21 July 2017

Stardate 2017.553



Enchanted Wedding Bells of the Chihuahuan Desert

Ahoy mates! Snowcatcher and I traveled southwest to Las Cruces, New Mexico, for the marriage of her neice. The southwest, especially New Mexico, is quite enchanted. New Mexico's slogan—Land of Enchantment—is also quite apropos.

We caught a flight out of Denver International Airport to Albuquerque and drove the rest of the way to Las Cruces. Snowcatcher spent her youth in Alamogordo, an hour and a half east of Las Cruces. Thus, she made a great tour guide for me. She knew the good eateries along the way as well. If you're ever in Socorro (home to New Mexico Tech), try the Blake's Lotaburger (I understand it's been there since God was a boy) and make sure to get it smothered in Hatch green chili. Mmmm...............

Anyway, enjoy the pics, starting with a cleared for take-off from DIA shot.




Good morning sunshine!




At a cruising altitude, we were high and dry above a fog bank.




The wedding aisle awaits its chairs, guests and wedding party.




This is a real century plant (yucca family). Every 100 years or so, it blooms.




The Chihuahuan desert is stark, beautiful and deadly, all wrapped up in one package.




This is a rain squall delivering the goods to a parched landscape.




There are a lot of different cacti here, including this large stand of prickly pear. Snowcatcher expressed interest in canning these. Another time.




Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (Socorro vicinity)




That’s it for this round. Thanks for reading!
Adios

04 July 2017

Stardate 2017.507


HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!
A Snowcatcher Photo



PLAY'N HOOKY

Ride the Rockies is Snowcatcher's gig! She got me into it — I've done 6 now — and it's something you need to check out if you're a cyclist. I think you'll find yourself wanting more. Sadly, orthopedic conditions sidelined Snowcatcher from this year's ride. However, she did SaG (Support and Gear) and escort me around host communities and lodging, which was nice.

Day 4 of the Tour had been a huge day. It tossed me 84 miles of mountain riding over three passes. Much of the route was above 9,000 feet in elevation. Consequently, Coal Bank Pass (10,640 ft), Molas Pass (10,910 ft), and Red Mountain Pass (11,018 ft) took their toll on my aging legs. I just wanted to enjoy the awesome B&B Snowcatcher secured for us in advance. The following pic is looking south from our B&B toward the Sneffels Range, San Juan Mountains, Colorado. As a side note, I grew up about 1.5 hours to the north of here, and the locale made me a tad homesick.



Day 5 was a short "rest ride" along a scary, high-use roadway (State Highway 550). So we played hooky instead and journeyed to one of our favorite areas — the East, Middle, and West Forks of the Cimarron River. Twelve years ago I proposed to Snowcatcher high in the Middle Fork Basin, and as they say, "the rest is history."

Following are more pics from the area. All three basins were still snowed in. They should open up for access in early July. The Cimarron Forks begin high in the Uncompahgre Wilderness Area. This area initially was called the Big Blue Wilderness, which I liked much better. Uncompahgre, loosely translated, means dirty water. Oh well... Enjoy!

The next pic is from Owl Creek Pass (11,120 ft) and the access road to lower West Fork Cimarron.




Precipice Peak (13,144 ft, rank 529) is framed in the background. My marriage proposal occurred on its backside, high up the Middle Fork of the Cimarron.




Snow temporarily marked the end of the West Fork road. There's still jeep road before reaching a trailhead.




The airy summit of Chimney Rock rises to 11,781 feet.




Numerous volcanic rock formations line the West Fork. The volcanism in this area is often beyond spectacular.




A member of the Lily family — Veratrum tenuipetalum
Also known as False Hellebore, Skunk Cabbage, and Corn Lily; it will average 4 feet in height.




The East Fork Cimarron is on the left, and the Middle Fork is on the right.




I love how dandelions enhance high Montane meadows. Do you?




That's it for a while. Thanks for reading.

Adios

06 June 2017

Stardate 2017.430


During a recent evening ride, the moon slowly ascended over Waterton Canyon, sharing a portion of its perpetual journey.


Spring is Giving Way to Summer

Hi folks! I haven't been writing because I've been busy doing other things during the evenings, plus I wanted to take a breather from the computer. Nonetheless I have a few pics taken during recent bike rides. So, let's let the show begin with my usual bike-in-the-road shot.




Vegetation has greened nicely.




The farther up the canyon one travels, the more complex and wild the views become.




Evening low-angle light is sharp, yet a tad nebulous as a whole.




Bike cockpit...




This book was at my turnaround. Not my type of reading, but if you have any insight, do enlighten us.




Thanks for reading.

Adios

07 May 2017

Stardate 2017.348


Juniper Pass


Juniper Pass — Where's the Juniper?

I took a road ride from Bergen Park to Juniper Pass via State Highway 103. Bergen Park is a stone's throw west from the Denver Metro area at an elevation of 7,791 feet. Juniper Pass sits at 11,140 feet elevation; a bit high for juniper, I believe. It was a bluebird day - warm even at 11,000 feet. The elevation gain for the ride is 3,349 feet over 15.1 miles.

There was a fair amount of sand on the road, causing the descent to be a bit slower than usual. Nonetheless, it is a well-earned descent. Moreover, this pass is the first major ascent in the Triple Bypass, an event I've ridden numerous times. The first photo is the start of Highway 103, just outside of Evergreen, Colorado.




My obligatory bike in the middle of the road shot.




Squaw Pass sign indicates you're more than halfway. In common English, you know the cat's in the bag. Although there's yet another 1,333 feet of elevation gain.




The Front Range comes into view.






Grays Peak (14,270 ft, rank #10) and Torreys Peak (14,267 ft, rank #12 ) come into view as well.




As the pass approaches, so does 14,264-foot Mount Evans, the 15th highest peak in Colorado.




This road used to be fairly weathered. Now, it's baby-butt smooth asphalt.




That's it for now. Thanks for reading.

Adios

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!

Adios

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!

Adios
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