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ride
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My wife and kids were out of town for a few days so it seemed like the perfect opportunity for some back country exploration. My favorite kind of getting lost. I took off over Rocky Mt Nat'l Park seeking out some of Grand Counties lesser known gems. Or, I wanted to find out if what I thought would be gems really were.

Day 1. Up early an over Fall River Road thru the park. I headed to the Stillwater area and set up camp. Close family friends have cabins nearby and I was relatively familiar with the area. That, coupled with several different maps and some intentionally misleading information and I was set. The info I received from a local was something to the extent of "too much beatle kill and foresting, you won't get thru. That ride is a bust." Right. Is it just me or does that type of info just prod you on more?

Not exactly secret stash, as the area is a destination rec area and moto playground.


quad tracks are fun. Even though they are wide, they're nice and bermy and offer a couple of lines.


but all quad, moto, and jeep tracks must end somewhere.


The singletrack afterwards was fantastic.


fantastic, I say.


I got up to about 11,500' on this one. I likey the tundra.


I also likey the views. This is Bowen Lake.


I've wanted to hit this trail for roughly 15 years. The wait was worth it.


It wasn't frequently travelled. That's ok.


I guess I did uncover some secret stash. Anyone been squatting lately?


more twisty and turny quad track back to camp


where the beer was waiting. I know, I know, it's all I had.


Day 2 was set to be more of an exploring day. I had no idea what I was getting into. The plan was to park near Arapahoe Bay on Lake Granby.


the plan called for Doe Creek to Strawberry West to Caribou to Meadow Creek Res. From the res out and back on High Lonesome. I really wanted to get to the res then play it by ear from there.

Doe Creek was good. Not used too much but travelled enough to be there. I was wearing a bright colored jersey - apparently the hummingbirds thought I was a flower. About 10 of them swooped in on me, hovered, and took off.


Strawberry West was awesome. Super mellow and beautiful. From there, I had heard that the intersection with Caribou was near impossible to find. It was nor worn, but I found it.


before too long, I was seriously bushwhacking. The trail was up a tight and rocky gulch and was super duper overgrown. Not really fun, even for me. After Caribou joined with the other trail (Caribou on some maps, Strawberry Creek on others) I thought I was good.

The trail wasn't too bad, but I did lose it again in a high meadow swamp. Nothing like trudging around in 3" deep water and waist high shrubs. After scaring a big ass bull moose a little too close for comfort, I found the trail again. Shortly after and I was at Meadow Creek Res. Not a bad place for lunch.


Next, on with a classic.


High Lonesome did not dissapoint.


It was a bit marshy in one spot, though.


Anyone lose a dog? Right around the marsh, this Husky was playing in the water and decided to join me. No tags and no owner. I tried to shoo him away but he wouldn't go. Ok. He ended up being a truly great trail dog, too.


I got to the highest point of High Lonesome, took a breather and looked at the map. It was about 900' down to the end of the trail, I was 5+ hours in on the ride and clouds were starting to form. I bailed on my original plan and turned around. I had been mostly climbing up to this point. I figured that I'd be about 2 hours back to the car once I hit Meadow Creek Res again.

I'm not one to sticking with the plan, though, even if it's a plan I made up on the fly. I was back to that damn Caribou trail. Going down it, I was sure to find my way and not bushwhack thru the swamp, right?

It was well marked at the beginning.

Nice and rocky, too. Much more fun going down.


Aha! Found the trail this time. See?


Once I got back to the intersection, I decided to take the "other" Caribou, known on some maps as Strawberry Creek. It was not frequently travelled, and was steeper than crap. I was about 6.5 hours in at this time and relegated myself to hiking mode. Once at the top, it was faint but good.


I got heading down and it got really, really good. Good if you like super steep and kinda treacherous. My arms and legs were both wiped after the descent. About 1000' in a matter of minutes. Good stuff.

i encountered this bridge at the bottom. First thought was, "awesome, more bushwhacking and hike a bike. Great."


But it was not so. Strawberry Creek ended up being one of the best things of my ride.

Good stuff, really.

Even complete with great scenery.


As it turned out, the best was last. The Strawberry Lake trail dumped about 1000' down to the dirt road on Lake Granby. It was steep, switchbacky, loose, and extra rocky. After 7.5 hours, I was happy to clean it.


I underestimated the time back to the Jeep on the road, though. I thought it would be a quick 5-10 minute ride on a nice dirt road. The dirt road was nice. Nice and uphill. I was super tired at this point, too. I think it was only a couple of miles but it took me about 25 min. At least there was refreshing beer in the cooler.

All in all, I got about 65 miles, 13 hours of riding, lots of climbing, lots of descending, and lots of route finding over the course of 2 days.

It was good to get away. Summer is almost over. Get out!
 

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carpe mañana
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That looks like a great Dave ride; great report. :thumbsup:

_MK
 

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Moosehead
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Schweet! Haven't bushwacked up there yet, thanks for the shots Dave. Why does it feel like your short rides are my long rides, and that your long rides are more hours than I could sleep? BTW, loving the wheelset.

We've only seen the Bull Moose up there from the car, must be cool from the bike. There's tons of bald eagles nesting up on Shadow Mtn Lake and up the CO River out of Granby.
 

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ride
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the link, BadAndy. Not sure if it was the same dog. This one had a purple collar and no tags. Looked a little thicker, too. He started following me at the Junco Lake Trailhead and went south on High Lonesome with me for a while. When I turned around and rolled back thru that trailhead, the dog stayed. Probably liked the water. Looked like he was well fed though.

Cocavaak - the Stillwater area had a lot of good flowy stuff and also a lot of jeep road and quad track and is heavily travelled by motos. I think being there late on a Sunday was good. The day 2 ride was totally hit and miss. Some bits were good and other bits sucked walking thru swampland or bushwacking thru rocky overgrown gulches. You could put together a really good couple hour loop on the Doe/Strawberry stuff, though.

Moosehead - seeing that bull moose was kinda cool and kinda not cool if you know what I mean. He was only about a hundred feet away. Snorted and stomped a couple times, then took off. I was glad that he went another direction. Oh, and you've got to check that stuff out. I camped right off of Kewaneechee (sp?) Rd, went up the Supply Routes, out to the Wilderness Boundary on Blue Ridge, then back down Wolverine, Gilsonite, and Spruce 'Em Up Jack back to camp. It involved lots of map checking and route finding, but I could probably do it again without a map now. Check it out - it's good.
 

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ride
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
FF, you guys will definitely dig that area on moto. There's tons of dispersed camping off of Kewaneechee Road and Stillwater Road. Check out the Trails Illustrated Rand/Stillwater map. You could cover a ton of ground up there with a motor.
 

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Jeez, Dave, you really get back there. Looks like you're getting in epic shape so when you get to CB you'll suggest some 50 miler...you might get some strange looks but I know you'll be serious:cool:
 

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Oh, So Interesting!
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ignazjr said:
seeing that bull moose was kinda cool and kinda not cool if you know what I mean. He was only about a hundred feet away. Snorted and stomped a couple times, then took off. I was glad that he went another direction...
The one that pulled onto the trail 25 ft. in front of me a couple years ago was really scary, especially sice it was during the fall when they get more aggressive. It looked like his antlers were 12 ft off the ground. I was pretty sure there was nothing I could have done if he wanted to trample me. Way better to see Moose from a distance... :D
 
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