Zen On Dirt

Canyon Creek Drive By

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I think the conversation went something like this:

Scott: Schilling and I are planning on riding Canyon Creek on Friday. I think Kara (Schillings saint-like and ever-patient wife) is going to hang out at the Snowblind campground while we ride. Maybe you could go for a run while you wait?’

‘No way,’ I said indigently, ‘I want to ride Canyon Creek too.’

Now I get where Scott was coming from. I was only five days post-Ouray, but more importantly, I hadn’t really been that into riding bikes in the past few weeks.


Any day spent hanging out with marmots is a good day in my book

I’m not worried, this happens regularly. I get really into running and don’t ride, and then I get really into riding and don’t run. Balance is not a strong point of mine. I’m sure I’ll be back to riding bikes come Moab season this fall.

But this was Canyon Creek we were talking about, only the most amazing ride in Colorado. I mean, it sucks, don’t ride it. I hear Betasso outside of Boulder is riding fantastic right now.  


Schilling was on a two-week roadtrip that involved driving from Phoenix to the Mah Dah Hey race up in one of the Dakotas, riding as much as possible on the way. He ended up racing and being the last person to finish (an achievement that earned him a massive burrito), and was on his way back to Phoenix, again, riding as much as he possibly could.

He packs an amazing amount of adventuring into a two week period. It borders on even me calling it epic. Inspirational, for sure.


So we loaded up the Scamp from Gunnison and hauled it up to the Snowblind campground where Schilling and Kara were waiting.

Canyon Creek, in summary, is a few miles of reasonable dirt road, a few miles of gnarly jeep road, a half mile of rideable trail, a mile of hike-a-bike, and then nine miles of some of the best descending the state has to offer. It tops out at 12,600 feet, and ends up being a hair under 20 miles when all is said and done.

If the trail had easier access, everyone would ride it. But really, it’s a fairly decent entrance fee to be able to get to the downhill section.


It’s a good thing that Schilling and Scott are two of the best hike-a-bikers in the business, and that I was too far behind for them to hear my cursing and complaining. I really thought that trail running would make HAB easier, but I think all it’s done is atrophy my arms even more. I need to dig up a picture from when I was a swimmer and actually had some semblance of upper body strength. That’s long gone now…

But the descending, the descending makes it worth it. Even if I haven’t ridden serious trail in longer than I care to admit and was feeling anything but on my game. Luckily, the top half of the trail is more about riding in an amazing place, and the bottom part of the trail that’s in the trees is some of the most giggle-inducing trail I’ve ever laid tires on.


We showed up long after we were expected, which was a surprise to exactly no one.

Schilling and Kara headed towards Gunnison to spend a little bit of time in Crested Butte, and Scott and I headed towards a campsite outside of Salida. I had big adventuring plans for the weekend, and we too, were running late for a rendez-vous.

Recovery? Recovery is for people who can’t think of anything fun to do.


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