Fall in the alpine. Mild days, cold nights, stunning scenery, empty trails.
Compelling as these reasons are, what got us out the door for an overnighter near Crested Butte was some combination of Pete and Jeny both having rare weekdays (before the forecasted snowfall) off, and my neck finally feeling good enough to ride all day, sleep in the dirt, then repeat.
Setting the scene:
More than any other single memory of this trip, what I am left with (a week later, as I write this) are the scents and smells: Wet earth, decaying plant matter, rotting leaf mold, wafting wood smoke.
An hour on rolling forest road led us to an hour of steep doubletrack, each minute bringing us measurably closer to being up in the high country, out in the woods, away from everything else.
Short days, long nights, freezing temps need to be planned for. Much insulation was carried, and camp was chosen for it's abundance of dead and down wood as much as the view and levelness.
Camp. Potentially the most silent place I've been this year. No detectable noise from earth or sky, no light pollution in any direction. Quiet conversation amongst ourselves until bedtime. A small band of elk slides through, almost between us, in the wee hours.
Morning, and what we came for.
Cheer up sweetie--it won't always be this bad.
Challenging climbs repeatedly redlined our engines, sinuous singletrack descents were the reward--not that we needed one. The satisfaction of cleaning even small bits of the ups was payback enough.
And, cliched as it sounds, it really did end with this.
Nice to be back amongst the living.
Jeny and Pete both rode fatbikes, but with 29+ wheels and tires installed. I rode my Fatillac with 29+ wheels/tires. The more I ride it (right at 6 months now) the more I value the 29+ platform. So capable, so comfortable, so much stinking fun.
Our loop: Cement Creek up Reno Divide down Flag Creek to Spring Creek up Doctor Gulch to Doctor Park (camp) then around and down Trail Gulch to Spring Creek, back up that to Rosebud, up and over Cement Pass, down Roaring Judy, downupdownupdown Eccher Gulch. Then close the loop with a few easy miles of road.
A great loop to do--perhaps in 2016, since snow ended the Crested Butte riding season yesterday.
All pics shot with a Canon 5d3.
Thanks for checkin' in.