A chilly morning in Telluride starts our day. The campground is full of sleepy campers packing up. Han got up early and headed to the Steaming Bean, where Jason and I later met him for lattes. We sat at the little round table planning our route, showing Jason the maps, and finding camping. Before breakfast I perused a bookstore and picked up some latest published Kerouac journals.
After slowly packing our campsite, the three of us head out of town right into the jaws of a cold front. It’s ominously dark and a cold wind starts blowing us around. We press on through some sprinkles and up towards the mountains. By the time we hit the dirt the sun is shining.
It was a perfect day of riding, short steep rocky inclines laced in with grassy meadow lanes. Sandy banked declines intertwined with smooth soft dirt. We had some navigation issues because the road was sometimes undistinguished from it’s surroundings, but we ventured on, exploring the depths of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains.
We climbed the Uncompahgre Plateau before descending and finding our way to the Delores River. A forgotten campground sat on the river’s edge and our site had a little path covered with tall grasses and Willow bushes that led to the river. We pumped water for drinking, I bathed in the icy cold river while the boys scoured for firewood, and we made dinner, our backs warmed by the fire.
The smell and tinker sounds of ready made coffee woke Han and I from our chilly slumber. Jason was able to lure us out of bed with the fresh pot. We took turns jumping in the river again before heading out.
An easy grid of gravel roads led us over the Colorado-Utah border in to Monticello where we ate a quick lunch before heading towards the La Sal mountains. When the road changed to pavement Han and Jason switched bikes. I pulled up along Han as he stopped and he looked over and said “this thing is awesome, I wish you could ride-” but before he could finish, the bike was teetering over uncontrollably and Jason’s brand new bike was taking a rest. Used to the lightweight WR, Han forgot he couldn’t wobble the heavier Tiger between his legs.
The trail gradually became more difficult as the terrain changed and Jason was able to test his Tiger. We climbed and descended to climb again. He and the bike met the challenge. We knew Moab was somewhere over the peak but we were pushing daylight.
We decided to go down a small trail just before the Geiser Pass to find a camp spot. A technical downhill detour left us a little timid for the next morning’s climb but we stood in awe of our campsite. A stream heading towards the lake trickled trough and a rocky mountain was just through the trees. Before de-gearing we headed to the base and scrambled up, admiring the view and taking in the beginning of dusk.
10,400 feet was the highest we’d slept yet, but the fire was hot and we were tired.