Above the sky

View of the ride - looking north on the CDT towards Tincup Pass and more mountains
Well, almost. Nick trusted me with the map again this weekend and we decided to explore a little out of St. Elmo. More scouting and learning things! Not as big a day this time, but plenty of big views, fun single track, tough hills and alpine riding. We started right out of the campground and headed up. No downhills for a while - just up. The north side of Hancock Road is an old railroad bed, so the grade was nice and gentle. Very different then the straight up, hike-a-bike pushing of the south side of Hancock Pass! Every so often, pink flagging marked the course for the Vapor Trail 125, which would start later that evening. We rode by the old trestle, through the abandoned town, taking in huge views the entire time. Then we reached the Alpine Tunnel Trail - take two on the steep hike-a-bike to cross over the Continental Divide! Nick rode most of it - only had to walk a few short sections. I did a lot more walking, but less then when we did the huge day a month ago. But this time we weren't crossing the Divide. We were going to head north on the Continental Divide Trail, paralleling the divide as we traversed through gulches and across alpine streams. And solitude. The only sounds were our breathing, the soft crunch of our tires or footsteps and the scoldings from the marmots and pikas.
Riding on the Alpine Tunnel Trail - an old narrow gauge railroad bed

Nick riding near the summit of the Alpine Tunnel trail
Me riding (finally!) just after some of the hike-a-bike on Alpine Tunnel Trail
There was more hike-a-bike on some of the steep pitches, but overall, it was a fun trail. The isolation made the rocks seem bigger, the narrow trail winding among willows and through the tundra. Off in the distance I could see our destination - Tincup Pass Road. It would take a few more miles of riding - meandering through the meadows before we finally dropped back below the trees. The narrow, untamed single track suddenly shifted to manicured turns and rock free switchbacks. We descended further into the trees as the trail plunged from the alpine heights towards the road. It was fun but a huge change from the prior hours worth of riding. And there were people again. Back to reality of the ATVs, hunters and tourists in St Elmo.

Tunnel Lake Trail - the CDT. Touching the sky!
Nick riding away from me towards the first of three ridgelines on Tunnel Lake trail
Looking at the second ridgeline, about to start the short descent

Nick coming down from the second ridge


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