Zen On Dirt

CDT Day 36 – Finally gambled on a trail and won

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So here’s what I love about touring – you never, ever know what’s going to happen. Today was no exception.

Team Blueberry never showed up at the yurt, so we had a quiet night, falling asleep long before it actually got dark and sleeping like babies until the resident bluebird decided it was time to get up. He announced this by repeatedly flying against the windows at approximately 30 second intervals. This went on all morning…the alarm clock that you can’t shut off.


I got the fire going again and we indulged in not only hot chocolate but TWO cups of tea made on the propane stove. Luxury. We did all the chores – collect kindling, chop wood, get more water, pack bikes – and pondered our route down the mountain to Lake City.


We had two options – follow the CT for a few miles and drop down a dirt road, or gamble on a trail that dropped straight from the yurt and ended up 2,500 feet down on the valley floor. Given our history with random trails, we were hesitant when we first got to the yurt.

By morning, there wasn’t really a question.

When Scott brought up the issue, I told him, “There’s no point in even discussing this, we both know we’re going to take the trail.”

Something was going to happen.


We couldn’t find the entrance to it at first, but after some wandering around, we found a trail diving into the woods. What followed was six miles of mountain bike bliss.

Swoopy trails through aspen groves. Beautifully built switchbacks. Perfect bikepacking tech level.

We kept waiting for it to go to shit, but as we got closer to the bottom, we realized we’d stumbled upon one of the best descents we’d ever ridden in CO, and we’d never heard of it. Camp Trail. Have you?


At the bottom, all that remained between us and Lake City was an easy, downhill road pedal. We couldn’t stop grinning. So much better than CLIMBING on the CT and then going down a road.

We gambled. We won. We were stoked.


We headed straight to the TicToc diner for the best french toast and bacon that we’ve found this trip. The huevos rancheros were delicious too.

Then on to the Raven’s Rest hostel where we found 10 or so thru hikers taking zero days. Many of them we’d met at Ghost Ranch and had gotten ahead of us during our Durango layover. Trouble and The Dude we’d met just past the Gila way down in southern NM. Beards were longer. Clothing a little more worn. It was fun to catch up.

As happens on most down days, I’m not really sure where the afternoon went. A trip to the ice cream parlor for sundaes was definitely in there…but not a whole lot else. So now we’re well-fed, stocked up on food needed to get to Salida, and debating on whether we want to stay here another night or not.

But after two short-ish days, we’re feeling pretty good so we’ll probably push on with more good weather for the next three days.


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