Waking up with Al, and learning that it was dang cold outside that motel room door!
We dilly dallied until the sun was pretty high, then started working our way up the canyon.
Locally we call it chamisa. Nomenclature aside, this stuff is hardy!
The first ~90 minutes of our day looked a lot like this. Nice grade, nice temps, nice light.
I *did* mention it was cold, right?
Leaving pavement was a relief, made even better by turning quakies and tacky trail.
This pic has everything--action, intensity, bling, mystery, and...
Three days running the sky looked *exactly* like this. Not a single contrail, much less a cloud.
Artsy fartsy leaf shot, cleverly disguising (flavoring?) the waters of Lundell spring.
Now I'm not naming names here, but someone in this photo has a problem that over the counter meds haven't been able to solve. No report on whether the prescription stuff has worked any better...
The number and attitude of these downed trees (and the ones visible ahead) suggested avalanche, but it was hard to see where the momentum came from. Aliens, perhaps?
Most of the VRRT was easily rideable with great flow through gladed groves and open meadows.
Trailwork happens. Thanks!
Cold overnight temps gave way to purrrrrfect mid-day riding conditions. With the exception of a bit of lingering wind, a guy would be hard pressed to ask for better than what we got.
I'd been toting my packable fly rod from the start, hoping to put it to use in providing a meal for us somewhere along the way. I envisioned stumbling onto a pile of spawning brookies once on Boulder Mountain, but that was several days away and here we were, today, with access to a lake fulla rainbows and no schedule to keep.
TO was game to nap while I played with the fishies. I asked a few lakeside old codgers (you know the kind--sitting in their favorite lawn chair, 6-pack cooler on one side, tackle box on the other, line in the water with bobber bobbing, "I'd rather be fishing" or "Ask me about my grandchildren" or "John Deere" on their ball caps) if they'd had any luck ("Not really") and if so, what the fish were hitting.
To a man the answer was a disgusted and confused (as if the answer were so obvious that even the local Democrats knew) "Powerbait".
We were back on the trail (skunked!) after 15 minutes spent untangling monofilament, courtesy of gusty winds. Didn't even *see* a fish...
But the trail we rode back onto, 'twas veddy veddy nice.
Ascending switchbacks, micro-tech sections, roots, rocks, and even an occasional downed tree to hop. Without a doubt the VRRT was some of the most fun and interesting riding we did.
Some pretty OK views too.
Near the end of the VRRT we dismounted the bikes, walked a ways out into the woods, then set up camp. Tarps strung between trees, bags unstuffed and pads inflated, water heated, meals rehydrated and eaten, teeth brushed, etcetera. Then kindling was gathered, wood collected, and fire struck. After a time, aspen and spruce transformed into glowing embers. Conversation ebbed and flowed, problems solved, new ones discovered, then they too were solved. Ducking the smoke, leaning away from the heat of a newly added log, subconsciously moving closer as the pile burned down.
Living, plain and simple.