Continental Divide Trail - Page 10
I slept well at the hostel and woke up at 5:30. Nobody else was up and it was still dark, so I
went downstairs to sit on the couch and wait for dawn. I headed out at 6:30. From Salida, it
was 30 miles and over 3,000 vertical feet to Marshall Pass. I rode the whole way up, but
was very aware that I could have taken a shuttle instead.
I topped the pass at 11:30 and headed down. I stopped at the first stream I saw for lunch. I
was coming in fast and thought it would be fun to brake hard for a quick stop. I hit loose
gravel and crashed. Now I have a scraped up leg and the handlebar tape on the bike is
messed up. It was stupid and my fault. I guess I won't do that again.
While I was enjoying lunch, a car that I'd passed on the way down stopped. The driver had
a heavy German accent and asked if I was from around here. I said no. He showed me a
piece of notebook paper with a straight line intersected with a squiggly line. At the top of the
squiggly line was written bathroom. He asked if I knew where that was. I told him there
was a bathroom at the top of the pass, but since there wasn't actually any information on
his map, it could be any bathroom. He headed up the pass.
I stopped at a gas station where the route turned onto pavement for snacks. From there, I
rode 12 miles to my turn onto gravel. It was only 10 miles to the reservoir I intended to
camp at, but it was all uphill and into the wind on loose gravel. If there had been any place
to stop, I would have, but it was all wide open rangeland with no water.
I managed not to drop dead from exhaustion before reaching the forest service camp at the
reservoir. When I got there, I was immediately reminded why I never camp at forest service
campsites. There was a motorhome there and they had two little yippie dogs running
around unleashed and constantly barking. I was prying a mountain lion would leap out
from behind a bush and eat one of them, but no such luck.
I'm too tired to pack up and leave, so I'll just put in my earplugs and go to bed.
I woke up to the barking of small dogs. I filled my water bottle and started a big climb up to
10,000 ft. Cochetopa Pass. From there, it was a big downhill followed by an even bigger
uphill to the top of Carnero Pass. The ride down from Carnero was really pretty. I followed
a narrow winding gravel road through pine trees and giant rock outcroppings. The only
downside was the intermittent rain.
I started my next climb after crossing a river near the tiny town of La Garita. It looked like a
thunderstorm was about to pass over, so I stopped to wait it out. I waited an hour and
nothing happened, so I started riding. As soon as I did, it started to pour. There was a little
hail thrown in for fun. It was a miserable 20 miles to Del Norte. As soon as I hit town, it
stopped raining. I stopped at the Subway for a couple of five dollar footlongs.
I met another long distance rider at Subway. He was doing a road tour of Colorado and
had about five times as much stuff as me. We were both looking for a place to camp.
There were a couple of trail angels in Del Norte listed on my map.
Gary and Patti were great folks. I got my second shower in three days, a salad, and a
campsite. It turned out they knew the other rider, Rob, from way back, so we all had a good
It's been a month since I've headed out from Banff. I've gone almost 2100 miles on this trip
and have less than a thousand to go. I still wish I was hiking, but I'm looking forward to
finishing and seeing Kelly again.
I took off early this morning, grabbed a greasy breakfast burrito at the gas station, and
started climbing. From Del Norte, it's a steep 4,000 foot climb to the top of 11,910 foot
Indian Pass, the highest peak on my ride, so I needed the fuel.
About an hour into my ride, I had to make an emergency pit stop due to the burrito. As I
pulled off the road, I kicked up a big rock that went into the back wheel and popped back
out. I finished the pit stop and resumed climbing. When I shifted into low gear, the chain
came off the inside of the cassette and into the spokes and the rear derailleur caught the
spokes and bent over to the side. Apparently, the rock had bent some things and now I'd
made things a lot worse. I spent an hour bending, tweaking and adjusting, but managed to
get the bike shifting properly again, so I consider myself very lucky.
I stopped at a pleasant little bridge to eat some crackers. An old guy in a pickup stopped to
tell me there was a bear walking up the road and it was just about to come around the
bend, so I decided I'd had enough crackers for the time being and continued uphill. I think
the climb to the top of Indian Pass was the hardest on the whole divide. It was really long,
and really steep. I managed to ride most of it, so I'm proud of myself. There wasn't a sign
at the top with the elevation, which was kind of a bummer.
|8.24.2010 - 9:00 AM phone message
I'm in Bel Norte, Colorado ready for the
biggest climb of the Trail - 4,000 feet.
After the pass, I went by the site of the old Summitville Mine. Half of the mountain has been
stripped away and is now eroding and contaminating all the nearby streams with mercury
and other goodies. It's now an EPA Superfund site.
I passed a really pretty red mountain and had only six miles to get to the town of Platoro
when it started to rain. It wasn't going to be a quick six miles because it was 1,000 feet up
and 1,000 feet down. It rained harder and harder as I climbed and when I got to the top, it
started hailing. It hailed hard and it hurt. I had to go downhill at a crawl because the hail
hurt and because the road was getting slippery from all the hail on it. I reached the café at
Platoro utterly defeated and ordered a delicious hamburger. That finished, I sat by the fire
to warm up and dry off. Two other riders came in a few hours later. They only got rain. No
The lady who owns the café said we could camp out front if we got breakfast in the
morning. It was a tough decision, but we're camping here. It seems to be a good spot, but
somebody's horses got out and I had to chase them away so they wouldn't trip over my tent.
I started a new map today. Platoro, Co to Pie Town, NM. 431 miles.