A holiday! What's a guy to do? Go on a ride of course. So much to sample it's hard to pick trails. I figured I would do something a little easy today, so my sites were set on the Evergreen area. I figured I would pick something in the morning, set the TomTom, and go. I woke up a little early (4:30) as I have been doing since my arrival in Colorado. I am in a bad habit of falling asleep by 9:30 PM and waking up early. This is the first time I've had trouble adjusting to time zones. Anyway, I digress. I was up so I checked my email and found a message from Ed on MTBR. He's another Jersey transplant who has been itching to show me trails. He was going to ride Buffalo Creek. Perfect! Exactly the area I wanted to ride and billed as not too hard. I PM'ed him back and said I was in. He never posted a time, but I figured it would be around 9:00. Wrong. At 8:00 there was still no message so I figured I'd head out to the trailhead. On the way I get a call and he says he would not be there until 11:00. Oh well, I had a BBQ to go to so I figured I would grab a trail map and head out on my own.
The directions I had put me at Pine Valley trailhead. Ed told me that unless I wanted a nasty climb, I should go to the Buffalo Creek trailhead up the road. I stopped to take some photos anyway. It's a beautiful park.
I park at the BC trailhead, grab a map, chit chat with some other riders, and then head out on Buffalo Creek Road.
looking at the map, I figure on what would would be a nice loop. Of course, these maps never give you topo or conditions. So my loop starts with the first singletrack I reach, Sandy Wash Trail. Where else does any trail in Colorado go? UP!
I should have figured by the name of this trail what to expect. There was sand, and lots of it. Not sugar sand like I'm used to, but pea stones. The Titus still has Panaracer Fire XC Pro tires. These are great for sugar sand and the packed conditions in southern NJ, but the pea stones are just big enough to make these tires act slick slicks. So, now I had to climb and stay way back in the saddle to get some traction.
I continue to climb for what seems like an eternity. There seems to be a pattern developing here in Colorado. Stopping to take in the views and get my bearings on the map. Did I mention I hate getting lost? All the while, I have not seen a single person.
Continuing my climb I come to a clearing. But not just a clearing, a total devastation! There was a fire and a flood here in 1996 and another fire in 2000. Things have been very slow to recover. I can only imagine how lush and green the pines must have been on what is now a hot, dry, and dusty trail. Very sad.
Finally, a little more climbing and I get to another trail. Sure I should take this shortcut but what fun would that be? So Charlie (it's his shortcut after all) will just have to live without me.
A little further down I come to this strange rock. I think it looks like a parrots beak.
Onward the forest gets greener. Now the feeling of being homesick comes in. It reminds a lot of the pine barrens in New Jersey, my winter stomping grounds.
Things are about to get fast. I am just about finished with the uphill, at least from what I can tell and about to turn the corner around baldy peak and head back. A take a short jaunt on Gashouse Gulch trail passing several riders.
And now the moment I've been waiting for, or at least that's what another rider told me. Just before turning onto Gasehouse, he was stunned to see me coming down it. I have never heard someone get so excited about a trail before as he kept touting the virtues of the awesome ripping downhill that awaited me. Um, ok. I mean what do I know> It was my first time on the trail. I figured he'll probably have the same experience coming down Sandy Wash trail, because it wasn't all that fun going up it.
I bid ado, and turn onto Baldy trail.
Holy crap, he was right! There were only two problems with this. One, I didn't have a quick release on my seatpost and was too lazy to lower it and two, those damn tires couldn't hold the trail! I was all over the place on curves. It was damn scary at times trying to keep the bike on the trail without becoming a skidiot.
I came around a bend into some cool rock outcroppings which just begged for a photo op.
And this rock just had to be rolled.
Back onto the roaring DH and out to Buffalo Creek Road which continued downhill all the way back to the car.
So, what's my conclusion? Well, more downhill than uphill at least in the direction I went. I have seen prettier trails, but I am sure the area was beautiful when the trees were there.
On the drive back I came across an Elk heard. Cool.
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