Sunday, July 23, 2006

Colorado Trail Section 23

Ah, finally. Nick and I resumed our quest to complete the Colorado Trail with a trip to section 23 in the San Juan Mountains. We decided to make a big loop up Lost Trail Creek, across section 23, then back down the dirt road to the Lost Trail Campground and the Rio Grande Reservoir. I was imagining the ascent up the Lost Trail would find us pushing our bikes most of the way, but it turned out to be a nice ATV trail. There was lots of uphill for sure, but also gentle rolling in valley. The last push to the pass was the toughest. On the way I seen a nice four point buck.

When we got to the pass, we found no trace of the camp we had to abandon last October. Check out our epic here. Finally on the Colorado Trail, we enjoyed a nice bike ride down into the most isolated section on the entire C.T. If you don't mind a climb, I would recommend not taking the bike detour mentioned in the official guide.

The pass is guarded by an army of goblins. These crags are just begging to be climbed, so I decided to give one a scramble. The rock is a bit rotten so route finding is a slow go. Check out the arch crag I climbed.

After pushing our bikes the better part of three miles, we finally made it to the pass and our reward: the descent. It doesn't get better than this. A very fun downhill ride into a beautiful valley. I did wreck on a steep stretch covered in baby heads. When I landed I bent my first two fingers backwards, swelling my hand and making it hard to brake.

There are several stream crossings on this descent. I tried to cross every stream, but wrecked twice on the deeper crossings. Although secluded we did encounter many fishermen, a couple of motorcyclists, and plenty of hikers.

At the end of CT 23 we realized it was 10 miles back to rio grande reservoir and our camp. Nick had seriously under estimated the length of this section (Nick has this tendency. It's the reason Dalton doesn't go with us anymore!) The road starts out with a long uphill slog for first couple of miles, but then its mostly downhill and fun ride on a wide dirt road. Flying down the hill, I came upon a nicely banked corner. I thought I would whip around it, but fell again on the damn gravel. I lost a little hide on this one.

All together it was a thirty mile trek, but we weren't overly tired at the end. I must say this was a great day and a truly spectacular ride. Five sections to go!

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