As summer vacations go, we shot for the moon -- and ended up flying across the galaxy.
Only problem is, it was so mind-blowing and spectacular, that words just aren't going to do it any justice, and I already know they will fail to convey the depth and expansiveness of our adventure.
The plan was to meet up with RockStar: LW, and ride the Colorado Trail from Spring Creek Pass to Durango. We succeeded on both accounts.
Day 1: Spring Creek Pass to Cataract Lake
Day 2: Cataract Lake to Silverton
Day 3: Silverton to Bolam Pass
Day 4: Bolam Pass into Durango (not by plan, but due to getting HAILED off of Indian Ridge and soaked out off Taylor Lake, we had to
gun-it for town).
Day 1: Spring Creek Pass to Cataract Lake
We started at Spring Creek Pass on a Sunday morning -- post rain, in
heavy fog. It was delicious. We were all giddy in anticipation of
our adventure. I was, as usual, completely out of my mind and body over-excited. Ed and LW dealt with it beautifully, and just let me bounce off
the walls of the universe as needed. Only issue: Little did I know that I would need every ounce of that over-excited energy
that I was spending! Of course, I didn't KNOW IT then... but yeah, all
that energy-spend bit me in the ass for 4 days straight ;) WOOHOO!
Bags and bikes packed -- onward and upward -- across the big sky. Ed
took off straight out of the gate, LW enjoyed her wide range of gears,
and I stuck myself somewhere in the middle -- pedaling my 1x9 with a
heaver push and grunt that I was expecting. DOH!
But the CT is magical. It's BIG magical. And as tough as I had to get
to BE there, I felt incredibly lucky to be rolling along in such a
truly SWEET and beautiful world, and with two megaFantastic beautiful people!
The first day brought with it eye-popping views in all directions. Little did I know that truthfully, the trail and the views just get better and bigger and wider and more jaw-dropping as the miles tore on.
There were a handful of sections of hike-a-bike. I got really good at this... and it completely beat the hell out of me. ;) A weighted bike is no kite in the high-country. We were HIGH. And I was hauling luxury items. Yes ... yes, I was hauling luxury items.
Can't you tell?
LW, was truly soaring along. Her uber-granny gears put to use constantly. I was SO psyched for her that the altitude wasn't messing with her as she had expected -- and that she was able to literally FLOAT up the steepest of sections.
Throughout the first day, I found myself begging the universe to keep the rain at bay -- or, at least, elsewhere. This stream of thought became quite consistent as the day wore on.
Near the high-point of the day, it finally occurred to me that truly and honestly: I'm afraid of having to spend the night out in the rain, with potentially no warm, dry clothing, shelter or warmth. The depth of this sank in deeper and deeper with every passing mile.
I was shocked that we spent the majority of the day in dry and warm weather.
We stopped and ate at the high point. LW pointed off in far-away directions. I huddled over the maps. And Ed danced around in complete giddiness.
We bombed off the top. Wound our way down the confusing part. And dropped ourselves into a long, wide valley.
We found our way up the hill -- riding, hiking, riding, hiking...
And enjoyed ourselves and our world completely.
We summitted the last pass of the day -- and it promptly started POURING! YIPPIIIEEE!!!
We landed at Cataract Lake. We set up camp in a break in the storm, and we moved into our home for the night.
Home SWEET Home!!!!
The rain was consistent and strong enough -- and the temperature cold enough -- that we decided to all move into the same tent house for the night. And good thing, too -- as LW's Leaf Tarp was covered in a bit of ICE in the morning. We unfurled our packs and dried up as best as we could. We compared dinners, ate, and promptly settled in for a rather soaking (but dry and safe) night of sleep.
The day wound up to be quite eye-opening for me. It was the tip of the ice-berg in perspective-changes on bikepacking, adventuring, confidence, skills and strengths. It opened up my heart in many ways. And this was only Day 1.
So grateful for Day 1 -- and my Comrades in Adventure.