CO Trip 2016

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by evdog, Oct 14, 2016.

Want to donate to imtbtrails?

  1. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    When the calendar flips to September it is time for me to start thinking of the high country. To be honest, I obsess over it all year - along with many other places, but summer is when I start seriously planning trips. I had a few rides in mind for this year but all got cancelled or put on hold due to work, weather, or both. A window finally came open a couple weeks ago and I pulled the trigger, even at that had to delay to work the weekend but with the agreement I'd return Wednesday rather than Monday. I was fortunate to get one last minute taker otherwise it would have a been a solo trip.

    Day 1 - Calico Trail to Stoner Mesa

    Good morning from the Navajo Nation!


    With a later than desired departure on Sunday we only made it to Flagstaff that night and did not get to CO til Monday afternoon. This left options a bit bare for a Monday ride given the places I wanted to hit. We opted to try out Calico to Stoner which I thought we'd have time for.


    The drive up is always pretty.


    New self shuttle toy. Great to have, but the shuttle was more time consuming than expected.


    We did not start pedalling til 330ish. Compounding problems, the first 4 miles of Calico were closed due to wet conditions, so we had to take Winter Trail to West Fork to get to Calico beyond the closure.


    I was thinking of taking that route anyways since there seemed to be significant snow up high, and the alternate route would avoid most of it. Winter Trail had some mud holes but was mostly ok.

    Nice waterfall on Winter Trail


    We diverted off Winter Trail onto Eagle Creek Road which saved us some unnecessary elevation loss and re-gain, then we got our climb on on West Fork Trail


    After a tough mile or so we hit snow line


    Half mile later we intersected Calico. Soon as we crested the top where there was southerly exposure and we were out of the snow for good


    I thought it was a quick pedal over to our turnoff to Eagle Peak Trail but there was a tough boulder field climb I had forgotten about


    This of course involved some tough HAB to the final ridge where we would turn onto Eagle Peak Tr


    There was a bit of riding but not much


    It was getting chilly as we were exposed, and last rays of light were fading


    Climbing was becoming futile


    Yes, we're going up there


    Nothing but HAB for now


    Being out of shape and not acclimated allowed me to get a lot of shots


    Finally the turnoff


    From there is was a 5,000ft "descent" back to the truck. But over 18 miles, which meant a lot of pedalling. Eagle Peak was fun. It had some tough climbs and some steep rooty/rocky descents. Most of the trail was great considering recent rain/snow, except for one section that was a nasty slippery muddy chute. Stoner mesa was easier though it felt like a slight climb most of the way. The last couple miles of Stoner drop off steeply down and were great fun. Prior to that there is a couple miles that were flat with massive mud holes and torn up by cattle. Riding Stoner in the dark wasn't ideal since it is known for nice aspen stands, but we saw enough of them in daytime and there didn't seem to be great views from this trail. I definitely like the regular Calico ending better, and would probably take that route 8/10 times. Good first ride and a bit more than my poor math had estimated, at 29mi. Ironic our latest start was our longest ride. We finished around midnight, tired but happy.
  2. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    Day 2 - Silverton and Ice Lake

    A late finish did not make for an early start. The closest ride on my list in Telluride wasn't safe as it runs down a shaded rocky canyon that would be treacherous at best. Instead, we took an easier day and drove around from Telluride to Silverton checking out some sights along the way.

    Private, no looking!...


    Pretty much what every stop was like... old farts getting in each others way trying to take photos of aspens and lakes


    The holy grail of still water for mountain reflections was out of grasp


    Rolling into Silverton in time for lunch, or a train ride


    Great views to the south


    Silverton was hopping, cool little town


    We opted to check out Ice Lake for a, hike. Good length for an afternoon ride and late start would mean fewer hikers. It was surprisingly more pedallable than expected.


    Gil had to try this corner on the way up.


    Waterfall partway up. Time to clean the bike!


    Clouds starting to take over our bluebird skies


    Gettin darker


    Cool lighting. Thankfully no lightning


    One of 4 more waterfalls flowing into the lower basin


    We were told things would get interesting after this crossing


    We ended up ditching the bikes half way up this slope. The next 1/4mi or so was pretty rough before it would be come rideable again the remaining short distance to the lake.


    Rain heading straight for us


    We reached the lake at the same time as the rain. You can see Gil crouching behind a boulder far right to seek shelter and enjoy a celebratory beverage. Gorgeous lake!


    Lake outflow



    It was probably a good thing the weather turned on us, as it kept us from hanging around too long and finishing in the dark again. So we headed down, Gil riding his imaginary 1200mm bars


    The views were just ok


    Minutes til sunset, we are off!


    Trail was a good ride down with some fun techy bits. We had the trail all to ourselves. I don't think I'd try this on a sunny weekend morning, way too many hikers to be fun.


    This ended up being a pretty good day even with the short ride and rain, exploring a part of CO I had not popped over from Durango to check out before. The short ride/hike still kicked my ass.
    Walleye, Old&InTheWay, Luis and 28 others like this.
  3. mike

    mike iMTB Hooligan

    Western US
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    HT, FS
    Yet another strike of pure gold, EvD. Congrats plundering the booty and showing how it's done.

    Colorado has grown on me. Nothing beats riding (and pushing) high and long. TFPU! :thumbsup:
    Mikie and Albacore like this.
  4. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Laguna Beach
    Current Bike:
    2020 Revel Rail
    Friggin' beautiful!!!! :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
  5. Voodoo Tom

    Voodoo Tom MTB Addict

    Tom Kokkinakis
    Current Bike:
    Mango one, black one, Ti one
    What a road trip, thanks for posting. Those photos are truly amazing.
    Mikie likes this.
  6. Albacore

    Albacore Member

    Sun City, CA
    Current Bike:
    Transition Bandit 29
    Two guys, Colorado wilderness, "plundering the booty," "pushing high an long." Hmmmmm. o_O


    Your mom was right, I make fun because I'm jealous. Great trip with great pics.
    SnakeCharmer and MCB2K like this.
  7. mike

    mike iMTB Hooligan

    Western US
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    HT, FS
    Hmm, indeed. You've thought a little bit too much about this.

    Putting more energy into riding out of state and less into inane 7th grade commentary is my suggestion.
    hill^billy, Faust29, mtnbikej and 3 others like this.
  8. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    Day 3 – CT and CDT Loop

    Normally I like to camp close as possible to the next days ride, otherwise it is inevitable to start way later than is ideal. We camped at the bottom of Maggie Gulch Rd which was our planned route up for the today’s ride. But after waking up to ice and condensation covering sleeping bags, pillows, bivy and everything else we opted to seek out sunshine to dry out. Turned we had to backtrack to Silverton, everything closer would be in shadows for a while.

    This put us a bit behind schedule. But the road was a good one to drive up (though steep) and saved us a 2,000ft road climb above 10k on the more common access route up County Rd #3 and CR#4. I didn’t need any bonus climbing considering how bad I was getting my butt kicked by elevation, and I was even more happy to avoid the inevitable frigid 2,000ft nighttime fire road descent given our late start.

    Stopping to check out a rocky outcrop in the road – turned out to be no problem but looked gnarly from below


    Outstanding views everywhere


    Primo parking at road’s end – Toyotas only


    We had 3 trails to choose from to climb up to the CT depending which map or app you were looking at


    We went up Maggie Gulch Trail straight up from the truck, the most direct route


    It was mostly HAB up to the CT/CDT, then a bit more before we finally got to pedal


    I was still suffering on the climbs, so had no problem taking lots of breaks to check out the views


    Gil was not only in much better shape but he was fully acclimated having just been in Peru at 10-15k elevation for a week. Needless to say he spent a lot of time waiting for me to catch up, trying not to look bored.


    Cairns weren’t really needed for navigation but were useful spotting the trail's route up and down distant ridgelines



    Views like this were intimidating as you could see the next HAB from a long ways off. Had it not been for elevation they wouldn't have been so bad as none were more than 500ft gain. But oh boy, did the elevation put a hurt on me.


    First tracks in the snow!


    A lot of work went into these cairns. Can you spot the rider?


    Zooooomed in!


    There were marmots everywhere


    I love these signs, simple yet cool looking with a bit of weathering


    Looking down into Cuba Gulch


    Unreal terrain


    Descents were fun but never lasted long enough


    Cataract “pond”


    Cataract Lake. I had seen pics of it, and it was very cool to be there in person. It is certainly way the F out there, not an easy place to get to! Great place for a final snack break.


    Starting off down the top of Pole Creek Trail


    Pole was interesting. Fast up top, but being a moto trail, it would throw you a deep moto rut or a nasty rock garden with no warning. It definitely kept us on our toes. Things were about to get steep here


    There was some fun side hill and creek crossings too. Not a fast descent by any means and it left us only an hour til sunset with a 4 mile / 1600 ft climb to get back to the Maggie/CT intersection.


    Looking up West Pole Creek drainage. Yes, there is a trail crossing the valley straight in front of me and then climbing up to the saddle in the middle of the pic. I gave Gil the keys so he wouldn't have to wait anymore and I prodded my way up the valley. The last hour was in the dark. We started getting snowflakes as I hit the CT. Time to move!


    Finishing around 8, it was 9 by the time we got back into Silverton. Considering how dead the town now looked we were happy to find a couple places still open for dinner. Then we scored a nice campsite just west of town. Great day despite the late start. This was the ride I had been obsessing over all summer and also the one most in doubt due to weather, so I was stoked we were able to pull it off. There is a lot more riding to do up there so I will definitely be back for more at some point. Hopefully bikepacking the entire CT if the planets align next year!
    Luis, SnakeCharmer, HBkites and 17 others like this.
  9. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    Day 4 - Doctors Park, Crested Butte

    The forecast changed again to show wind and lightning around Silverton and most areas on Thursday/Friday, but clear in Crusted Butt, so that's where we headed. This made Day 4 somewhat of a travel day which didn't allow for a long ride. On my first trip to CB a miscalculation and some poor planning left me in the riding in the dark on Doctor's park without good lights so I was looking forward to riding it in daylight. We did another moto shuttle. Including retrieval it didn't save us much time, but it sure kept my legs happy. The climb up to the start of the singletrack was more than enough punishment...

    More trail to check out...


    Starting the descent


    Riding when you can see properly certainly made the trail a lot faster and more fun


    Lots of aspen along the trail for color


    Cell phone not so good for zooming in, but still makes for kind of a cool shot


    Last mile of smiles = happy ending



    Til I found this at the bottom, somehow my pack split open all the way around parallel to the zipper on the main compartment :shock: Didn't lose anything fortunately. This was puzzling as there was not a lot in it for this ride, just a shell layer and spare gloves, and the usual tools/spares.

  10. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    Day 5 - Sidewinder, Montrose

    The only constant in the forecast all week had been rain on Friday, pretty much everywhere. By Thursday, everything from Montrose to Salida looked clear again while everything else showed rain and/or lightning. We decided to try for Monarch Crest, which looked to be an easy moto shuttle as we could drop bikes at the pass on the way through. Driving up to the pass though, it got cloudy then windy then rainy and socked in, temps in the 30s. Not what we wanted to spend hours riding through on exposed ridgeline. We waited up there a half hour but it got worse instead of better, so we opted to drive back west and check out Montrose instead.

    Our luck was better in Montrose but not that much better. All the high country south and west of town was under black clouds with rain storms visible along much of the range. It was still clear in town and to the north, which made the decision for us to check out Sidewinder rather than the Whole Uncalada. It was afternoon by now so we opted for an out and back rather than committing to the whole thing point to point. That way we could keep an eye on the weather and head back if the storm moved over this way.

    Things didn't look great at first with a steep fire road climb but we soon found a singletrack shortcut bypassing some road up to Sidewinder. The trail got good right away


    In terms of riding style it reminded me of Sedona or GJ with not a ton of elevation gain but lots of short punchy technical climbs and some slickrock


    The trail had a few curveballs for us but everything was rideable once you hit the right lines


    The accuweather forecast I was following kept saying rain in 45 minutes, then 30 minutes, etc., but nothing we could see looked close. There seemed to be plenty of bailout points down to the main road at the bottom so we kept going.


    Step up!


    Gil riding up the last of a fun waterfall section


    The guy at the shop I talked to said don't expect much flow. I thought the flow was fine.


    We got to a spot where the trail looked like it would drop down more and was going to get less rocky. We had our lunch and then turned around here, after roughly 6 miles. (Full trail is 18)


    The trail rides great in both directions and was a completely different ride going the other way. I only recall one drop in we had to climb on the way out, which was far too steep to ride.


    Not even seeing the singletrack shortcut we came in on, we rode Sidewinder to its end and then picked up Eagle Valley Trail back to the truck. Eagle was an awesome end to the ride, getting into real narrow canyon at the end. A highlight of the ride for sure.

    Fast forward to 2:00 for the best part if easily bored

    I will be back to ride more of Sidewinder and this trail system. It is a good one that is just starting to become known.
    Luis, SnakeCharmer, HBkites and 13 others like this.
  11. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    North East Canada? , California
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Ibis DV9, Santa Cruz Hightower
    You have quite the eye with that camera. Mine are pics, your are a work of art! Awesome!
    HBkites likes this.
  12. hill^billy

    hill^billy iMTB Rockstah

    WOW! Thank you!
    Mikie likes this.
  13. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    Thanks @Mikie I take tons of pics but only post the good ones! I fixed the posting of the vid. It is worth a watch....
    Mikie and hill^billy like this.
  14. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Laguna Beach
    Current Bike:
    2020 Revel Rail
    That canyon got a little claustrophobic! Love your unintended narration too.
    Mikie likes this.
  15. Faust29

    Faust29 Moderator

    B. Bunny
    Current Bike:
    2 SC and a STDM
    I'd have to trim my bars to fit through there! Very cool... Thanks for sharing.
    Mikie likes this.
  16. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    Day 6 - Scarp Ridge and 401 Trail

    Scarp ridge is the other trail I was obsessing over all year, and considering the elevation it was also one I was concerned with in terms of weather. It turned out they got little rain in CB the day before, so we were on!

    It is definitely fall in CO


    We set up the ride as a loop from town and had a 3-4 mile ride on the upper/lower loop. Or was it the upper lower upper loop?


    And then a jeep road climb of 3k feet in 7 miles. First half was rideable, second half got steep, loose and rocky. HAB!


    Gil was way ahead of me to the top again and claimed Victory


    We spotted a couple riders above us on the smaller ridge. They took off down the far side of the pass on a sketchy old jeep road


    We had our own sketchy route to follow, heading up


    I had forgotten Gil doesn’t like heights. Oops!


    The views were just average


    Ready to roll


    Safety tip: don’t fall to rider’s right


    There was a bit of nice cruising to be had



    There definitely was a feeling of being on top of the world


    *clenches teeth and rides through*


    Despite the drop off Gil enjoyed the views


    Looking back


    Moving ahead



    Its possible to out and back a mile further from the saddle just ahead, to the Wilderness boundary. We wanted to get in another short ride though, so we made the turn here and dropped off the ridge.


    The descent was good at first but the trail oddly deteriorated as we got lower and changed constantly from faint to overgrown to eroded to swamp to streambed to good trail. Eventually we popped out at the distant lake where we picked up a road back toward town.


    We turned onto the Kebler wagon trail next to the road and then took another connector that went right though a trailside wedding ceremony and then right back to the truck. Done!


    Ride 2 – 401 Trail

    401 is considered the must do ride in CB. My first time I thought it was overrated, mainly because it is a short ride for the amount of effort required. I wanted Gil to be able to ride it, and I also wanted to ride it again myself to see if my opinion would change.

    A sunset ride on 401 seemed like a cool idea, except that nearby peaks would put much of the trail and the valley in shade rather than the awesome golden hour I had imagined


    As for impressions, the climb up was a lot steeper than I remembered. I did clean it all, but had to stop every 100ft gasping for breath. Gil takes off for the descent


    Nice view. The trail was definitely fun and the descent seemed longer than I remember, which is a good thing. Maybe it was actually Trail 403 I was bitter about being too short for the effort. Maybe shuttling in the answer? (this was moto shuttle #3 for the trip)


    Dam beavers!


    Another good day in the books. I was stoked to get both of these in. With the ride I wanted to do tomorrow there would not have been time for 401. I did like the trail better this time for sure. I want to do my next CO trip mid summer when the wild flowers are going off. I think that would put these rides over the top.
    Walleye, Luis, SnakeCharmer and 11 others like this.
  17. hill^billy

    hill^billy iMTB Rockstah

    Absolutely, utterly, awesome frigging trip! And there's more? You my friend are living the good life!
    Mikie and Faust29 like this.
  18. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Laguna Beach
    Current Bike:
    2020 Revel Rail
    Wow.... I mean, like gasping out loud at the beauty of these photos. My wife had to ask me what I was looking at! :eek:

    So beautiful and you have a great eye for photography. I think I speak for everyone here when I say - we are TOTALLY not jealous. :inlove:
    Mikie and Cougar like this.
  19. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Hooligan

    Current Bike:
    Chameleon 60%
    This is so great, thanks for taking the time to document and share the trip!
    Mikie likes this.
  20. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    Day 7 - Teocalli

    For Day 7 I wanted to hit up both Teocalli and Deer Creek, two trails that were both closed on my previous visit. The figure 8 loop would be a long one.

    We parked near the last housing development on Brush Creek Road and hit the road for a few miles.


    Signs said five miles to Teocalli from the trailhead but it seems they turned a bit of road into singletrack, because it was much closer to 4.


    Gil up ahead. Angry cow making lots of noise


    Looking back down the valley we climbed up


    A couple we ran into from Denver, on the climb up


    Teocalli trail started with another tough climb up to the ridgeline, around 1000ft in maybe 1.5mi. Views up top were acceptable



    Trail was acceptable as well


    More views


    The descent was awesome. Required several stops to rest the hands


    View looking down


    Climbing back up to ride Deer and then loop around would have added around 3,000ft and 20mi, and my legs weren't up to it. So we rode a couple trails on Strand Hill instead


    They were fun, and got us back to the truck in time for dinner and showers and getting on the road at a reasonable time


    Good day. Had we planned on just Teocalli we could have parked a few miles closer and cut out some road riding, but it was flat-ish and scenic, so it worked out well. I will definitely do Teocalli again. Deer Creek will have to wait til next time.
    Walleye, Luis, SnakeCharmer and 8 others like this.
  21. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    Day 8 – Moab Navajo Rocks

    We had one more ride to do before starting the drive home. I wanted to check out the Whole Encalada near Montrose so we headed back that way. Plans took a turn when we hit a deer on the highway just after dark. Not a ton of damage and no sign of the deer, but the bumper was bent back so it was contacting the tire. After a couple sessions of bending and then some cutting of plastic we got the wheel turning fine. But it was still touching metal on big bumps or g-outs so we bailed on Whole Encalada shuttle and headed toward Moab where we could stick to pavement.

    The whole drive there was crazy lightning in the distance to the west and north. We camped at a yellow post site near Bartletts wash and the lightning went off in the distance on three sides of us all night long. Interestingly it was clear skies above us. I didn’t sleep well, keeping an eye on the storm. By morning dark clouds had moved close by and just as I was starting to get up around 645 I felt a few rain drops. In the minute or so it took me to roll up my bivy and toss it in the back seat it turned into a downpour. Gil was only a minute behind me and got wet. We headed into town for breakfast and by the time we were done the sun was out again.

    We need a bunch of these signs for the local trails


    Counterclockwise seemed optimal so we headed north-west out of the trailhead


    Typical Moab views


    Some nice flowy sections mixed in with some steep climbs and slickrock



    Lots of side options to play on


    Big slickrock slab


    We traversed below the entire length of this cliff band



    Lots of cool rock formations


    More playtime


    More rocks


    We came across this tiny guy on the trail and shooed him off


    The trail had a bit more descending on the second half but it didn’t seem like it


    Fun little descent


    Interesting use of materials. I have a couple trail segments in mind to try this on….


    A few steeeep climbs on the second half


    Nice views!


    Living life on the edge!


    I really liked the trail, it will go into the rotation for future trips for sure. Tons of variety and great views. There are some other trails you can link into that I will explore next time. By mid afternoon we were done and ready to start the drive home.
    Walleye, Luis, SnakeCharmer and 8 others like this.
  22. Voodoo Tom

    Voodoo Tom MTB Addict

    Tom Kokkinakis
    Current Bike:
    Mango one, black one, Ti one
    This report is just phenomenal, like a gift that just keeps on giving. Bummer on the deer run in and missing the whole enchilada but it looks like you had a great day regardless. This sure has me jonesing for a good road trip. Thanks @evdog for taking the time to share it all with us...:thumbsup:
    Mikie, herzalot and Cyclotourist like this.
  23. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Hooligan

    Current Bike:
    Chameleon 60%
    Makes me want to hop in the tuck right now!!!
    Mikie likes this.
  24. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    Thanks! It is Whole Encalada, not Enchilada! This was not meant to be a Moab trip but no complaints on how it turned out. Do a trip, even if its just a 2 day weekend!
    Voodoo Tom and Mikie like this.
  25. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    Day 9 - Thunder Mountain

    After Moab we headed down to Red Canyon and found a campsite off the Fremont ATV trail. Despite being probably our lowest elevation campsite on the trip this was the coldest night by far. Gil got a small campfire going which made it bearable to sit out for a little while.

    Pronghorns everywhere around camp as we woke up


    We got going at a reasonable time the next morning and pedalled the short climb up to the trailhead. By that time it had warmed up and layers came off


    A bunch of repetitive gully traverses brings us to one of my favorite views on the trail



    The last 5-6 times I've ridden Thunder Mtn its been solo so it was nice having someone to get action pics of. No need for words....









    Dropping into the wash


    Final run to the trailhead was fun as always. Then the pedal back... the pavement always seems longer than I remember and the dirt road shorter.

    Gil had to point out to me the crooked lines on the bike path. I never would have noticed myself, but once you notice it, you can't not see it.


    There were still pronghorns everywhere as we got back to camp.


    Another good ride and great trip in the books. The drive back to SD was uneventful and we were back into SoCal before dark, and home at a reasonable hour.

    It took a couple weeks after we got back to get the truck into the shop. Damage estimate for insurance is $3500. Yikes!

    Hopefully I can get my hands on some more go-pro footage.
  26. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    North East Canada? , California
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Ibis DV9, Santa Cruz Hightower
    Holy Smokes, no one should have that much fun. Thanks for recording it Evan! Absolutely awesome!
    Cougar, herzalot and Cyclotourist like this.
  27. Cisco Roots

    Cisco Roots Well-Known Member

    Maple Valley WA
    Current Bike:
    YT Jeffsy 29
    Some of these shots are straight up POST CARD Level!! Very Nice. Looks like a trip of a lifetime!
    Mikie and evdog like this.
  28. doublewide

    doublewide iMTB Rockstah

    Current Bike:
    Ride Life Ride Giant
    Slot Machine! @evdog Please take me next time! :inlove:
    herzalot and Mikie like this.
  29. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Laguna Beach
    Current Bike:
    2020 Revel Rail
    Thanks for dragging this back to the surface. :thumbsup: Unbelievable photos. :geek: I've been to almost all of those places and I miss it so much! :inlove:
    Mikie and doublewide like this.
  30. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    North East Canada? , California
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Ibis DV9, Santa Cruz Hightower
    Picture Slot Machine... (PSM)
    It's ride reports like these that make me feel like life is passing me by... Simply. WOW!

    herzalot and mike like this.

Want to donate to imtbtrails?