Zen On Dirt

Day 21 – Endless trails and a solid whooping

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Edit: I find this post funny because there really weren’t any super-heinous climbs and most of the day we were exclaiming, “Now THIS is what we came out here for.” But…I was tired when I wrote this at the end of the day after nearly losing my shit trying to ride along a cliff-edge with the sun in my eyes. But the reason I’m writing these nightly is to capture that tired. So, unedited: one of the best days of trail out there. It really was.

I’m whooped. If you look at the distance we rode today, or the elevation profile, there’s no reason we should be as tired as we are. But, as it turns out, when you ride trail for the majority of the day, and not just any trail but CDT trail, elevation and distance aren’t fair measures of effort.

We left our idyllic little campsite after a breakfast cobbled together from the hiker box at Ghost Ranch. Our tarp had done well, even though it only pitter pattered rain while we were still awake. This is the first time that Scott and I have slept under a shelter together…we are so spoiled rotten.

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The day was…slow? I don’t want it to come across as bad or negative, because it was some of the best trail that we’ve ridden this trip, but there was nothing fast about anything we rode today. And nothing easy. There were no freebie miles to be had.

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Staying at high altitudes, the roads were still saturated from the recently melted snow, making for soft surfaces, and mud puddle avoidance maneuvers. But it wasn’t long until we hit the “real” trail. The first CDT singletrack that we’d ridden since south of Cuba. Scott did a happy dance.

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Delightful. Down a nice creek, flowing trail.

Then a heinous climb out.

Then another short flowing descent.

Then a heinous climb out.

Wolf! We saw a wolf!

Some flat, beautiful, aspen meadow filled trail.

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Then a heinous climb out.

It sort of felt like we were climbing all day, but then I think back to the fun descents, and I know it’s not true. But it was a hard day for the legs. I was worked when we finally got to the river we were gunning for. Climbing out of the river valley to camp proved difficult.

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Check out the aspen/pine hybrid!

Still, today was endless beautiful aspen groves. Wide open meadows. Some place where trail existed. Other places were we were making our way across boggy marshes. Some tech. Some smooth. A little bit of everything.

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We ended our day with a short but steep scramble up from trail to a wide open mesa. Elk are calling from both sides of us. The twilight is lasting for eons. The wind has finally died down. We have a view fit for kings and queens. It sort of feels like we are.

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