Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 26
  1. #1
    Wzl
    Wzl is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    493

    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)

    The plan: Ride sections 21, 22, and 23 of the Colorado Trail (CT). No real idea on how to accomplish this task other than that the Spring Creek Trail head along highway 149 is an access point.

    I leave work and head north. Not real sure whether it’s best to do a repeat of last weekend and head up to Cumbres Pass – I know of a few nice camp spots just north of there – or to head north via 285 thru Alamaso to South Fork, and Creede and just make my way to within shooting distance of the desired goal. As I approach the split between highways 84 and 285 I turn right, decision made.

    En route I notice there seems to be a smoke plume coming from somewhere north. Looks like southern Colorado, near Antonito but higher up in the San Juans. Hmmm…..

    I stop for gas and a few more supplies at the Safeway in Alamosa.

    As I make my way north the plume appears to move further north. Now it appears to be coming from somewhere near Monte or South Fork. As I approach Monte Vista the sky is smokey and there’s and erie red tint from the setting sun. I see a road sign stating Wolf Creek is closed. I guess they mean the pass. Mile markers are listed but they don’t mean much to me. Hope I can make it to South Fork and head north.

    Get to South Fork and on to Creede. It’s dark now but with the nearly full moon the smoky sky is lit up and I can see the plumes are emanating from the hills west of the Rio Grande. Scary.

    Once thru Creede I turn off on South Clear Creek road and head up into the mountains to find a camp spot for the night. It’s after 10 and I’m weary from the six hours of driving on top of the full day of work. I find a side rode and take it, finding a campable spot for the evening after 10 minutes or so.

    I consult the maps over dinner and determine that if I continue up the road I can eventually hit the CT. Good deal.

    Morning comes, breakfast happens, I pack up and then drive around for a while searching for the right start point for my ride. After a couple of U-turns I find a spot, unload, gear up and head out. Here’s the general vantage point. Headed up there somewhere…
    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-cta1.jpg

    After some time climbing I turn to catch a view of the smoke behind me. Impressive. Scary.
    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-cta3.jpg
    I started in that meadow that's hidden just behind the tip of the pine tree.

    Finally a bit of respite from the climbing.
    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-cta4.jpg

    This route appears to be primarily an ATV track. Not my first choice but it is supposedly only 4 miles to the CT so I can suck it up and enjoy the single track when I get there.
    Oh look another climb.
    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-cta5.jpg

    And just as I crested that last hill I spy another climb. Yeehaw!
    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-cta6.jpg

    Not the most pedalable surface but I suck it up.
    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-cta7.jpg

    A look back checking on the state of the fire.
    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-cta8.jpg

    More heinous climbing.
    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-cta9.jpg

    Nearing the top but I’ve been grinding for hours. No way this is only 4 miles.
    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-cta10.jpg

    Finally, I reach the pass and enjoy the view. I spy the track coming up from South Fork. Man I am up high – 13,200 ft! Yikes. Never pedaled this high before. No wonder I’m suffering.
    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-cta11.jpg

    An obligatory shot of the CT/CDT sign post. Looks real nice, too bad I suffered so bad getting up here and don’t have much left except to get me back to the truck.
    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-cta12.jpg

    While spending a few choice moments at the saddle a crew of Texas Wheel Chairs showed up. Unplussesd. One of these yahoo’s decided he wanted to see what the top looked like, the top right above the Area Closed sign. Guess the closed ATV ruts were too rough for this fella as he decided to make his own way through the tundra.
    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-cta13.jpg

    Anyway, fires still raging but the flowers are nice.
    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-cta14.jpg

    Rather than follow the same route back down it looked like I could take a detour to Heart Lake and then descend along North Clear Creek. Here’s the Heart check – fierce climbs getting up here.

    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-cta15.jpg

    Turns out the route thru was open to hiking and horses only. I probably could have gotten away with riding thru but I wasn’t 100% certain I had seen the trail coming down along North Clear Creek, and I was tired, so I opted for the known way out and back tracked to the route I had taken up.

    You don’t appreciate the descending you do on your way out and this little hill slipped by my senses. Not too bad as it was sub-12000 feet!
    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-cta16.jpg

    I pretty much bombed the rest of the way down. An obligatory “selfy”.
    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-cta16a.jpg

    On the final climb back up to the truck I spied a tiny bit of single track so I took it. I almost got taken out by two nasty branches on two separate occasions. The sun visors on the MTB helmets are nice when you need them but the do block your view above. Definitely cow track. Nonetheless, a nice view back up to where I had been.
    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-cta17.jpg

    I don’t recommend this route to anyone. The climbing was miserable, the trail surface was loose, dry, dusty, and rocky. Unless you simply need to explore the alpine ride somewhere else. I saw multiple groups of 4wheelrs, most of which were families getting out to enjoy the great outdoors. The others were old retired farts who probably couldn’t walk 10 yards in this terrain. I’m scared for this country. "Mechanized tourism" (Edward Abbey) shouldn't be a family value.

    The profile:
    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-profile.png

    The route:
    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-route.jpg

    Da Goat impressed upon me that I needed to ride the section of the CT near the Rio Grande Reservoir but it didn't look to be an option this time around. The smoke was getting a little to close for comfort so I decided to head out and drive up to Spring Creek Pass and try my luck there. I thought there was camping right at the pass but I was confused by the signs that said Day Use Only so I dropped my rig into 4-low and crawled up the steep road which doubles as the CDT/CT and found myself a decent meadow to camp in a mile or so in. I spent the late afternoon hours reading and watching the smoke plume. Amazing place to be.

    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-dscn2854.jpg

    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-dscn2862.jpg

    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-dscn2865.jpg

    Touching the Divide (or what not to do)-dscn2869.jpg

    It was a bit uncomfortable being in such close proximity to this huge fire. I chatted with a group of four thru hikers doing the CDT - that's an impressive 2600 mile walk. Then another couple who were headed in for the night stopped and we chatted a bit as well. They seemed to have a plan, as did I.

    TBC....
    Ride hard. Ride often.

  2. #2
    High Alpine Adventure
    Reputation: DaGoat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,588
    Wow Greg, you were on the edge of the Papoose Fire. It consumed the road into the Rio Grande Res. Check out this link and check the Papoose Box.

    It looks like you went in at Hermit Lakes and ended up on the ridge on the other side of Carson Saddle. Not sure you would have wanted to be down at the RG Res. doing the approach up the Lost Trail! They ended up closing the road and you could have been trapped having to drive over to Silverton.

    Glad you made it out OK and nice pics of the fire plume!
    Dug-Da-Goat

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

    Building your trails at FooMTB

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: tyrebyter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    353
    Stunning pictures.

  4. #4
    I <3 NM
    Reputation: MTBNate's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    3,047
    Love a good ride report and your photos are excellent.

    Post more soon.
    "Someone must have put alcohol in my beer last night." ~ Mr. Richard Baty, Esq.


  5. #5
    High Alpine Adventure
    Reputation: DaGoat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,588
    Quote Originally Posted by Wzl View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCN2865.jpg 
Views:	94 
Size:	101.7 KB 
ID:	811154
    In this picture on the left shows what is causing such a huge fire... match sticks all around! The pine bark beetle kill has been horrific... guess it's natures way of cleansing!
    Dug-Da-Goat

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

    Building your trails at FooMTB

  6. #6
    Wzl
    Wzl is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    493
    Quote Originally Posted by DaGoat View Post
    In this picture on the left shows what is causing such a huge fire... match sticks all around! The pine bark beetle kill has been horrific... guess it's natures way of cleansing!
    While I sat in my chair reading every few minutes I'd have to flick a little beetle off me. It didn't register at the time but I am sure these were said beetles.
    Ride hard. Ride often.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: tyrebyter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    353
    According to USDA, drought weakened trees and warmer climate combined to give the beetles a boost. There is an excellent (albeit depressing) article on their climate change website. I'd paste the URL if I could figure out how on this confounded tablet. Sounds like we could be hosed for a long time, or we will get used to a lot more tundra and prairie.

  8. #8
    RCC
    RCC is offline
    Bandolero
    Reputation: RCC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,497
    Awesome pics...thanks for the stoke.
    RCC
    I heard the mission bell
    And i was thinking to my self
    This could be heaven or this could be hell...

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: tyrebyter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    353
    Not suggesting we should intervene even if we could; as with most human interaction with the planet, we've done quite enough already. Just tough to watch the change. There are economic reasons for fighting fire but not all pass through the cost/benefit filter first. $1000/day? That's Bagdad contractor wages. They hiring?

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: tyrebyter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    353
    Quote Originally Posted by justamember View Post
    Hazard pay.

    Government is ALWAYS hiring.
    Not here. More work + fewer people = Higher profits.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: tyrebyter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    353
    "Money/Jobs merely get shifted from one sector to another"

    Not when you replace 80 civil servants with 15 contractors.

  12. #12
    I <3 NM
    Reputation: MTBNate's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    3,047
    Fire fighting is risky business - 19 of these highly trained government professionals perished in AZ yesterday.

    $1k/day is cheap.
    "Someone must have put alcohol in my beer last night." ~ Mr. Richard Baty, Esq.


  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: tyrebyter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    353
    Someone has to pay whom? The contractors? Sure they do, but not what you'd pay for dedicated, educated, certified government employees with health care and pensions. Ever heard of Firm-Fixed-Price contracting? That's how you end up with 15 hired guns replacing 80 government employees. Pay them a lot, work them like dogs and then toss them when the contract is over. Think about that next time you see one of those ancient B26 tankers flying over the city headed to a fire.

  14. #14
    Bandolero
    Reputation: notaknob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    2,428
    Quote Originally Posted by justamember View Post
    Firefighting is a huge undertaking and should be utilized only when the benefit outweighs the cost. We need to decide at what cost it is necessary. Like when protecting other resources for the greater social benefit. Yosemite is a good example. They let most fires burn. It's not to say that they don't monitor them, but they simply weigh nature's cycle vs needs of humans. There is at least one FS employee that is making almost $1000 a day sitting in a tent providing network services for the various battalions.
    $1k a day? Sounds like someone trolled you good.
    See the trails, be one with FOO-MTB.
    Slow-core. -.. .-. .. -. -.- .... --- -- . -... .-. . .--

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation: tyrebyter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    353
    Well, Blackwater was hired to kill, literally, but yes, the principals of those companies get fabulously wealthy from taxpayer dollars. The folks doing the work, not so much. The 19 heroes who perished in Arizona worked for the city of Prescott Fire Department "Granite Mountain Hotshots" and were contracted to fight fires. They weren't in Prescott when they met their demise. I have no idea how and between whom money changed hands, but Kerry can probably enlighten us. I don't think USDA has a thousand firefighters on the payroll. But that's inter-agency contracting. It get's sketchier when you start talking about for-profit contracting.
    Gone a bit off topic, eh?

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Touching Up Parts
    By CS2 in forum Vintage, Retro, Classic
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 12-22-2012, 01:59 AM
  2. Shoe touching fender in turns
    By sanjayc in forum Beginner's Corner
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 01-22-2012, 10:08 AM
  3. XTR M980 shift paddles touching
    By DerrickT in forum Drivetrain - shifters, derailleurs, cranks
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10-03-2011, 06:56 PM
  4. Brake constantly touching
    By nikojan in forum Brake Time
    Replies: 41
    Last Post: 08-15-2011, 04:05 PM
  5. touching up scratches and cable rub
    By nicolian in forum Nicolai
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-26-2011, 03:06 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •