shop. They delivered the bad news. There was a small boat wind warning currently in affect and no sea kayaking. I appreciated his honesty and openness about the conditions and putting safety first. So, yes I was disappointing not to go sea kayaking but happy that we weren’t put in a potentially dangerous condition. For that reason I could recommend the company to anybody in the area.
Exit Glacier to Summit Lake – 86km
Summit Lake to Whittier – 66km
Hiking Portage Glacier Pass – 6km
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