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Monthly Archives: October 2016

Mountain Bike Beginners Guide – Equipment You Will Need

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More and more people are getting in to riding a bike, what with the cost of fuel and the increase in most peoples desire to stay fit and healthy. It is because of these two reasons as well as others that  mountain  biking has become one of the most popular recreational activities for people of all ages as well as families. Most people know how to ride a bike but are pretty clueless when it comes to what equipment to buy to go along with their  mountain  bikes. So what are the essential things you need to buy when you are a beginner.

Obviously buying a  mountain  bike is important. The question I get asked more than any other is how much should you spend on a  mountain  bike? My answer to this is as much as you can afford. Buying the cheapest bike you can find is a real false economy, cheap bikes are cheap for a reason. They are not very good. If you go to your local bike shop you should be able to call on the expertise of the staff who will offer you advise.

One important thing to get right when buying a bike is making sure that you have a good set of tyres fitted. You would not buy a new car from a showroom if it had cheap tyres fitted so why would you consider doing this with a  mountain  bike. A good set of tyres is really important as your tyres are the two contact points that keep you upright when riding a bike. Look for a tyre that is a good all-rounder and versatile on all types of terreain. The perfect tyre that I would recommend is the Maxxis Ignitor. The Maxxis Ignitor is gives a very good ride on the road and tarmac but more importantly it gives a really smooth ride when riding on a trail. If you are totally new to  mountain  bike riding you will really appreciate the ride quality and confidence that the Maxxis Ignitor tyre gives you.

From a safety perspective I would always recommend that you wear a bike helmet whenever you ride a bike no matter where or at what time of day. With vehicles on the road or obstacles in your path when riding off-road it is very easy to come off of your bike, especially if you are new to  mountain  biking. The other pieces of equipment are to help you get the most out of your ride, the helmet is purely recommended as a safety feature.

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Rocky Mountain Bikes

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Even though mountain bikes are designed for rough terrain, they obviously perform different depending on their make and features. However, they’re all rugged enough and have what it takes for poor and unpaved surfaces compared to the ordinary bikes. Barracuda are some of the popular brands in the market today. They’re very stylish and at the same time perform extremely well. One such type from this and are the Rocky mountain bikes.

This bikes are comfortable, good for mountain biking and will definitely come within your budget. Despite it being easily recognized for its outstanding beautiful look, it’s light in weight, have a superb acceleration, absorb vibrations well, laterally stiff and magical in climbing. In fact, if you’re looking for a bike that can easily take single tracks which are twisty and tight, rocky mountain bike is all you need.

However, when it comes to descending this bikes are not the best and they’re likely to give you a rough ride down the hill. Nevertheless, if your specialty is mountain biking, then this is the right tool for you. They are rugged and resilient enough for mountain terrain and if you’ve a passion for mountain biking, they’ll not let you down.

Generally, rocky mountain bikes are made of strong and efficient components that makes them fit for racing or mountain biking. You can also upgrade them as you wish to improve on the performance or the looks. Nevertheless, if you’re on budget they are still functional and will perform nice without the upgrades.

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Trek Mountain Bikes – Riding a Tour

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If you are in the market for a new bike – or even for your first bike, you definitely need to check out Trek  Mountain  Bikes. Trek  Mountain  Bikes have been around since the beginning of  mountain  bike time, and they aren’t going anywhere soon – except maybe to the next challenging trail!

First you should note that trek designs and manufactures  mountain  bikes, as well as street bikes, but the company does much more than that. As for bikes, they produce such high quality rides that even Lance Armstrong rides a Trek! What better endorsement could the company have than that?

Trek has a line of accessories that are highly suited to  mountain  bikers of all ages and skill levels. Clothing and shoes, under the Trek brand are available through the website. You can also purchase helmets and other safety equipment, lights, locks, saddles, racks, packs, trainers, bike maintenance gear, trailers, team wear, Trek souvenirs, and even computers for your bike! Trek even has their own specially designed water bottles, and they sell nutrition bars and packs as well!

Now that you know that Trek is all about bikes and  mountain  bikes – and fulfilling the needs and whims of bikers and  mountain  bikers, visit the site, and start building your Trek  mountain  bike. That’s right! You can build your very own virtual Trek Bike. You can start with just the frame, or select a complete bike. You can choose the color scheme, and many other features as well – when you have virtually designed the bike of your dreams, you can order it if you want to! If you can’t afford it just yet, however, you can save it, and go back and look at it over and over again.

Once you’ve purchased your Trek  mountain  bike, you may be interested in a Trek  mountain  bike tour. Trek also caters to  mountain  bikers with Trek Travel. Trek Travel puts together  mountain  biking tours. You can plan your Trek Travel vacation based on where you want to go, the type of trip you want to take, the skill level that you are at, the dates you want to travel, or by selecting a pre-planned event. These are often guided tours, and the guides are well trained not only to make sure that you have the best biking adventure possible, but also that you remain safe during your tour.

If you aren’t quite ready to buy the Trek  mountain  bike, you can still go on one of the many Trek  mountain  bike tours – and the bike will be provided for you! You get to choose between the OCLV Carbon Fiber Trek 5.2 Madone road bike and the full-suspension Trek Fuel EX9  mountain  bike – and the bike is included in the price of your tour. If you’ve already purchased a Trek bike – or any other brand of bike – and you prefer to bring your own bike on your tour, bring it along! Trek simply requires that you pack it in a bike carrying case. You will, however, be expected to reimburse Trek for any spare parts you may use during the trip, and you will be responsible for the care and maintenance, as well as the assembly and disassembly, of your own bike.

If you aren’t in the best of shape, don’t let this keep you from the fun and adventure of a Trek  mountain  bikes tour! There are easy tours available, where you will average thirty miles per day, or less. The terrain will be flat, and you can ride at your own pace, and riding is optional each day. If you prefer something a bit more adventurous, there are moderate trips available as well.

With a moderate trip, you will ride 30 – 45 miles per day. There will be occasional challenges and climbs, and again, riding is optional. Avid tours cover 45 to 70 or more miles per day and are extremely challenging. Choose the package that is right for your abilities, as well as a tour that fits in with the other things you want to do on your Trek  mountain  bikes vacation!

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Mountain Bike Skills for the Beginner Rider

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Mountain Biking is a great and exciting sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages who want to learn. The only prerequisite is the ability to ride a bike. Mountain biking does present some danger of injury, so remember always wear the proper safety equipment especially a helmet. Mountain biking as well as other biking should never be done without a ‘brain bucket’. Mastering the following skills will go a long way towards making your first trail rides safe and exciting.

You can practice these skills anywhere, grass or dirt are preferable to pavement incase of falls. Your backyard or a park are perfect.

Proper positioning on your bike is very important. Arms should be slightly bent at the elbows and relaxed. Gripping of the handlebars should be firm but relaxed. Seat height should be adjusted so your leg is about 80% extended at bottom of each peddle stroke, this is approximate and as you gain experience you will find you will make minor adjustments to this depending on terrain. Remember to always try to keep your body relaxed.

Gear shifting is an important part of mountain biking and will take some time to really get good at. The higher numbered gears are the smaller cogs and are the harder to peddle are for going faster on level or downhill. The lower numbered gears are the bigger cogs and are easier to peddle and are for ascending or climbing hills. Remember shifting for climbing is best done before you reach the hill not after you start up.

Body position while riding is an important part of mountain biking. Unlike road biking you should spend more time off the seat and standing on the pedals to allow the bike to traverse the terrain under you. If you are seated as you hit obstacles like rocks you will be bumped off the seat and lose some control of the bike. Imagine your body traveling in a straight smooth line and the bike moving up and down below you over the uneven terrain as your knees and elbows bend and flex to compensate. You can practice this coasting over small obstacles you find or setup.

Pedaling while standing is another skill to practice for gaining maximum power. Practice pedaling in higher gears on level ground and also in lower gears while going up hill.

Dropping down off a curb or other small sharp edged drop is another skill to get comfortable with. Find a curb to start that is about 6 inches high that you can ride off from high side to low side. Practice this by standing and coasting right off the curb, first at moderate speeds. Then try slower and faster speeds. Remember to stand on the pedals, knees and elbows bent and stay relaxed. Practice this until you are comfortable and it becomes second nature.

Practicing these techniques and just getting more comfortable with your mountain bike will make your first trail ride much more enjoyable. So just get out there and ride and before you know it will all be second nature.

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Setting Appropriate Pressure in Mountain Bike Tires

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Riding a bike is more than just balancing and paddling. To get the true joy of your ride, it is mandatory to have appropriate tire pressure in your  mountain  bike. This has a marked effect on your bike’s performance. Tire pressure can vary significantly between rider to rider and tire setup to tire setup. Trail conditions and the type of terrain can also greatly affect what tire pressure you should run.

What you have to understand is what pressure suits you the best. This will be different in different terrains, but you will have to find it out. Here is a guideline for you to understand the effects of different tire pressures on your biking performance.

Low Tire pressure

When your bike has tire pressure lower than ideal, you will have the following effects:

o More Friction: your tire will go flatter with your weight and the weight that you are carrying. This will increase the ground contact and cause more friction.

o Difficult Paddling: you will have to exert more force while paddling your bike which will eventually burn you out sooner than your usual distance.

o Tire Damage: excessive low tire pressure is likely to damage your tire. If you ride constantly with low tire pressure, you will wear out your tire sooner than its prescribed life.

High Tire Pressure

If you feel that riding a bike with an absolutely tight tire, you are doing something which is not advisable. A tire with high tire pressure will affect your ride in the following way:

o Lesser Ground Contact: a tire with air pressure higher than normal will have lesser ground contact, which means that you will have lesser friction than what is required. It will give you lesser traction than what is required, especially while negotiating a steep climb.

o Bumpy Ride: higher air pressure will make your ride bumpy as every stone and pebble will send its effect to you directly which otherwise a tire with normal air pressure would absorb.

o Wear and Tear: when your tire stops its shock absorbing action due to high air pressure in the tires the overall impact will be gradual damage to your bike. Parts will wear out sooner than its prescribed life.

It is very important to maintain ideal tire pressure in your tires at all times for a comfortable and stable ride.

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Women’s Mountain Biking – Improving Your Balance

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There are several ways to improve your balance.

As a mountain biker, this is essential to reducing your number of “touchdowns”. That is when your delicate soft skin makes contact with either the dirt or rocks. In football, this term is a desirable way to score, in mountain biking, we want to avoid them at all cost.

So let’s talk about a few ways to avoid the “touchdown.”

Yoga and/or Pilates.

Many think that yoga is just stretching. While yoga involves stretching, it is so much more. Yoga is about creating balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility. I try to incorporate at least one session with my local yoga guru. In the studio, I am forced to dedicate a solid hour or more to focusing on improving my core balance. For those of you that have the discipline to dedicate a solid hour at home per week and not get distracted, you may try subscribing to online yoga which offers a variety of classes online for you to choose from.

I have found that keeping a large inflated yoga ball in the house to be helpful for a brief balance and core strengthening exercises. Simply get on top of the ball with knees bent and slightly straddle the ball. Keep your back and neck straight, keep your rear end tucked to form a plank position, and try to hold for 15 seconds then bring knees to chest. This strengthens your upper body and core, it tightens abdominal muscles to greatly improve your steadiness on the bike.

Practice

Just the act of doing will aid in improving your balance, so let’s go ride! As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. That can’t be further from the truth. I just got back from Lake Tahoe riding part of the rim trail back to Star Lake. This ride includes beautiful views of Carson Valley, Nevada only 4,000 feet below. The trail was sandy in sections though, which really adds to the work of maintaining ones balance. And on some cliff-like sections, poise is essential when the consequences can be grave.

Driste

What is this and why is it important? Your driste is your gazing point. Your gaze is important in maintaining your balance. It is especially important in keeping you on the trail and avoids tumbling down a hill. Remember that your bike will track in the direction that you are looking. If you look at the dangerous rock formation ahead, chances are you will head toward it.

So remember, practice, do some yoga balance work and keep your eyes on the trail.

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Mountain Biking Conduct and Etiquette

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As a recreational activity, mountain biking should be fun. But that doesn’t mean you free to do whatever you want. When riding on national parks and public trails, you are more liable to encounter hikers, joggers and horseback riders using an identical trails. Since you are traveling at a quicker speed than others, it is important to take precautions, observe correct conduct and indicate consideration for others.

Benefit from is the list of correct conduct and etiquette that you have to observe while in the field:

Go easy with hikers. When you must pass them, retard and make sure they know that you are there. Not conscious of the fact pass in top speed, otherwise you will startle them. You may even receive negative reaction if you don’t slow down. Once you have observed persons ahead of you, reduce substantial speed as you grow near and make some noise so that they will know that you are coming. A greeting or a bell is good but now and again, foot scrape, gear shift or any subtle noise is plenty of. Decision assume that they have seen you until they locate.

Do remember though to say thank you for giving you their right of way. Pass with forethought especially if there are kids and pet animals. The lower is to show respect and be polite.

Give way – If you see other bikers or hikers coming your way, the best thing you is able to do is to retard until you attain full stop and let them pass, in particular when the track is narrow or if they’re originating above. Add some smile on your face and a polite nod.

Decision scare horses and other animals – Horses are sometimes scared of bikes. If you see equestrians coming your way, ensure that you dismount at any rate 15 meters from the horse. Most horse-keeper will appreciate this gesture and will give thanks. Also you will not ever know if you are dealing with horseback rider or an inexperienced horse so initiate courtesy.

More than anything else, do not make any abrupt movements that’ll scare the pet animals of other people on the trail. Be respectful with the owners and they’ll surely appreciate you. Key to ensuring from any animals you have noticed on the wild whether it is risky or not. Do not even know disturb them because they may attack. Researching information that animals are more scared than you but they will not hesitate to fight back if you pose any threat to them.

Leave no traces – Not conscious of the fact throw anything on the trail. Bring a tiny bag to place all your trash. Candy and food wrappers, plastic cups, empty glue tubes and bike parts are non-biodegradable. Sticking with the trail. If you can’t ride the trail, dismount, carry your bike and walk through it. Not even aware create new paths to prevent bike tracks that appear to be followed by other bikers. If you are traveling to ride on private property, ensure that you ask permission from the owner.

It also lays some of the matters you must do as a mountain biker to show your respect and consideration to others and the environment. Take this in mind whenever you set out on a mountain biking trip or even if you are traveling for a quick ride to a public park.

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The Basics of Mountain Bike Gear

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There is some mountain bike gear that you will need to go along with the actual mountain bike. The gear that you will require will depend on the type of mountain biking you are going to be doing. The type of gear that you will need will also depend on your individual needs and another deciding factor is the amount of budget that you have available. It is also important to consider the type of bike you have when choosing equipment therefore you will need to know if your bike is a fully rigid model or if it is a full suspension model.

There is a vast array of different mountain bike gear that is available so what you purchase really depends on your individual needs and also on your budget. All mountain bikers tend to go for a suitable helmet and most also choose to wear mountain biking gloves. These are the two most popular pieces of gear, as they will protect the head and hands if the cyclist falls off the bike.

If you are planning on doing extreme mountain biking then it may also be a good idea to invest in some safety equipment such as elbow pads and kneepads. These safety devices will protect you if you fall off the bike. The length of time that you plan to cycle for and the distance that you intend to cover will also have a big impact on the amount and type of equipment you are going to need.

There are a lot of people that take advantage of the mountain biking tour that offers overnight stays. If you are planning to cycle at night you will have to invest in a headlight for the bike as these will allow you to see where you are going and also allow you to be seen by other traffic.

It is a good idea to look around to get an idea of what is available prior to purchasing any mountain bike gear. It is also important to have an idea of what the size of budget that you have available.

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Right Clothing For Mountain Bikers

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 Mountain  biking is a dangerous job and so in order to protect yourself you need to be well dressed. What’s more you need to be well equipped with all sorts of first aid required as well.  Mountain  biking is also a great adventure and it is very exciting at times. While riding a bicycle the riders most often do not use the proper dresses which results in severe accidents. The shirts and the shorts that are chosen by the  mountain  riders for their comfort are very helpful for the riders as it resist them from the various cuts and bruises.

Materials used for safety

The materials by which the garments of the  mountain  bikers are made are also helpful for them and the manufacturers while preparing for their garments keep in mind the safety of the riders. The riders who adept in this act often choose the short pants and the half sleeved shirts. But, the beginners often go for the full sleeved shirts and the track suits.

It is also important that the  mountain  bikers should use the helmets. This is so because in case they meet with an accident the helmet can protect them from being hurt. The use of gloves can also turn into handy as the use of the flexible gloves helps to maintain a solid grip. While buying riding clothes certain things are to be kept in mind. For example, the clothes that you wear while riding should be comfortable. It should also protect you from being hurt by accidents and the fabrics should be chosen in such a way that it respires.

There are many types of clothing for  mountain  bikers that can be worn while riding so that it can protect you from getting hurt.

Cycling Jerseys and Shorts

Cycling jerseys and shorts are of great importance to the  mountain  riders as it not only comforts them but also provides them with safety. The  mountain  bikers sweat a lot due to the hard labor they do. So, while riding, special care should be taken so that the garments are made up of such materials that it dries very soon and it becomes comfortable for the riders. The material used for the manufacture of the garments is often fleece.

Cycling gloves

The gloves provide a helpful grip while riding the bicycle and moreover it also helps in protecting the hands in case the biker falls. The gloves are also helpful in the bad weather conditions as it helps to protect the hands from getting wet which might lead to any accident. So, the gloves should not be ignored by the riders.

Helmets

Helmets are always helpful for the bikers as it shields them from getting hurt in case they fall down. There are many types of helmets found in the market which can be used by the riders but choosing the right type will always prove helpful for them. If helmet is not worn by the riders then there might be the risk where the rider might have to lose his life. So, choosing the right clothing is very important for  mountain  bikers to go for a successful riding.

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Adventures in Peru – Mountain Biking to 14,000 Feet

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Everyday when I look out my window or go out of my house, I see a large mountain across the canyon. I had hiked up one trail a couple of times and found some Inca ruins at about 11,500 feet and also realized that the trail continued around to a new road that went up to the top of the mountain from the other side, and then on to some other villages. Later I rode my bike up the road, it took about 2 ½ hours to the junction with the foot trail but I didn’t have time to continue up any farther. The following week I hiked up a different trail and reached the top of the mountain, it is actually the rim of the canyon and beyond that there is a rolling high plain. I went to the nearest high point, which was 14,200 feet. This is 5,400 feet above my house.

From there I had a great view of the Canyon, the village of Cotahuasi and the snowcapped peak of Mt. Solimana across the canyon on the other rim. I also saw the road coming up from the backside and knew that one of my next outings would have to be to ride up the road, my first “14er” on a bike! When I say road, don’t think of anything like a nice paved mountain road in the U.S., we’re talking narrow gravel road like the fire roads going up the mountains in Southern California. It was summer but also the rainy season and usually the rain clouds come from that direction in the afternoon. I decided to give it a try on a Wednesday, about a week later, but when I woke up at 6:30 it was very cloudy and looked like it would start raining early. However by 8:00 it started to clear up so I decided to go for it.

It was 9:05 before I finally left my house and it had turned into a beautiful but cool morning. I knew it would be cold on top so I put my tights on over my bike shorts. The first 20 minutes is a technical single track that goes down into the canyon, crosses a bouncy suspension bridge and then climbs back up to the road. This is the walking shortcut. Following the road from my house takes about 40 minutes. From there it is about 10 minutes on the road down into another canyon and then the climb starts. However before I got to the second bridge, I had a flat tire. There are cacti of many different kinds everywhere here and they all have nasty thorns. Anyway, I only had two freshly patched tubes with me so was hoping I would be OK on the road. I found one thorn and removed that, fortunately I took extra time checking the tire and found two more thorns before putting in the new tube. I have had up to five holes in one tube when I went to patch it!

For the next 1 ½ hours I was roasting but didn’t stop to take off my tights because I kept thinking it would be getting cooler any time now. About 2 ½ hours from the start, I went through the small village of Cocchapampa at about 10,500 feet, where I had attracted much attention from some kids the first time I rode up. I think I must have been the first biker they had ever seen riding through there. This time a group of little girls took one look at me and ran off screaming like they had seen a monster! Just past the village the new road forks off, and after about 10 minutes of flat riding around a hill it starts climbing again. Looking ahead there was nothing but long switchbacks heading up the side of the mountain.

For some reason I wasn’t feeling very strong or motivated this day and at this point wasn’t sure if I would make it to the top. I stopped for lunch at 10,750 feet and decided to set a goal of 13,000 feet and see what time it was then and what the weather looked like. At the beginning I had set a 3:00 pm turn around time because it usually starts raining shortly after that. One of the problems with having an altimeter watch while climbing is that I keep watching it to see how fast I am climbing. It is like watching a pot waiting for it to boil, very slow! It seemed to take forever to get from 11,000 to 13,000 feet but I finally made it with numerous rest stops on the way. At this point I could see where the road went over the rim of the canyon and it was too close to turn back so I kept going. I got to the rim before 3:00 pm but my joy turned to groans when I realized that I was only at about 13,800 feet.

The road was still climbing gradually so I kept going, aiming for a high spot a ways up the road. The good news was that it wasn’t a very steep road at this point so was easy riding, the bad news was that is wasn’t a very steep road at this point so I wasn’t gaining much elevation! I reached the high point at exactly 3:00, five hours and 55 minutes from the start but it was still only 13,950 feet. I was now only about 50 horizontal feet from the rim of the canyon facing Cotahuasi (I had come up the back side) so walked over to enjoy the view and see if it was possible to hike up to that point (looked challenging) and also hoping that my watch would “catch up” and register over 14,000 feet, but it didn’t. At this point the road dipped down again and the next high spot was probably a couple of miles away. ‘

The weather was cloudy and cool but rain didn’t look imminent so I continued. At 3:08 I went over 14,000 feet but decided to continue on to the high point. A couple of minutes later I was at a narrow flat topped ridge and could look down at the road I had just come up as well as over a few miles to where I had hiked up to the week before. The elevation here was 14,140 feet and the road marker showed that I was 14 Km from Cocchapampa. I had climbed about 6,000 vertical feet in about 15 miles and was already wondering what my next goal should be (besides doing it faster). The road continues on the high plateau for about five hours by car to Oyolo, or going the other direction it goes near the base of Mt. Solimana at about 15,500 feet.

By now I was getting cold, had my fleece pants and jacket on, added a windbreaker, and a hat under my helmet and started down, wishing that I had brought my full finger gloves as well. You would think I would remember, I had done the “cold-numb-white-knuckle” braking thing before, coming down similar loose gravel switchbacks from the other rim. Fortunately it wasn’t as cold this day and I was soon down to lower and warmer elevations. Two hours and 40 minutes from the top, I was back at my house with no problems (other than scaring the little girls again) but did walk more going down the single track due to being very tired, there is a very unforgiving drop of 150 to 200 feet on one side, down to the river. Actually I walked more of the uphill on the single track too. After nine hours it was good to be home to warm food, cold orange drink and a hot shower, pleasantly exhausted. The next day I hiked about 22 miles to a village downriver (but up in elevation), returning the following day, but that is another story.

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