July 26, Colorado Trail - Kennebec Pass to Durango

Day 4 - Final day.  Don and Val, the early risers, left about 30 minutes before us, and we didn't see them all day.  No rain last night, so we packed up dry tents this morning.  Rode down the rough, Champion Venture Mine Road to the Colorado Trail and turned right.  For the next 3 or 4 miles, the trail conditions were a little rougher as this is a popular part of the trail to shuttle from town.  After 5 miles of descending, we crossed Junction Creek started our 1,500 foot climb of the day, back up to 9,550 feet.  Descended to pass the Dry Fork Trail and Hoffeins Connect trail to Gudy's Rest viewpoint.  After this we had a sweet descent to the Junction Creek Road and end of the Colorado Trail.  20.3 miles on trail today.  We then rolled into town for about 3-4 miles on pavement.  Went to the condo building we stayed at for the 4 nights in Durango, for showers, and hit the road for 3.5 hours to spend the night in Moab with Don and Val.

Descending thru lush vegetaion

Dropping more elevation before the last climb

Colorado Trail - So Sweet.

July 25 - Colorado Trail - Corral Draw to Kennebec Pass

Day 3.  Best day of the Colorado trail.  Incredible views!  19 mile day.
A thru hiker stopped by in the morning as he was out of water.  He couldn't find the seep last night.  He said he found lots of muddy water, though.  We told him to fill up from our jugs, as Alex was going into town to refill all our water.  3 more hikers came by just as he was leaving.  They were very thankful to get all the water they wanted.

Val opted not to ride today, our hardest day.  She chose to ride with the driver down into town for water and another hour or so back up to Day 3 camp.  She and Alex were going to hike up to Kennebec Pass from camp, once camp was set up.  Don left about 30 minutes before us.

Rode rolling singletrack for about 8 miles.  Then we started a hefty climb to Indian Trail ridge.  We were expecting a rocky, exposed trail on the ridge.  We were pleasantly surprised with perfect, pine-needle, narrow singletrack in the trees for about 2.5 miles, before we broke out of the trees and found a rougher ridge trail.

Rolling, perfect singletrack for our first 8 miles

Gorgeous "Ridge" singletrack for 2.5 miles
 on Indian Ridge

Where is the air at 11,500 feet?

Kevin with the next hill in sight

Hike-a-biking at almost 12,000 feet

This would be wilderness in Washington State

Little rocky for me (walking) - but not for the local
 on the hardtail riding behind me 

We caught up with Don at the top of the above rocky descent.  He was able to video Kevin riding down the rocky ridge.  Francine took a hard crash earlier in the day, so we should have met up earlier.  Met up with Val and Alex at the top of Kennebec pass.  They hiked up from camp.  Good thing we had great directions from Val, as we would have missed the obscure turnoff to camp.

We had probably 4 ridges to go up and down, all above 12,000 feet

Don walking with Francine resting

Picking our way thru the rocks - yes there is a trail

Don - coming off our final highpoint for the day at 12,258 feet

Steep and rocky trail from the day's highpoint - 12,258 feet

Still walking down

Yeah - on my bike, descending near Taylor Lake

Descended off the ridge in the left background

Climbing toward Kennebec Pass - 11,680 feet

Descent off Kennebec Pass

Abandoned Muldoon Mine near Kennebec Pass

Final night camp 10,600 feet

View from our tent

No rain or thunder or lightning tonite.  I'll take two days of the rain, to have one dry night.  Deer came by the tent in the evening.  We thought it was a bear sniffing outside.

July 24, Colorado Trail - Cascade Divide Rd. to Corral Draw

Day 2.  Packed up the sleeping bags, clothes and tent.  We thought we were riding 15 miles today.  We ended up riding 19.9 miles.  After it rained all night, we woke up to a clear morning.  Climbed a mile up the road we descended to last nights camp, and turned left on the Colorado Trail.  Don and Val left about 1 hour before us, as they are early risers.  We rode on some of the most gorgeous singletrack, with awesome views everywhere.  We saw hardly anyone on the trails.

Francine climbing the open meadow.

Francine reaching a saddle

Kevin - the views everywhere are gorgeous

Did we mention the narrow, beautiful singletrack?

Gorgeous meadow, probably at 11,000 feet.

And more climbing

Climb up to the pass (11,700) in the background and descend.

Descend into this valley, and climb up to another ridge, Blackhawk Pass (12,240 ft) in the middle background.

Wildflowers are only mediocore for us

Only a few more miles to camp.
We hit the 16 mile mark on the trail, and still didn't see camp.  Climbed a hill and descended to camp at the 19.9 mile mark.  They need to update our directions.  Rode about 1-2 miles pass Corral Draw.  What a relief to finally see the van and camp at 10,783 feet.  We set up our tents, took sun showers, started cooking dinner, and then the thunderstrom and lightning hit.  The rain/lightning was not as hard as last night, and eventually subsided.  Had a nice, relaxing night at camp, and hit the sack early again.

July 23, Colorado Trail Day 1 - Molas Pass to Cascade Divide Rd.

Val Hecker on the Colorado Trail

The first day of our four day Colorado Trail journey.  Supported by Hermosa Tour's driver, Alex, we would be riding from Molas Pass to Durango.  Approximately 11,000 feet of climbing and 80 miles(73 miles of blissful singletrack) by the time we hit downtown Durango.  Not to mention that we were above 10,000 feet of elevation, for the entire trail until the last day when we dropped down to Durango at 6,523.  Each day the incredible scenery powered up our legs as we struggled to breathe the thin air.  Highpoint today was Rolling Pass at 12,484 feet.  18.6  miles for the day.

Molas Pass 10,910' - the start of our Journey.
Don, Val, Francine, Kevin

Val and Francine climb higher through alpine meadows




We would be riding if we were not so High


Nice Singletrack!

Wildflowers in abundance

Francine and Val
Slightly lower, very green.

Campsite at the end of Day 1, Nice view!

July 22, Prep for last 75 miles of "Colorado Trail"

Sunday, today is prep day.  We have to pack for 3 nights/ 4 days on the last 75 miles of the Colorado Trail that ends in Durango, starting Monday, 7/23 thru Thursday, 7/26.  We spotted the group that just came off this trip, today, around 1:30pm at the bike store, so we stopped and talked to them to ask them about their 4 days.  They basically said to eat and drink as much as we can.  We will be hating life when we are above 12,000 feet.  It rained on them every day around 3pm.  They started each day around 8am or 8:30, had great weather, and finished riding before the afternoon thundershowers & lightning came.

So, obviously we will have no internet, power or cell phone coverage until the 26th.

July 21, Hermosa Creek Trail

Classic shuttle ride.  Francine took the day off and shuttled us to the top of the ride.  24 mile ride that was definitely not all downhill.   We started on Seth's trail for about 5 miles, then connected into Hermosa Creek trail.  Trail started out as a double track but after a couple miles turned into beautiful singletrack.  Trail was in great shape and everyone enjoyed the ride.  We all were definitely feeling our legs by the end of 24 miles.  Rest day tomorrow then onto the Colorado trail on Monday.

Don on Seth's trail,  valley is the headwaters of the Hermosa Creek Trail.

Still on Seth's trail, trail appeared to barely get used.

Don - Hermosa Creek trail looking narrow

Val - Ponderosa Pines as we get nearer to the finish.