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Thread: Heading north

  1. #1
    Wzl
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    Heading north

    It's hot, dry, and there's no place to ride my MTB...

    So last Friday night I headed up to one of my favorite spots just north of Chama - Cumbres Pass. There is a nice little camp spot just behind the train depot right at the pass. From there the Continental Divide Trail runs almost through camp. What more could a mountain biker ask for?

    Well, I for one like great scenery and awesome single track of course.

    As soon as you start the ride you catch a glimpse of the highway up to the pass. Could be a nice road ride if one were so inclined.
    Heading north-dscn2515.jpg

    After a few quick ups and downs I saw this fall - I think it is part of Wolf Creek. There were a couple of dudes and a dog camped near there as their dog came to greet me as I came too near.
    Heading north-dscn2525.jpg

    Once you finally clear the first half of the climb you roll out onto this ledge with awesome views of the Archuleta drainage below and the South San Juan Wilderness to the north. Heading north-dscn2539.jpg

    I spied this fella. By his chirp I'm guessing it was a baby marmot?
    Heading north-dscn2541.jpg

    More views. Such a grand place. Heading north-dscn2548.jpg

    And another. You can't help but stop a lot. Heading north-dscn2559.jpg

    And some switchbacks. They're much easier than they look despite being above treeline.
    Heading north-dscn2569.jpg

    Once you make it above tree line there is still some good technical climbing to be had. Much of the trail hugs the steep side slopes. But you are so stoked to be up there that you seem to get super hero lungs and just make everything. Heading north-dscn2584.jpg

    The place I call the Wilderness Boundary. Not sure where it really is but this post is about right. I left my bike here and then hiked the rest of the way to the top.
    Heading north-dscn2596.jpg

    There's a nice rock house to hide out of the wind if need be. Amazing scenery - looking down into the headwaters of the Chama River. Others here have referenced a ride down there. The area is overrun with ATV's and horses. If you stay on the eastern edge there is a nice trail that gets little use and there are a few small ponds near the top which make good camp sites. Heading north-dscn2621.jpg

    The view back from where I came.

    Heading north-dscn2641.jpg

    Heading north-dscn2645.jpg

    On the way back down I began to hear the train struggling to make progress. I kept hearing it chugging steam as I was struggling to make the short steep climbs back up out of the drainages I had crossed on the way out. I caught a few good glimpses of the train from up above.
    Heading north-dscn2647.jpg

    Heading north-dscn2652.jpg

    Heading north-dscn2661.jpg

    And I caught this shot right where the CDT is about to duck under the trestle and make its way south back in to NM. The engineer was spraying down the coal in the bed as it went by 5 feet from me. Pretty awesome seeing that steam train up close and personal.
    Heading north-dscn2670.jpg

    Trail through the area where the VOC did a bunch of work a couple of summers ago now has significant dead fall again. Nothing a few dudes with some real saws can't fix in an afternoon though. If this ride isn't on IMBA's Epic Ride list, it should be. Ride it
    Ride hard. Ride often.

  2. #2
    snickers driven
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    Wow, gotta get up there. Thx for the inspiration!

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    Awesome dude! I love good write up with good pics to match. The awesome bike was a cherry on top

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    Man, I need to go ride that! How far (in miles) did you ride from the pass? Are there other places to ride near there (i.e. make it a weekend trip) or just the CDT?

  5. #5
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    I think that was a Pika. They collect grasses and such all summer , store it until winter and live off it in fermented form (I.e they're drunk all winter) or something like that...

  6. #6
    I ride with tools
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    Quote Originally Posted by skerry00 View Post
    I think that was a Pika. They collect grasses and such all summer , store it until winter and live off it in fermented form (I.e they're drunk all winter) or something like that...
    I can relate to that.

  7. #7
    High Alpine Adventure
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    Yep, Sandar's gonna throw my ashes off the back side of that ridge. So how's the trail doing? I was going to go up with a Bob and saw any downs from the winter, but DaveB may have gotten them already. All clear or are there any snags?
    Dug-Da-Goat

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    ...so welcome to the Odyssey!

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  8. #8
    Wzl
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkldouglas View Post
    Man, I need to go ride that! How far (in miles) did you ride from the pass? Are there other places to ride near there (i.e. make it a weekend trip) or just the CDT?
    I've been told the ride up is 11 miles but I've never measured it. I hit the trail around 7:45 and summited at 10:40. I stopped several times for pictures and then several more times to get through and over the dead fall. The return trip took about 1.5 hours going back through the same dead fall and I only stopped at the bottom to take pics of the train.

    Other rides in the area that I know of are the Archuleta Creek drainage which was below shown in several pictures above, and the CDT south into NM. Years ago I tried to ride the trail south but it became a horse tracked mess after a few miles so I quit and headed back the way I came. Have not tried it in a while so conditions may have changed. The obvious stuff at Archuleta Creek is overrun with ATV and horse traffic. Heading further north you run into the South San Juan Wilderness so biking is out but this is an amazing place and well worth a backpack trip or even a day hike. Skeeters can be a big problem up there though.
    Ride hard. Ride often.

  9. #9
    Wzl
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    Quote Originally Posted by skerry00 View Post
    I think that was a Pika. They collect grasses and such all summer , store it until winter and live off it in fermented form (I.e they're drunk all winter) or something like that...
    Ah yes, the Pika. Thanks for setting me straight Kerry. For some reason I was thinking Pika were much smaller, like Chipmunks.
    Ride hard. Ride often.

  10. #10
    High Alpine Adventure
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wzl View Post
    I stopped several times for pictures and then several more times to get through and over the dead fall...
    How many snags did you run into and how far up?

    Trying to gauge what the clean-up looks like there. With the drought and how lightly used that area is, we're going to have to keep up with the clearing. Thinking 4th of July Work/Ride plan.
    Dug-Da-Goat

    Something changes at 12,000'
    ...so welcome to the Odyssey!

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