Whew, another whirlwind week. If you would have told me a week ago as I was setting out on the San Juan Huts that I would now be in Arizona I never would have believed you, but as life so often does, Mark and I were thrown a curveball on the third leg of our trip.
The first leg from Telluride to Last Dollar Hut was a bit of a curveball. As we looked at the description it read that we would be riding 14.7 miles on gravel roads. Being that hardcore mountain biker that I am I was a little disapointed, but sucked it up and decided we should leave by noon or so, so we would get to the hut early afternoon and hang out there for a while. Well, we left about 12:15 with fully loaded B.O.B. trailers that weighed twice the amount I thought they would, and as soon as we left Telluride we started climbing, up past the Airport thats on a huge mesa and up to the top of Last Dollar Pass. That little 14.7 miles ended up taking us about 5 hours.
The views from the top were breathtaking and we got some good pictures. The next day we were treated to a nice fat descent and then another 20 miles of rolling gravel. The second hut was awesome as well, nestled in some aspen trees just off a forest access road.
We set off on the third day for 33.1 miles of up and then down, ending at the same altitude we started at. By mile 2 or 3 it started misting, mile 5 it was raining, mile 7 the snow started and by the time we had climbed up to mile 9 it was nearly a soaking wet white out. Since we were only a little over a fourth of the way through the route, still climbing, and couldn't feel many appendages, we made the call and flipped it back to the hut we had come from. Now, for any of you who have ever gotten really cold on a climb, the descent is guarenteed to be twice as bad. I know that Scott is familiar with this phenomena because we almost died on HWY 34 descending from Estes last spring. So Mark and I made it to the hut, made a fire, warmed up a little, dried out all the clothes we'd been wearing, and sat inside as it continued to rain, snow, and sleet, the rest of the day.
The next morning we left really early and headed for Telluride. We rode about 15 miles of gravel back to HWY 62, descended 10 miles to Placerville, CO. then climbed 16 long steep miles back to Telluride up HWY 145? I think. We got into town to find all the campgrounds were full, so we drove on to Durango, for a day before we decided to go spend a few days in Phoenix with my favorite Aunt Brenda, and wonderful Uncle Dave. We had a blast there, and now we're in Flagstaff to do some riding before heading on to the Grand Canyon and then Moab later tonight.
Thats my last week, if any of you actually read this far, please leave a comment at the end and you will be given a free personal pan pizza at Pizza Hut because I'm pretty sure this marathon update will cover all of the stars you needed for the month. I'll try to check in again soon.