August 20, 2022 § Leave a comment
This is going to be a very short post. I promise.
If you follow my writings then you know that I just finished writing up my adventure from 2021 a few weeks ago. These long multi-day trips become a chore to sit down and compose sometimes, and I don’t want it to seem like I drone on and on about the same old drivel. So I got distracted and didn’t finish documenting last years trip, and then time kept marching forward, as it always does (tick tock), and before I knew it, other adventures had come and gone, and been written up as well. It wasn’t until I rode the Rockies again in June, that I came to realize I needed to finish the 2021 write-up before I began 2022!
So, what is going on in 2022? Well, let’s begin with who is going. There were four people who wanted to go last year, two of whom actually had monies invested in the trip when shit happened. The other two, father and son, had family obligations that kept them away, and so on the second day of our trip last year, amidst the beauty of the San Juans, I decided then and there to come back this year. I wasn’t going to do the exact same trip, but I would plan a new trip and anyone who wanted to join was welcome.
For a while, I had the interest of a couple of campers who came last year, but other things got in the way, and they backed out. So, it is five of us. A pretty nice compact little group. We have Larry and his son Drew, myself and my daughter Alyson, and my friend Mike. Everyone has spent time with me in the back country before, though this is the first time that my daughter has been able to join us again since the Grand Canyon in 2012.
That is the base. I have been in contact with some others that could join us, but as of this writing, I am not sure we will have anyone else just yet. You might be thinking “If they were going to join you why wouldn’t you know that, and since you are in Durango, wouldn’t they have had to make arrangements already?” and you would be right for most people, but the extras I refer to all live in Durango. We shall see what we shall see.
What are we doing? Last year we took the Durango Silverton Diesel to Elk Creek and then backpacked an inverted “C” from West to East to South To West and eventually came out at the “other” stop on the train. So train in, train out. This year we are going to start at Pine River Trail Head, further East and South of our adventure last year, and hike North East for a couple of day, then turning North West to intersect the Continental Divide Trail, which we follow to the Vallecito. If you read last years trip details, then the Vallecito will be familiar, and we will basically then follow the route from last year. The only difference from last year will be instead of a two day Columbine effort, we will do it in one day.
Now, again, if you read last years account, it should be obvious by now that decisions are made on the trail, and last year we made more than a few. I am sure the same will happen here as well. It all depends on how people feel, however we have distance that has to be covered, so there isn’t a lot of room to do less in a day while there is a lot of room to do more. So let’s leave it at that.
We depart into the wilderness next Friday. I am going out tomorrow, and people are joining starting Sunday. There are things to do still to prep, and I will be working still as well. I am not sure at this point if I will post anything more until I return, but …
July 30, 2022 § 2 Comments
When Terry Downs sent me the registration link, this seemed like a great idea. I was going to sign up for Ride the Rockies again, and having this activity in May would force me to get out there and train, because this beast is a monster. In case you aren’t aware, Mount Mitchell is the highest point East of the Mississippi. The term highest has to be understood. The Appalachian Trail does NOT traverse Mount Mitchell and so Clingman’s Dome (soon to be renamed thus ridding us of another Confederate traitor) is the highest point on the AT. Mount Mitchell Highlands NJ is the highest coastal point South of Maine (Cadillac Mtn though is on an island). Mount Mitchell in NC is the highest thing around for man miles. This ride begins all the way South in Spartanburg South Carolina and generally winds it’s way North and West until it ascends to the Blue Ridge, and then its South to the final climb to the summit. One hundred two miles and more than 10K feet of elevation gain.« Read the rest of this entry »
July 30, 2022 § Leave a comment
Let’s see if this can be a short write-up. Ha!
We awoke with maybe a half a mile to walk to get to the train. The ETA for said train was somewhere around 10:30 in the am, so with all that in consideration, we didn’t feel any sense of urgency, and that showed in just how slow we were moving that morning. There wasn’t really all that much to do. Breaking down camp doesn’t take long. I recall we had enough left over wood that we had a morning fire. Just enough of a blaze to take the chill out of the air when you needed it. Our seats were all right where we left them the night before, so why not simply light it up, turn up the seats, and chill around the fire drinking coffee drinks and eating our last bits of oatmeal?« Read the rest of this entry »
July 29, 2022 § Leave a comment
Once the decision to NOT hike another 14er was made, that made today and easy choice. If you have read any of these posts, for example this, or this, then you know that the conductor on the Durango Silverton Historic Train told us that even though our purchased ticket was a one-way ticket from Needleton to Durango, “IF” we were out there when the train was headed north, we could in fact simply board the train and proceed North to Silverton where the train lays over for two entire hours, and then re-board for the trip back to Durango. So, we had a few options on the table. We could simply remain high in the Chicago Basin, and simply have relaxed all day long, doing nothing, except maybe some local exploring. Door #1. We could pack everything up and hike all the way to the train and get out 1 day early. Door #2. We could pack everything up and hike most of the way out, and find a beautiful site along the Animas River leaving only a half mile to take full advantage of the conductor’s offer. Door #3.« Read the rest of this entry »
July 26, 2022 § Leave a comment
When I started planning out this adventure, I allocated two full days in the Chicago Basin for two days of 14er attempts. Even more ambitious was the thought that in those two days, we would bag 4 peaks over 14K! Ha! So naive!
Before going to bed we all agreed that we would NOT be targeting a 4:30am wake-up, but we did agree that we would arise at first light and make a go of it, conceding before we even started, that if we made the summit of 1 14er, then that was accomplishment enough for the day. We also decided that based on the descriptions of all the climbs that were possible, that Wyndom would be our goal.« Read the rest of this entry »
July 25, 2022 § Leave a comment
And we have reached the last day of a tremendous ride in the Rockies. Of course there is still the ride, and that ride includes first getting up and over Loveland Pass, but once that is completed, then it is generally a simple task of losing elevation all the way to Golden. Getting over Loveland would not be a simple task though we all start the day with at least 340 miles in our legs already, and having lifted ourselves up and over the Continental Divide four times already. This is another front-ended climb day that has nothing but downhill afterwards, and on this day there is no forecast for high headwinds. We might hit some weather, but at least we don’t have to fight the wind to get to Golden.« Read the rest of this entry »
July 23, 2022 § Leave a comment
A glorious day!
I tested negative the night before and today was a beautiful rest day. Yes, there was still a ride, but we were looking at 30 miles with only Swan Mountain to climb instead of a longer day that included and out and back to Ute Pass. It is the fifth day of the ride which means it all comes to end on the morrow, but let’s not fret about that just yet. The plan was a simple one. Follow the leaders into Frisco, and Silverthorne and find a place for some coffee, or even a sit-down place to get a bite for either a late breakfast, or an early lunch. It isn’t possible on a trip like this to take in too many calories. Every day of Ride the Rockies is calorie deficit day!« Read the rest of this entry »
July 13, 2022 § Leave a comment
You might think that after 3 days of Ride The Rockies 2022 the body might have it’s own built in escape mechanism where it simply shuts down and like a little kid with its mind set, just simply refuses to do any more. Well, you would be wrong. We all awoke and the RV camp was astir with anticipation for the coming day. Our route would take us back North on 285 to Buena Vista (Remember Jeremy had his room there in yesterdays post. Smart cookie that Jeremy was) where we continued on 285 North, where we would cross Trout Pass, a minor pass that simply separates the head waters of the Arkansas from the headwaters of the South Platte rivers, to Fairplay Colorado where we would leave 285 on Route 9 and climb over the beast, Hoosier Pass to take us back into the Pacific drainage and Breckenridge. There is a lot of Colorado where I haven’t been, but one place I did want to see was this town. I am not a skier, but the town name just exudes ski when you hear it. Kind of like Aspen and Vail, but better. That was my impression at least.« Read the rest of this entry »
July 10, 2022 § Leave a comment
Independence Pass. By just its name, it doesn’t sound that daunting. 12, 095′ sounds a little daunting though, and if Ken’s Epic Ride forecast was still accurate, then we would be in for another long descent into a crossing headwind, though if we started early enough, we might actually get a little assistance on our ascent. I was told that this was the harder side, but maybe, similar to the first day’s route, getting the climb out of the way first would make it less of a hardship. First we had to cover 2000′ in 23 miles to get to Aspen, where the first Aid Station would be setup, and then over the next 16 miles gain the extra 4000′, or 250′ per mile to reach the second Aid Station. When I train in Harriman, we are always impressed that no matter how far we ride there, it always works out to 100′ per mile, and those roads are sometimes pretty steep, so 250′ per mile did sound an alarm in my head. As Ken noted as a comment in my last post, the route designers probably should have considered an additional station somewhere during the ascent as it would take a long time to cover those 16 miles.« Read the rest of this entry »
July 4, 2022 § 1 Comment
An “Easy” day they said. “Easier” was maybe more like it, but when you have the remnant lactic acid of a 110 mile day still being cleared from your legs, nothing is “Easier”. I think Susan had the right idea at the start. When the course hung a left to climb, she would continue straight along the river, because if there is anything I have learned biking, its this. When the route follows a river, there are no surprises. Back in May when I was Assaulting Mount Mitchell, it wasn’t until the climb left the creek that “Paid!” was stamped to my ticket, but the key word take away here is the difference between a “River” and a “Creek”. A creek empties into a river and drains higher elevations. A river is more established, so the Roaring Fork River, that drains down from Aspen through Basalt is a river, and as such it’s elevation loss, read that as gain when going against the flow of the river, isn’t all that bad, and as I recall, until we turned left to climb that hill, it is like we weren’t climbing at all.
If you read the last post, you know there was talk of a swim at the Springs, but as mentioned, if you wanted to ride the full loop on this day, then the swim should have occurred yesterday, as there wouldn’t be any Rest Area support if we left too late. When Ken showed up, I was ready to ride, but I was going to be more inclusive on this day, and I wasn’t just going to roll out with Ken, but would wait for a gaggle of Team Samaritans to roll out with. That gaggle included Rick, Susan, myself, and maybe 1 other. I though Andy would be here, but he was nowhere to be found. “What about Ken?” Yes, Ken was there as well, but he didn’t count as Team Samaritan gaggle.« Read the rest of this entry »