We slept to the sounds of a babbling brook and awoke to a gorgeously sunny morning smack dab in the middle of the San Juans. It was a awesome day to be alive. Here’s a shot of our camp.
I’ll tell you exactly how to get there if you agree to support me on a one year bike trip
We did some laundry and hung it out to dry.
Then Kerry set off to work on her Macro photography skills.
I think the second one is fantastic, no?
The laundry took a while to dry so we hung out and explored the other side of the river. We finally got packed up and started rolling sometime after 10:00 a.m.
Rather than re-live the experience of riding through the several inch deep gravel up near the Burro Bridge campground we chose to ride down along the Dolores River to highway 145 and then head north from there. Yea, the gravel was really that freakin scary. We had explored Bear Creek, the Sharkstooths, Priest Gulch, the Colorado Trail, Bolam Pass, and so on by mountain bike the previous summer so we were familiar with that area. We chose to head north through Rico and then up and over Lizard Head Pass as we hadn’t been there yet.
We stopped for lunch in Rico at Herk’s Café.
The food was reasonably good. We then headed up to the pass...
... and I pulled off to get some pictures. Kerry’s bike started acting up again – not starting. We had decided it must be some relay that was over heating for some reason, as waiting a few minutes seem to cure the issue and then the bike would start again. We rolled on enjoy the schwoopty turns down towards Telluride.
Just past an unmarked dirt road to the south I pulled over to a gravel shoulder and we discussed whether or not to head up and over Ophir Pass. I new the route wasn’t marked as supposedly the residents of Ophir like it that way. Since we had been into the Opus Hut and skied several days up around Ophir Pass this past March we decided it would be fun to see the area without snow. Right about now it starts raining so we get our Frog Togs out and put on our rain gear - hadn't needed that in a few days. Then we... uh, I started up my bike to go but Kerry's wouldn't start. We'd been sitting a while, long enough for our let it cool off and then it will start theory to be blown. We pull the seat and start investigating. Great - I am working on electrical stuff in the rain. I pulled the bar that locks the battery in place to get to the leads so I could check them. Huh - look at that - the positive battery terminal is really loose
. We tightened that back up - problem solved - and we're on our way. About 1/2 a mile up the road towards Ophir it stops raining so we pull off our rain gear and stuff it back into our luggage. Gotta love the adventure
Here’s a shot coming into Ophir. Sorry, it's a bit out of focus....
The town is actually much nicer than what I had expected. Most of the houses were not shacks and everything was well kept. I could do without their annoying signs, speed bumps, and speed dips though. Seriously, do they have punks on crotch rockets blasting through her doing wheelies at 2 a.m. or something?
Anyway…. On up to the pass. The north side of this pass is quick rocky and lose, and the road is benched so the drop off to the right side should be given plenty of respect.
As slip in the wrong direction could send you for the last ride of your life. I am certain such thoughts were buzzing through Kerry’s head. As far as I could tell she pretty much pinned it in 2nd
gear and just hung on for dear life all the way to the top.
Our first “real” pass. It felt pretty good. But frankly, slogging up here on skis with four day’s worth of food and wine, crossing multiple avalanche paths seemed much safer.
Let me digress....
Some chillin on the sunny deck at the hut...
And on the last day it dumps something like 20" over night. We got powder turns in March.... sweet as.
And now back to the regularly scheduled program.....
After a brief rest we started down the south side which was much gentler.
We came around a corner and all of a sudden we were back in New Zealand herding sheep by motorcycle. WTF?
We made it down safely and without any further excitement. The south side has a much nicer road. We stopped in Silverton to gas up and restock our box of wine. Thanks to our friends in Crested Butte we realized that camping without wine was really not an option. I have fully embraced the wine in a box concept.
We headed up towards Animas Forks looking for a place to camp. We ended up here:
Another HDR image – but the place really was this surreal.