01 October 2015

Stardate 2015.751

Kenosha Pass to Georgia Pass
Autumn Visits Segment 6 of the Colorado Trail

Autumn has arrived at Colorado's higher elevations. Moreover, trees down low are beginning to show signs of fall as well. I recently had the opportunity to take the Black Pearl (mountain bike) out for a fall grunt along segment 6 of the Colorado Trail. Rolling across the skin of the earth on a warm Indian summer day full of yellow, gold and orange tapestry is about as good as it gets.

The Colorado Trail is a collection of trails linking Denver with Durango, Colorado. Much of the trail penetrates some of Colorado's most striking landscapes, especially the southwestern San Juan Mountains between Lake City and Durango. The trail is approximately 500 miles long and divided into 28 segments. The path visits 6 wilderness areas, 7 national forests and 5 river systems. Except for the wilderness areas, it is open to hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. Designated detours route cyclists around wilderness areas, where bicycles are forbidden.

My day started at the 9,961-foot level of Kenosha Pass. I rode a sleeveless out-and-back from Kenosha to Georgia Pass. Close to the halfway mark, Georgia Pass is the high point of Segment 6. From Georgia Pass, the segment descends to the winter ski town of Breckenridge.

Segment 6 is entirely singletrack to Georgia Pass. Much of the trail is an enhanced cardio challenge due to physically handling the bicycle over root-bound trail while climbing steeply. The pay-off is baby-butt smooth trail in other areas and needless to say – the views.

The leaves in the Kenosha Pass area are some of the first in Colorado to change color. Leaves were at various stages of change this year. In the following pic, the trail is seen traveling from the lower right to the center of the photo (not the dirt road). My destination is in the background; 13,370-foot Mount Guyot is home to Georgia Pass. Yes, the trail loses elevation near the start; and it has to be made up at the end.

Although yellows were a bit muddy this year, there was some good orange; flame-tips I like to call them.

In addition to groves of aspen (quakies), stands of Lodgepole pine make-up a large portion of the montane ecosystem. The following pic shows some of the smoother trail scattered here and there.

Around 10,000 feet in elevation, Lodgepole pine gives way to Engelmann spruce and the subalpine ecosystem. Mount Guyot dominates the view.

Georgia Pass cradles the Krummholz, which is the interface of the subalpine and alpine ecosystems. Note the stunted growth and wind-shaped branches on the coniferous trees.

At 13,370 feet, Mount Guyot is the 344th highest peak in Colorado. Guyot is named after Arnold Henry Guyot (GEE-oh) who was a Swiss-American Geologist and Geographer (1807-1884).

Viewing northwest, the northern Gore Range rises in the background.

More pics from this trip to come...


1 comment:

  1. Awesome photos of a gorgeous place! Can't wait to get out there with you this weekend


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