Nothing Short Of Epic: Geology Through Bikepacking

Geology Through Bikepacking is a course at Prescott College, led by Salsa sponsored riders Kaitlyn Boyle and Kurt Refsnider. Student Ari Faria shares her experience during this year’s course.

Guest Blogger Ari Faria shares her experience from this fall’s Bikepacking Through Geology course at Prescott College. -Kid

“So, how was bikepacking block course?”

My response to the average person: “Oh you know, it was good. We saw some super cool stuff; it was pretty chill overall.”

What that really means: “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I don’t have any intention of stopping anytime soon!”

Photo courtesy of Liam Kelly…

Looking back on our Geology through Bikepacking course, I was challenged on a lot of levels. Physically, it was one of the most demanding things I’ve ever done, period, not in any way debatable. There were days when my entire body would be screaming at me to stop, and times I simply felt as though I could collapse and sleep for days right where I was. Emotionally it was a roller coaster. One day I’d be thinking to myself, this is the end, I’m going home, and the next I would be thinking to myself there’s nowhere I’d rather be than with this crazy, quirky, and amazing group of people in the middle of nowhere laughing to the point of near tears. Mentally, I was trying to absorb as much information as humanly possible about the amazing landscape around me and make sure I was on top of my homework. To say the least, it was a full-on course. But I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Photo courtesy of Liam Kelly…

I wouldn’t have changed the stunning landscapes and features for any amount of rest. And I wouldn’t have given up the laughs and smiles for any relief of pain. I would do it all over again because looking back on the trip, the connection I felt to the land and the people was so strong. Whether I liked it or not (which I did), my group was my family. Our tiny pod became a place to seek support, companionship, and endless laughs. And at the end of the day, no matter how much pain I was in or how tired I was, if I simply lifted up my chin and looked at was around me I couldn’t help but smile.

Photo courtesy of Liam Kelly…

The landscapes through which we rode were simply stunning and so massive that I couldn’t help but stop and smile in their presence. This combined with learning their story through our geology lessons left me in awe as well as humbled by what they had gone through to become these stunning figures. It also left me with a feeling of connection to the land as I rode through the scenery, trying to see its story told through its folds and cliffs and layers, and how it all came to be. This, in turn, brought an immense amount of intention to my riding and demanded a level of presence that could not be ignored, as it otherwise would have all washed over me, leaving me with an overwhelming sense of connection to the Southwest and growing appreciation for where I live.

These are the reasons for my answer to how my first bikepacking trip was, and why I have no intention of stopping. Because it was a lot of things. But it was nothing short of epic.

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