First stop: Lake Irwin, an impounded lake that is an apparently great fishing spot judging by the number of fisherpeople up at 10,000 ft on an iffy weather day.
Drew at the fancy reservoir outlet.After about 45 minutes of climbing, singletrack commenced.
It seemed like miles of flow-y singletrack ahead.
However, due to 7 days of rain and what we would come to know as typical CB under-maintained remote trail, we ended up hike-a-biking quite a bit as thunder warned us to keep off the ridge line.
During a previous bike vacation in Sun Valley, we had the unpleasant experience of encountering serious sheep dogs protecting their flocks. Today, we came upon sheep, and heard barking. We were wary.
But we managed to ring our bells and ride as fast as we could between ridges and thus avoided any canine encounters. We did not, however, manage to avoid rain. We had showers; the trails, on the other hand, had deluges earlier in the day. Muddiness. Still, the trails took the rain fairly well and we were able to ride some pretty wild sections.
Maybe we should have headed the “can be muddy when wet” advice on MTBR.com, but it’s all part of the adventure.
Hiding out in the only shelter around at the end of the singletrack.The trail proved to have miles of fun, remote singletrack, many streamlet crossings, open landscapes interspersed with beautiful and healthy aspen forests, and very, very few people. Not a bad choice for day one.
Post singletrack, we suffered through a long road climb back up and over Kebler Pass. At least there were good views.
The rain had subsided and our map showed a singletrack up and over the top of Kebler Pass that was a more direct and supposedly more off-road route than the road. The heavy equipment at the turn off to the singletrack should have signaled us that the trail was being turned into a road via an interim mud bog.
Back to the pavement and finally down to our happily waiting van.
Hooray for muddy bikes.
And post-ride snacks.
Snacks held us until we could properly re-hydrate at Brick Oven Pizzeria. 30 beers on tap!
We were so not in Utah anymore. The bartender was friendly and knowledgeable and the pizza was great. Perfect.
Beautiful sunset on Mount Crested Butte and down the valley to our campground.
The day's stats: 3 hrs 2 min ride time. 14.2 miles. 2415 feet of climbing.
Day 1 in the books. Epic? Not yet, but there is potential.