Who the Hell is maadjurguer?

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I like to ski, mountain bike, drink beer, cook and listen to any jam band I can get my hands on; all while making a complete ass of myself. Hopefully this catharsis is as interesting to others as it is to me.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Vacation from my Vacation

Chollaball and I made bivy under a full moon and a sparkling Jupiter at the Phils World Trailhead outside of Cortez, CO.  As I drifted to sleep, I believe the last thought to cross my mind was...it won't rain tonight......"WAKE UP....IT'S RAINING!!"....these words jostled me from REM as we scrambled in the dark of the morning to cover with tarps....too late...the squall came down fast and windy.  Not wanting to soak my down bag on the 1st night...I crawled into the shaggin waggin and passed out once again.  Waking again to a torrential downpour in the grey light of dawn...we decided that there was no way we could ride in this...so we got breakfast, farted around in a bike shop in Cortez, sulked, drove to Durango, set up camp in the rain at Junction Creek....then releuctently ceded to the weather and headed into town to drink beer.  For two guys who are no strangers to beer drinking...the decision came hard.  We came to ride...and ride hard...and all we got was a steady rain and death mud all around us.

After 2 pints and 2 baskets of peanuts at Steamworks, we looked outside and noticed a weather window....so we saddled up with some cans of Ska and did some urban riding which was the best we could muster given the conditions.


The weather window lasted long enough for a single lap along the Animas....


and two beers....each....



Stairs were tried........


Beautiful bridges were crossed.....



More steps were discovered....


 As I set up shots, I noticed the things around me.....


....and then the shot came....the sound of the tires accelerating formed staccato notes in a crescendo, both in pitch and volume.....


....peering back up the stairs, Cholla's rear tire marks were left at the edge of every step...also in staccato fashion...all 42 of them.

Heading back to camp....we got dumped on in the middle of the night with thunder, lightning, hail....we fell asleep with a sense of dread that the best riding of the trip was going to be behind us.  Waking to clearing skies, alternatives were discussed.  Our original plan to ride Molas Pass to Cascade creek was out for the day, but we considered riding Phils if the trails could dry out by afternoon.

To occupy our time, I suggested we drive to Molas to poke around and make a call on our last day....I wanted to see if Molas would even be possible given the snowline at 11,000ft....otherwise we'd ride the High-Mesa trails at Gallup with our tail between our legs.


What we saw was beautiful and promising...the trails were drying out....we decided we could do the ride on our last day.  The last time I looked at this view...there was a lot more snow....and a lot more adrenaline....



Heading to our southwest, we drove to Phils world and rode the loop....



Even though the loop was not all I had expected it to be, it was good to spin for a while.


The last day dawned with bluebird....so we broke camp and started on the Colorado Trail at Molas Pass



From there, the views got better.....


....as we climbed into the alpine from treeline....




 .....Views of Engineer Mountain off to our SW appeared.  We would be on the left flank of that mountain by afternoon.....


Red Stripe....made me wish I had one in my hand.....

Can you see the CTR contouring around the peaks in the distance?  We'll be on all of them in the coming hours.....

At 930....I felt a need for a mid-morning snack....


Small waterfalls appeared in every drainage, issuing water that had previously been snowflakes formed on the first day of fall......


Chugging up pitches above 11,500....we got familiar with our HRmax many times....it felt good to feel my ears pop as the capillaries pounded with every heart beat.....

Topping out into an alpine meadow to the SSE of Jura Knob, it was clear that the 2nd day of Fall meant nothing up here....this place was done with fall....winter was rapidly approaching....



Reaching the Engineer Mountain Trail intersection with the Colorado Trail....I conversed with Don Miguel whom I had carried up from Molas....and who would now carry me the rest of the day.......


I also admired the handiwork of the Pleistocene.




Descending down off the saddle from Jura Knob......


..... disappointment quickly returned to us.....irresponsible equestrians had thrashed this trail the previous day leaving 1-3 inch deep post holes on the Engineer Mountain trail turning the death mud into an impassible mess....we HAB'd along side of the trail for most of the 3 miles to where the horses had come up from Pass creek.


We still observed great beauty....but the thought that we had mostly hiked our bikes from the lowest saddle right of center on the skyline still stung.....


Nearing Engineer Mountain, the red siltstone of Jura Knob gave way to more limestone which allowed us to ride once again and appreciate the eastern skyline.


Engineer Mountain looming larger.....


Despite the beauty and stoke of the ride......the new snow turned my mind to the coming ski season....


As we neared Engineer Mountain, I could hear the constant sound of rockfall on the north face as the mountain continued to feed the rock glacier below.....


Topping out on the saddle of Engineer Mountain, our climb was over.

Views to the east afforded us a fall foliage tour that the Texans on Hwy-550 will never see.....



As we whooped, laughed, hollered and carved every switchback descending down to Cascade Creek, we were forced to stop sometimes despite every brain cell telling us to keep going....some views just forced our hands to squeeze the brake levers......


Switchback attack shots were set up......




Descents upon a sunbeam were cataloged.....


....and explosions of floating gold petals on the wind force us to stop once again.....


The afternoon sun angle was just perfect at moments to capture the best light of the day......


Staring up at the bluebird through filtered yellows, I was distracted by olfactory hues.....


....But yellow and bluebird clearly ruled the day.......






Ending our ride at Cascade Creek and Hwy 550.....Cholla turned himself out while I waited with the bikes.


We could have ridden our bikes up the hardball back to Molas....but after such a beautiful day....the thought of sucking on diesel fumes and potentially getting run off the road by gawking folks from Austin on a winding mountain road with no shoulder was not too appealing.....so I continued to shoot the transition of seasons....


While some things were in their final glory.......

....some things were already reloading for next season......

3 comments:

chollaball said...

awesome post, great trip yo!

i am faskinated by how we tell the same story. you are more visual and poetic, i speak tersely and make dick jokes.

maadJurguer said...

I'm faskinated by how my visual and poetic style translates directly into my need to pick through technical lines on the bike....and your terse and dick joke style tends to want to run over everything.......hrmmmmmmm.......

tims said...

looks like a great trip! thanks for posting

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