Hurray, I've made it to Hell's Gate at 2000 ft and look back down into Death Valley
I'm full of joy now that my first big goal of the day has been reached.
Still, I don't know why the 2000-foot climb up Beatty Cutoff over 10 miles felt so slow and tiring. The landscape was gorgeous, the road was paved, and it was never steep. Perhaps it's just my sore knee and the weight of the extra water that I'm carrying playing tricks on my mind. Maybe I just need more sleep.
My arrival at Hell's Gate has an unexpected finishing touch. Just as I'm creeping up over the final crest of Beatty Cutoff at the junction of Daylight Pass Road, two tourists taking landscape photos run out into the middle of the empty road to photograph me with Death Valley behind me and wave me on to the finish line!
I have to laugh, pleased that our activities created memorable events for each other. I stop and chat with them, a Dutch couple, also bicyclists. They're on their way down Daylight Pass Road toward Stovepipe Wells, which will be my route in a day or two. They tell me that it rained heavily when they were passing through the Funeral Mountains a little while ago. I hope I don't run into that as today's ride continues.
Date: April 22, 2007, 16h00