9/11/2014-9/20/2014 2,002 miles- Salida, CO to Chaco Cultural National Historic Park, NM
Rain, snow, and mud welcome to the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route!
Rain clearing up as the sun goes down.
Indiana Pass, CO in the snow!
I left Del Norte, CO in a driving rainstorm. As I started the slow long climb up to Indiana Pass, 11,910 ft,(Highest Point on the route) I could feel the temp dropping. Slowly the cold rain turned to sleet, and then snow. At the top of the pass I found myself in a full on snow storm. For a brief moment I contemplated setting up camp and waiting it out, visions of waking up with a foot of snow on the ground kept me pedalling. I downed two granola bars for warmth and put on all my layers for the downhill. The downhill was excruciatingly cold at first, but after 8 miles the storm began to pass. Small patches of blue appeared between the clouds, and soon the sun was working some magic. I slowly began to warm up and dry out. The views of the snow dusted mountains in the distance were spectacular. On a long distance trip you can’t have the “tens” without the “zeros”.
Playing in the mud.
Fresh dusting of snow.
Approaching Elk Creek, Campground.
At Elk Creek campground I finally had an opportunity to dry out my cold wet clothes. I hung a line and put everything out in the sun to help it dry. The warmth of the sun was rejuvenating. I did notice a palpable stench coming from my riding clothes. Thinking back I realize that I hadn’t done laundry since Pinedale, WY. Turns out that was 19 days, and over 825 miles back!
Welcome to New Mexico!
Campsite at Chaco Canyon.
Getting into New Mexico I made a decision to leave the main route of the Great Divide. The decision was in part due to the conditions of the dirt roads, after days of ran the New Mexico dirt had turned to clay. In addition I really wanted to take a side trip to see Chaco Canyon. The side trip to Chaco turned out to be well worth it. I had a great day exploring the site.
Window into time.