Saturday - sandwiched between two Canyon Creek runs. It was time for some serious Vapor scouting - and then some serious fun. With Greg along for the ride (welcome to Colorado, lets go spend some time above tree line!) we had a big loop in mind. I figured it would take us about 5.5 hours, including stops and such. Up Old Monarch Pass, across the Continental Divide Trail to Hwy 50. Then onto the Monarch Crest Trail to Agate Creek Trail. It was all new for Greg - and Agate Creek would be new for me. A big loop - over 40 miles with plenty of climbing, fun singletrack and creek crossings. Lots of creek crossings....
The day started out silly, with another rider cruising around camp, desperately looking for a pair of spd shoes to borrow. She was doing Canyon Creek and had left her shoes at home (?) but was still hoping for a solution. I happened to have two pairs of shoes - my Rimes and my winter shoes. My winter shoes happen to be a size larger then my others so I can wear two pairs of socks. They also happened to be just the size she was looking for. So I went out on a limb and took a chance. One day I might need something from someone - or might need the Karma...
The climb up Old Monarch Pass was steady - and a nice warm up for what was coming. We rode comfortable, climbing towards the sky. A few stops along the way and we reached the Continental Divide. A fun section trail connecting the old with the new and we darted across the Highway. Time to face the Crest for a few miles.Greg was starting to get tired - between the altitude and the terrain, it was proving a long day. We passed Fooses Creek and Green Creek, catching some of the 10:00 shuttle riders as we headed further from the pass. I'm not sure what some of them were thinking - they were so clearly out of their element it was scary. And they still had a long way to get to get down to somewhere safe...
Meanwhile, we had Agate Creek. Nick's done that trail twice and said it was fun but a little wet. I was looking forward to it - a fun descent with new challenges. It started out steep and chunky as we dropped towards the trees. Line picking was very important up there as I bounced from rock to rock. Then into the trees and the trail opened up into fast and flowing, like a scene from Starwars. Couldn't help but grinning as I chased Nick between the trees. That all changed as we reached the creek. The first few crossings weren't too bad - feet got a little wet as we splashed through. I almost ran over a little fish on one of them! Each one got deeper and faster until we were finally forging the river, carrying our bikes. No pictures - I was too focused on keeping upright in the chilly water. Shoes and socks soaked and no chance of drying. It was over too soon and time to climb out of the canyon. Back to reality, which meant the descent down Hwy 50 and the climb back up Tomichi road to the campground.
|Me and Greg, cruising up Old Monarch Pass Road. All smiles at that point,|
|At the top of Old Monarch - you know you're friends when this is the "serious" pose!|
|Greg coming down the Continental Divide Trail at the crossing of Monarch Pass|
|Nick and Greg on Monarch Crest Trail - silhouetted against the mountains|
|Nick actually posing for a picture! On Monarch Crest Trail|
|Nick and Greg getting ready for the descent of Agate Creek|