Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Beast That Is The Q

This weekend, I met up with buddies Ward, Randy and Scott, for what was supposed to be sort of a "routine" sojourn in the Quilomene.  As if there was such a thing.

It was designed to be a single overnighter, with the primary intention of shaking down the upcoming season's bikepacking gear and rig setups, but with the only slightly less important secondary intention of stashing a few beers for a planned, upcoming, multi-day trip into the Q.

As I sit here tonight, I am so incredibly happy to be out of that place, and in my wonderful permanent shelter, back in Spokane.  Holy living hell.  We experienced the ecstasy of the Q on Saturday, and the agony of it today, and neither of those words are even a slight exaggeration.

It will take me a few days to sort out pics and thoughts and put together the story, which I am very much looking forward to trying to tell, in a way that does the trip justice.


9 comments:

Ward Whitmire said...

We've obviously had some pretty darn good luck with our trips out there. This time, Mother Nature and the Q decided to teach us a little lesson. I won't be taking that area for granted any time soon...

Shawn Pedersen said...

Wow. Your guys' recounts of Sunday have me very intrigued! I wish I was with you guys on this suffer fest! -Shawn

Meg said...

If you're out there enough, you get schooled sooner or later.
I suspect people have thought we were exaggerating how bad it can be/ how fast it can turn on ya/ how quickly good options run out, why I don't like to ride solo out there (which I do all the time in the mountains), and my reluctance to send newbs out there.

Ward Whitmire said...

Took almost $13 of quarters to wash the mud off my father in law's truck...

Pat S said...

As I continue to process and process, the thing is, there is just no easy way out if things go wrong, which can obviously, and maybe even likely, happen. Once you're into the Q, you're into the Q. It's a luscious hole to dive into, but with no easy escape if something goes sideways. In my three trips in so far, I've experienced snakes, heat, and now rain/cold/mud as some of those sideways factors that were majorly challenging. In every case, I had to dig pretty deep to get through and get myself outta there. Serious love-fear relationship. I did have the one recon trip this Spring that was fairly uneventful. I'm not sure that was the norm. Kinda thinking it was a gift.

Meg said...

You just have to watch the forecast and pick your days, which are stable enough the vast majority of April. March is always a cheat... we've just been lulled into moving up our expectations by a mild winter and spring.

FWIW this was something of an anomaly, as modern forecasting has generally made seeing these weather events more predictable and for whatever reason NOAA et al kind of dropped the ball.
http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2015/03/when-forecast-goes-wrong.html

FWIW when I saw this image on Cliff Mass's blog on Friday I was a big NOPE NOPE NOPE on doing anything out there.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-9V7IrKbUkvg/VQPE8nF118I/AAAAAAAAerU/XFhrxo9IPTk/s1600/pcpwv.09.0000.gif

Ward Whitmire said...

Yes... we made a mistake forecast wise! Took a chance and got schooled...

Pat S said...

I'm not sure what mistake we made. We were watching multiple weather sites all week, like hawks, leading up to our departure. The last time I checked, which was Saturday morning right before I left the house, there was little to no precip in the forecast for Sunday.

According to friends in Spokane, the forecast changed almost instantly, around mid-day Saturday, from predicting essentially no rain on Sunday to predicting 3/4+ inches. By that time, we were on the trail and without cell service.

Ward Whitmire said...

Yeah, we got "trapped". We've ridden in light showers out there before and actually had a pleasant time... obviously there's a "saturation point" where your "over the line". Had we known it was going to rain so long, we could have gotten up at 3AM and bolted... I layed there in my bag thinking "it's gonna stop soon"...