Back in August of 2016, my brother contacted me to see if I wanted to reserve a spot on the bike hut trip between Telluride and Moab. It sounded pretty sweet, but other than that I knew almost nothing about it, so obviously I agreed. I didn't even know where I would be living or working, but I figured it would work out. Ryan organized the whole trip, and Jordan was able to make it work too. Just getting to Telluride is pleasant. There's delightful scenery with only the occasional festering gash in the hillsides created by the living quarters of the rich and famous. If Vail or Aspen is too plebian, move to Telluride! They have dog catcher vehicles everywhere, but they are for poor people. We were decidedly riff-raff, so we had to be careful not be picked up in one of the town's infamous peasant sweeps.
The hotel owner took one look at me as we pulled in and started dialing the peasant catchers, but I saved the day by looking at him like he was algae, demanding a hotel slave take my bags, and berating him about the lack of valet. Then I said, "Take me to my rooms so I can change out of these peasant clothes! We have a dinner with Oprah." The man, sufficiently convinced we were no mere peasants, looked much more comfortable and did as I said. Once in our rooms, we hid quietly so we wouldn't be sent to the gulags to be lifties for the rest of our lives.
The next morning we slipped through a still sleeping town to get some breakfast then boarded the gondola and headed up the mountain. The trip started out with some awesome unearned downhill.
|A quick pre-trip selfie that we could send to friends and family if we were picked up by the peasant police so they had something to remember us by.|
|Pretty single track|
|Nearing the first hut with storms over Wilson Peak. (Or maybe it's Mt. Wilson)|
|A herd of sheep peacefully grazing and polluting the surface water up near the hut.|
|Our first hut had a sweet wood stove.|
|We made peach cobbler that first night. Turned out pretty good.|
The next day was mostly on dirt roads, but had incredible scenery. I actually really enjoyed riding the dirt roads. It was quick, and allowed for plentiful opportunities to gape at the visuals.
|The rolling grasslands of the Uncompahgre Plateau are very picturesque.|
|Isaac riding through a nice grove of Aspen|
We got to the hut quickly due to the smooth riding, had some snacks, and then Ryan, Jordan, and I headed out for some single/double track. Isaac worked on his dissertation. This was a fun little side trip that involved steep and exciting double track off of the plateau, followed by a session in the pain cave to get back up the plateau to the hut.
|Back at the hut, we played some horseshoes.|
|Making some Asian fusion.|
|We dined on french toast and bacon the next morning.|
The next day started off on some single track, got on some roads for a bit, and then back on some single/double track. We managed to go between two big thunderstorms, but the trails did not. That day involved some pretty good muddin' on the single track. There was an escape route on the roads if muddin' was not as fun as it sounds. Jordan and I stuck it out, and the trails slowly dried out.
|Isaac riding into some aspens|
|Jordan washing his bike after some good muddin'.|
|No pasta is complete without a copious amount of cheese.|
|The coolness of the rocks is hard to describe...just so, so cool.... You can sit on them, you can stand on them, you can stack other rocks on them. The options are just endless.|
|Views from the road|
|Starting through the beautiful aspens on the Bench Trail|
|Discussing how fun muddin' on a bike is...|
|These boys say they've had enough of muddin'.|
|The cow camp at the end of the Bench Trail. Very idyllic except for the smell of fresh cow diarrhea.|
1) What we thought were cows, are in fact dirtbikes. He told us just how much dirtbikes tear the shit out of the bench trail. We didn't see any signs of dirtbikes, but we did see a lot of damage from cattle. The only logical conclusions were that he confused dirtbikes and cattle, or we did. We are not from the area, so it stands to reason that the expert would know.
2) It is hard to defend calves from hoards of evil, marauding "bear." He wasn't one using the letter "s" for plural, especially when it came to "bear."
3) He doesn't get down to Grand Junction were much because everytime he does, he ends up "pistol whippin' somebody!!"
4) His wife doesn't let him drive when they go to Denver because he always ends up "a road ragin'."
5) It's hard to find good workers nowadays. Few people have the skills it takes to mend a fence, and even worse teachers are ruining kids' work ethic by telling them they are princesses. "I told that teacher to go to hell!"
6) The world has changed a lot in the last ten to twenty years, definitely for the worse.
That evening put us at a nice hut, which was my favorite. It was an extremely peaceful location at an old ranch. The horses grazed contentedly in the late afternoon sunlight. Everything seemed just right.
|Jordan blasts down a truly fun section of single track on the way to the hut.|
|Relaxing at the hut and enjoying the pleasant surroundings.|
|Early in the day found us at Big Creek Reservoir|
|Big Creek Reservoir|
|Flowers near Big Creek Reservoir|
|Working our way down the single track.|
|Getting into sage brush country. This section was like a bobsled track. Very fun.|
|The end of the single track had some nice visuals overlooking Gateway valley.|
|Then came the long descent into the valley via steep dirt road|
|This road went downhill for many miles.|
|The hut at Gateway was toasty, but thankfully next to a river, which was nice to soak in.|
|Luckily, the hut was also close to this old school bus...|
|Heading out of Gateway Valley in the early morning light.|
|The worst of the climb over, we ate through the miles approaching the La Sal Mountains hut.|
|Castleton Valley. Castleton Tower is always so cool to look at.|
|At the top of the climb, I saw a critter.|
|This spot is very commonly photographed along the Porcupine Rim for good reason.|
|The La Sals make for a nice backdrop when looking back up the trail.|
|More nice visuals.|
|Isaac and I rest our butts while looking at the desert scenery.|
Isaac navigates down some sandstone ledges.