When most people go camping, they find a home base and stay there a few nights. We try to do that, since moving around gets exhausting, but it doesn't always work when there's lots of trails to be explored. So our trips often get turned into a whirl-wind of riding, running and hopefully just chilling out and relaxing for a little. This weekend was no different. With only two days instead of the usual three, we were even more pressed for time to adventure.
Saturday was a Buffalo Creek day. We thought about riding the new Little Scraggy loop, but Nick really wanted to hit up Blackjack. So Little Scraggy with have to wait a few more weeks for us. We took the standard route up from the parking lot - the exposed climb of Nice Kitty. It's not that bad of a climb, just long and exposed. And it was hot. There were some puffy white clouds building on the horizon, but nowhere close enough to help cool things off. At the top of Nice Kitty, we continued on the perimeter loop we had planed - hoping to avoid some of the crowds on Little Scraggy. The loop included Green Mountain - a trail we haven't been on in a while. Clockwise might not have been the best choice of directions for that trail - a long long climb, followed by a short little descent. As we started the climb up Gas House, the clouds were building - growing more ominous to the west and north. One of the things I was working on during this ride was eating on the go a little better - and remembering to keep nibbling during the entire ride. I'm okay with this during my solo rides, but get caught up trying to keep up when riding with the boys and forget. Not this time. I was doing a good job of getting the food when it was safe and without stopping. Those clouds were now rumbling as we hit Charlies Cutoff. Close rumbling with some very nearby lightening strikes. Not the kind of weather I wanted to be heading towards exposed, ridgelines. I've lived in Colorado long enough - I know you don't mess with the thunderstorms! So Blackjack will have to wait as well. No matter how fun a trail might be, if the weather is such that it's not safe to ride, then I'm not going to ride it. Live to play on the rocks another day...
We debated staying at Buff Creek for the night so we could ride Little Scraggy and Blackjack Sunday, but opted to move on. Saturday night was spent in the dispersed camping outside Jefferson, We were minutes from the CT where we camped and that was the goal for Sunday morning. We got up, had coffee and breakfast and got ready to ride. In 10 minutes, we were on the CT, heading north and up towards Georgia Pass. The goal was just to ride as high as we could since I'd heard that snow was still blocking the trail closer to the pass. Thanks to the early start and the location, we didn't see anyone else on the climb up. It was quiet and cool and the only other life on the trail the plentiful mosquitos. Don't stop pedaling! I was swarmed every time we stopped. We made decent time to the start of the snow, but after the first long drift, we decided to turn around. There were other adventures to be had. Now the early start meant traffic. We were heading down and starting to see other riders climbing up. Lots of stopping and letting them through, but it was anticipated. That stretch of CT from Kenosha to Georgia is hard - but so much fun. And there's still more trails back there to explore.
Finally it was time to do a little more recon on the Sheep Mountain Course. We drove to Fairplay, scouted out the two crew access points so Nick will know where he's going and then headed to the Sheep Creek trail. I was going to run a few miles and Nick would ride again. Just enough to get another sample of the singletrack I'll be facing in a few weeks...
|Starting it out right with the obligatory columbine photo...|
|The fearsome wildlife at our campsite - the stream flows in the morning and dries out in the afternoon|
|Looking towards Mount Guyot and plotting...|
|A mountain biker in it's natural habitat... Singletrack!|
|Sheep Creek trail!|
|Looking North from Sheep Creek trail. Sheep mountain and Brown's Pass - two weeks|
|This is going to be interesting - at the junction of 12 mile trail and sheep creek trail. Which will be about mile 22|