21 April 2017

Stardate 2017.304

Coming to Life

Hi everyone, I think spring has sprung. The bighorn sheep — both ewes and rams — are lounging together. Other reclusive ewes will soon be showing off reasons for being solitary in the form of little newborn lambs with doey wide eyes full of wonder. Rattlesnakes are sunning themselves. The ubiquitous anglers are infiltrating Waterton Canyon. And, more and more cyclists are enjoying the warming days. Following are several rides worth of pics. I hope you enjoy them.

Warming days become lazy days...

Beautiful and toxic, all in one package...

Classic singletrack zigging and zagging through the forest...

Late afternoon light wafting through coniferous tree boles...

Always be on your toes...

Stay tuned!


11 April 2017

Stardate 2017.277

Lay It On The Line

Hi, people! Lay it on the line doesn't really have anything to do with the ride. I just had the old Triumph song from 1979 on my mind. You can listen to it here. On to business at hand. Ever so slowly we are getting our cycling legs in tune. This past weekend we did a half road and half mountain bike ride for about 40 miles. That's not far, but not too short either. The mountain bike was used for both legs of the trip. Moreover, I have spring fever something terrible. We've been able to get out quite a bit, and I pulled some older helmet cam videos for fun.

Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park (road bike)

Kokopelli Trail, Western Colorado (mountain bike)

Our ride was good, although my toosh was sore from the previous day's ride. We saw a lot of bighorn sheep (as usual) while in Waterton Canyon, with some good-size rams. On a side note, we're also playing with food. I can hardly get down and stomach an energy bar these days. Instead of high-dollar energy foods, we're drying our own fruit, thanks to Snowcatcher. The day's snack was apple and peach slices covered in cinnamon. The cinnamon dries into the fruit. MMMmmmmm...

I turned around at upper Lenny's Bench. It was down to the flats now. I don't write much here as I'm always writing about Waterton Canyon and surrounds. I'll talk about several things along the trail. The Chatfield area had a surprise or two.

This little character had some nice markings.

The last of the snow was going, going, soon to be gone!

This is a bull snake; rattlesnakes are on their menu. This particular specimen would stretch out to 4 or 5 feet.

That's it for now. Thanks for reading and viewing!


02 April 2017

Stardate 2017.252

Bear Creek

Ride Weather Reminded Me of Oregon Mountain Biking

Yesterday (31March17) was the usual Waterton Ride to upper Lenny's Bench; then around the Roxborough loop, which is now thawed-out, at least until the current storm gathering. I had hoped to beat the forecasted storm. However, it captured me about halfway around the loop. Approximately half of my ride was in the wet.

I attended graduate school at Oregon State University located in western Oregon. It's wet and misty in the winter, and Waterton Canyon yesterday was the epitome of that area. Enjoy the following pics. The first is the storm slowly working its way out of the Front Range about 45 minutes before capturing me.

We're expecting freeze with snow tonight, so the blossoming leaves may be kaput for a while.

I was halfway up the canyon and still mostly dry.

Denver Water's Strontia Springs dam was releasing a fair amount of water.

Overheating, I stopped to shed some layers.

At the trail's high point, the clouds were descending and wafting throughout the forest.

There is a fair amount of blowdown this year.

This bubbling brook almost always flows year-round.

The singletrack is pretty good through here.

The concluding pic is of the down, down, down drop to the South Platte River at the Strontia Springs dam.

Later gator!


27 March 2017

Stardate 2016.236

After one-night of snow and freeze, yellow aspen leaves become history.

A Few Elk Summits

It could be argued that much of my life has been lived in a cyclic fashion; especially extracurricular activities. I enjoy high mountain adventure, road and mountain biking and canyoneering. I'm currently at a crossroad of leaning more toward mountaineering once again. Thinking about Colorado's high mountain thin, cool-air gives me warm fuzzies all over. Go ahead — roll your eyes.

Colorado's sprawling San Juan Mountains are my favorite range of sub-ranges. Double fuzzies are doled out for the San Juans. I'll leave the San Juans for down the road. Arguably my second favorite range is the Elk Range. The Elks are home to seven Fourteeners (six if you're adamant about the 300-foot rule; i.e., there must be at least 300 feet of elevation difference between adjacent peaks to be an "official' 14er). I'm not quite that anal.

I climbed the Elk 14ers in the 1990s and wouldn't mind revisiting some of the more isolated areas of the Maroon Bells — Snowmass Wilderness. Exquisitely beautiful landscapes and often horribly terrifying loose rock is to be found here.

A north-to-south stretching range, the Elk 14ers north to south are:
Capitol Peak (14,130 ft, rank 29)
Snowmass Mountain (14,092 ft, rank 31)
North Maroon Peak (14,014 ft, soft rank — it doesn't meet 300-foot rule)
Maroon Peak (South Maroon, 14,156 ft, rank 24)
Pyramid Peak (14,018 ft, rank 47)
Castle Peak (14,265 ft, rank 12)
Conundrum Peak (14,060 ft, rank 47 — doesn't meet 300-ft rule)

Below is a northerly view of Snowmass and Capitol from the summit of North Maroon.

The next pic is looking down the south ridge of South Maroon from the summit.

The view of Snowmass and Capitol from the summit of South Maroon is magical.

Yes, there is a loose, intricate, and time-consuming route up the South Ridge to South Maroon's summit.

In the next pic, the view is of Pyramid's intricate northwest face.

Below, we were watching morning sun-hit on the Bells, Snowmass and Capitol from Pyramid's summit.

That's it for now. Sorry I don't appear to have summit shots from Snowmass, Capitol, Castle or Conundrum in a digital format. Yet.


23 March 2017

Stardate 2017.225

Colorado Trail Segment 1 — Out and Back
Prepping for the Summer and Ride the Rockies

I had not ridden into the heart of Segment 1 of the Colorado Trail (CT) for quite some time. I had a Tuesday off and decided to give it whirl. I write about the ride up Waterton Canyon to upper Lenny's Bench all the time. Beyond Lenny's exists an entirely different animal. Yes, lots of hike-a-bike down into and up out of aptly named Bear Creek; followed by medieval sections of forest heavy in haunting spirit, a siren if you will.

Segment 1 of the CT is 16.8 miles in length (Kassler start) with an elevation gain of 2,830 feet to the 7,517-foot high point at mile 12.6. I didn't start in Kassler and rode 15.2 miles to the high point. I turned back at the high point. A handful of photos follow — enjoy!

The first 6.7 miles of dirt road parallel the South Platte River, and the road is a service access road for Denver Water. The road also is the roadbed used by the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad, built in 1877.

It's time for some trail.

I'm about to begin the big drop down to Bear Creek from upper Lenny's.

After the decent to Bear Creek, it's time to climb the other side on ball bearing rock.

There was old ice that should be covered by new snow upon reading this post.

Bring on the singletrack. The most difficult climbing was now behind me.

Cathedral Spires (8,520 ft) rise to the west. Yes, there are spires there. The area is closed to rock climbing in the spring for raptor, including Peregrine falcon, nesting.

'Tis the wind season and its aftermath.

This pic kind of shows how large some rock steps were. Upper center is a patch of ice.

This is the flowy descent down into the bowels of Bear Creek.

Stay tuned for more lizarding...


16 March 2017

Stardate 2017.205

It's Baa'aaack

Hi all! Well, the white stuff returned. South aspects melted, and north aspects shivered. Better yet, there was no ice layer under the snow, so it was relatively easy to ride. For the most part I was able to stay on top of the snow, which was a tad packed from previous use.

A couple inches of snow remain in the shady aspects.

The retreat from upper Lenny's Bench begins. The tree roots were a bit wet and hazardous going down.

Snowcatcher and I made the lottery for 2017 Ride the Rockies. The blog docket will be more active.


13 March 2017

Stardate 2017.197

It's Still Nice Out

Indeed, the weather remains stuck in Gucci mode. I'm not complaining. Following are some pics from the Roxborough Loop. The Rox loop is a connector trail that shortens the Trail 800 loop by a few miles. It also has a segment of turf that is one of the last places to melt out. Nonetheless, several icy patches were laying around. I also made several mud portages.

I had the trail all to myself today.

Pictured is some flowy singletrack through an area of forest that always seems to be green.

The big drop to the South Platte River is about to begin. That's Turkshead Peak at upper right.

Many riders don't slow and finesse their way around a corner. Instead, many riders "rudder" around a corner while in a full-blown skid. If you throw in some freeze-thaw cycles (water expands about 9 percent while freezing), you may end up with a badly eroded piece of trail.

What's next on the docket? The snow returns...

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