2007 Colorado Road Trip
Me and the Nuclear Trio
July 2007
At some point during the third day of trail riding in Taylor Park, an astounding thought sprung to my mind: I can’t believe
they let dirt bikers ride here
. In this case, the “they” being the National Forest Service, along with the local populous
who supports the habits of both two- and four-wheeled adventurers by supplying everything under the sun needed for a
week of paradise. These specifics will come; first, let’s meet the players in the
2007 Colorado Nuclear Road Trip:
Matt Sellers: Navigator
  • The Bike: KTM 300XC-W
  • The Day Job: Training future Homer Simpsons
  • Map reader extraordinaire
  • Can smell a sale on ketchup from three aisles away
  • Ditching Curtis was all his idea
Scott Maxwell: Fashion Coordinator
  • The Bike: KTM 450EXC
  • The Day Job: That thing Homer Simpson does where
    the green glowing bar of uranium ends up in his pants
  • Master of all things George Foreman
  • Riding speed increases when traveling in the wrong
    direction
  • Disposable Dockers never looked so chic
Curtis Wood: Supertanker Captain
  • The Bike: Suzuki DR-Z400
  • The Day Job: Nuclear smart-guy
    engineer person
  • Has more gas capacity than you do
    (in more ways than one)
  • Knows a marmot when he sees one
    (he saw one)
  • It was a marmot
Yours Truly: Mr. Anywhere, Anytime
  • The Bike: KTM 300MXC
  • The Day Job: Master of the Cubicle
  • King of the Plunger
  • His horn is bigger than yours
  • Chipmunk destroyer
Exxon
The plan this year was to rendezvous at the Three Rivers Resort in Almont, Colorado. Curtis had lined up a cabin suitable
for four grown men in a post-Brokeback world. Matt and I drove out together, 15 hours straight from Wentzville starting at 2:
45 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Big Bird, my glow-in-the-dark yellow Blazer, made its maiden voyage to the Rocky Mountains
with our bikes in tow. Unlike
last year, the drive was as trouble-free as could be and a bit more enjoyable taking the southern
route across the Continental Divide via Monarch Pass, a fully paved U.S. highway. Cottonwood Pass may be more scenic,
but that gravel road...torture with a trailer.

Upon arrival, Scott and Curtis were hanging out at the lodge, admiring a young lady with a set of 6-pack abs tuned as finely
as anything I’d seen since Janet Jackson hit her prime around 1992. The resort was lined with long rows of various types of
cabins, ours being the most modern version of the dwellings in a pre-fab style that we guessed had originally arrived by
flatbed truck. The interior was oddly similar to a 40-foot motor home with dining room slide-outs on both sides. Curtis took
the bedroom and Scott claimed the living room futon, while Matt and I endured the Jack-and-Ennis jibes upstairs in a loft
clearly designed for midgets and kids under the age of 5.

Monday
Our first day of riding began with a search for a trail just north of Almont that would connect us to Roaring Judy road, where
we’d head to the Gunnison Spur trail. Matt’s navigational skills were being questioned by at least one in the group when we
traveled more than five miles on pavement to locate a dirt road that should have been half a mile north of town. The new
front rim I’d laced up myself was demonstrating the ill effects of an amateur truing the spokes with the help of a screwdriver
and duct tape. It shook a little at 60 mph. We finally gave up on finding the trail and instead used Jack’s Cabin Cutoff road to
make our way across the ATV trails of Roaring Judy.

Not long after finding our first trails of the week, my KTM’s throttle developed a mind of its own. More specifically, it only
wanted to run wide open whenever the trail got fast and rough. In keeping up with the brain pool of three nuclear power plant
professionals, I had developed in short order, and with about 95% certainty, a proposed diagnosis for the problem, thereby
skipping the hypothesis formation step in the scientific process and heading straight for the root cause of the malfunction:
improper reassembly of the slide return spring plastic thingy that seats itself inside the needle holder gizmo because I hadn't
put it back together correctly when I changed the jetting for high altitudes. Twenty minutes on the side of the trail was all it
took to fix everything, and for the rest of the week the throttle would operate perfectly.

This year the trails were much drier and dustier than my previous visit, so much that in certain spots I had to give the guys
ahead of me some extra space so I could see clearly. The sun shone brightly on alpine meadows and gave us picture
perfect sights to start out our week of trail riding. As the morning passed and the singletrack miles added up, we’d made our
way to the Gunnison Spur trail, where the going got tougher and eventually we decided to get going somewhere else. We
were hungry and Scott was nervous about the smallish 2.1 gallon gas tank on his KTM 450EXC, despite the Supertanker’s
ability to supply enough gas for the whole group of us for a good long time. Curtis had brought with him a Suzuki DRZ400
outfitted with the most bulbously huge gas tank I have ever seen with my own eyes. He claimed it held four gallons, but it
looked like it could have held six.
Gunnison Spur - steeper than it looks.
Last year Matt and I rode this trail in the downhill
direction in much muddier conditions. This year we
climbed the trail in dry dirt, which was still a
challenge and would have been next to impossible
if the trail had been as wet as it was in 2006.
We located a jeep trail to take us to Rocky Brook Road and then to the Taylor Park Trading Post for gas. Along the way, I
slid out on the jeep trail and crashed in 4th gear. It hurt. All my necessary body parts seemed to work and the bike looked
ok, so I got up and remounted about the same time Curtis caught up from behind. Unfortunately, nobody else had witnessed
the most impressive crash any of us would perform the whole week. More importantly, nobody had seen that I sheered off
the step pad part of my brake pedal. I didn't notice until many miles later, while attempting to grab some air over a series of
water breaks on an off-road shortcut from Taylor River Road to the Trading Post.

We ate lunch in the restaurant at the Trading Post, rested, and decided to use jeep roads to make our way back to Three
Rivers instead of riding 22 miles on a 2-lane highway to Almont. We found Union Park Road and later a sign noting the
entrance (and exit) to Union Park, which consisted of a couple trees, some boulders, and dirt. The town had hit on hard
times, apparently. From there, the predictable afternoon showers of the Colorado Rockies moved in with fat, cold raindrops
as we headed towards Union Canyon and Lottis Creek. The trail quickly turned into a mass of boulders of every shape and
size, now wet and slippery from the rain. In some places, the creek and trail were one and the same.

When we finally emerged from the roughest of the rocks and found some smooth trail, we came across a family of three on a
pair of rented ATVs. They had somehow made it down the same trail we did and were now contemplating the return trip to
Taylor Park. From Lottis Creek Campground, they were 5 miles by highway and lord knows how many miles by heading back
up that gawdawful rock garden of a trail.
Yeah, it hurt a little. Who needs a step pad when an
allen wrench will work just fine?
Our trail diversion still left us with 17 miles of pavement between the campground and Three Rivers, so Matt and I voted to
send Scott and Curtis down the road to retrieve a trailer and pick us up. My aching right arm and wrist were now feeling the
effects of my big crash and I had no Happy Pills to ease the pain. In the time we waited for Curtis to return with his trailer, I
found a solution to my sheared rear brake pedal pad involving a 4mm allen wrench, a hose clamp and a couple of zip ties.
Worked like a charm for the rest of the week.

Tuesday
Another sunny morning greeted us on Day 2. We rode out the backside of the resort and climbed a jeep trail, followed by a
long ride over dusty roads to the Fossil Ridge trail east of Almont. The singletrack passed by some of the largest beaver
dams I've ever seen. We stopped to take a look at one dam that must have been around for generations. The pond behind it
was crystal clear, reflecting trees and mountains in the bright sun.
Click on photos for full-size images
Paradise ended when the trail began a long climb up a boulder infested path to high altitude. Along the way, my KTM
suffered a bit and began spitting coolant from the radiator overflow hose. We stopped to cool off and let Curtis and the
Exxon Valdez catch up. The energy needed to move a 350-pound motorcycle to the top of Fossil Ridge Trail carrying a
grown man weighing north of 200 pounds, well, lets just say multiple laws of physics must be overcome. The big DRZ’s
radiators were sending coolant back to his overflow tank, so we took an extended break before Scott decided to make a
solo run to the top of the mountain. We could hear his 450EXC above us crossing back and forth along a series of long
switchbacks as the trail wound its way up. At the top was a large clearing about 11,000 feet high with a southerly view
stretching as far as the eye could see.

Further down the trail was a locked gate with a sign warning us not to enter. The metal gate was about six feet tall and
wide as an ATV, yet there was 500 feet of open space on either side to ride around it. We did, and a quarter-mile later
was the remnants of what had been a similar gate, except someone (or something) had destroyed it, leaving a mangled
set of metal pipes and chain links. Maps would later show that this trail passed over private property. Evidently the owner
didn't care for trespassers, but the gate was useless to keep anyone out.

The singletrack ended with a long series of downhill switchbacks, where Scott found a poorly placed tree branch that tore
a large hole in his set of modified khaki pants. Why, you ask, would a person trail ride in khakis? Only Scott knows this
answer. Every day he dressed himself in a new pair of pants with a leather belt and about 10 inches cut from the bottom of
each leg. Knee pads were worn over the pants, presumably to protect their fine fabric. By mid-morning, the pants had
usually developed an ass crack sweat stain running the length of the rectal area, producing an image not unlike that of a
county fair carnival rider having the shit scared out of him on the Tilt-a-Whirl. At the end of each day, Scott took off the
pants and threw them in the garbage. The following day, a new pair of pants would appear. These disposable pants were
a week’s worth of worn out leftovers from Scott’s standard attire for his job at the Callaway nuclear plant in Missouri, thus
preserving the time and effort of having to wear and wash conventional off-road riding pants. He looked...professional.

Lunch was found at a bar in Ohio City, where we parked our bikes next to an outdoor patio and grabbed a sandwich
before heading to Alder Creek Trail for our return trip to the cabin. My bruised right arm and wrist were feeling almost no ill
effects of the previous day’s crash, thanks to a generous helping of ibuprofen in the morning. And the allen wrench was
still working quite well as a foot pad for my rear brake pedal.
How you doo-win???
When we located Alder Creek Trail, it didn't look like much of anything. If we hadn't seen a signpost every once in a while,
there were several places you wouldn't know you were on a trail. We continued down a lengthy gulch filled with beaver dams
and eventually stopped to rest above a small pond. A beaver swam toward us and disappeared under a submerged log just
as I was about ready to take a picture. Some of the locals had told us to look for a species called the Rarefied Bald Beaver,
but this one had plenty of fur and we didn't see any bald ones the whole week. We were later told a few places to look but we
didn't understand why any beavers would live in town, so close to nightclubs.

Scott and I navigated our way past a fork in the trail where the Alder Creek singletrack continued, but by the time we realized
our mistake, Scott and Curtis were ready to call it a day. Matt and I found a way for them to go on ahead and stop at a point
where the four of us could meet up after we backtracked and rode the last of the singletrack. In the end, Scott and Curtis
avoided a boulder field that would have sucked the last of all our collective energy trying to push and pull four bikes through
there. Matt nearly ruined himself from breathlessness trying to take an impossible alternate route around the toughest
boulders. We made it through, met Scott and Curtis at the next trail intersection, and headed back to Three Rivers with just
enough time for my rear axle bolt to fall out. By some miracle the chain block stayed put and my fancy
Erider stainless steel
bolt was still in my toolbox. Disaster averted.

Wednesday
The North Bank campground, a few miles up the Taylor River from Almont, was the start of our Day 3 ride on a trail called
Doctor’s Park. The singletrack began at the river and immediately climbed 300 feet in about a quarter mile, through a long
series of switchbacks. From there, the trails were glorious. Near the end of the singletrack six miles later, I took off ahead of
the group and blasted down the trail in full-on race mode. We coasted down a series of switchbacks carved out of the
hillsides for jeeps and found ourselves on Doctor Gulch Road.

From there, we crossed through Spring Creek, still as cold and deep as it was the last time we'd crossed on Monday, and
headed for the sweetest singletrack in all of Taylor Park: Deadman’s Gulch. It’s smooth, relatively free of rocks, and pure joy
to ride. Matt could sense my anticipation, possibly from the foam spewing out my mouth, and let me take off ahead at an
accelerated pace. The trail followed a wide gulch that gradually rises about 750 feet over five miles.  Most of the trail is cut
into the side of the gulch in the grassy part where there are few trees. It’s second and third gear all the way up.
At the top, Matt and I rested while Scott and Curtis made their way up. I was notified of my accidental killing of a chipmunk,
which I vaguely remembered darting into my path just ahead of some sort of groundhog-sized varmint. Curtis offered his
theory that it was actually a
marmot, those squirrel-on-steroid rodents that stare at you like Mrs. Klemme in the 4th grade
when you've just shot a bull’s-eye spitball onto the earlobe of Jeff Reed’s head. We were either too tired to respond or didn't
give a shit, but Curtis was looking for the same affirmation as a toddler learning to identify animal pictures in a children’s
book: keep on repeating “Monk-eeee??” until someone -
anyone - responds. We wouldn't let him have it.

The last mile of Deadman’s Gulch was a long series of downhill switchbacks that we decided to ride without our engines. To
clarify, the engines did remain attached to our motorcycles; we just didn't use them. It’s an odd feeling, coasting that far with
only the sound of my suspension soaking up bumps and my tires rolling over hard-packed dirt. I couldn't help myself – I still
pulled in and released the clutch everywhere it would have been needed if the engine had been running. Matt, riding behind
me with a little extra natural ballast at his disposal, gradually caught up near the end of the trail at Cement Creek.
Nobody was brave enough to
cross the creek on the log.
We then headed up a steep trail on the west side of Cement Creek that probably wasn't
meant for uphill riding, based on the deep ruts and multiple alternate trails to the top. Our
intention was to keep moderately close to Cement Creek Road and eventually work our way
back east to American Flag Mountain, but Scott had other ideas. In the lead position, he
missed a right turn in the trail and blasted westward on top of a mountain ridge towards
Crested Butte at Warp Factor 9. Matt and I watched this happen and debated for half a
minute whether we should go after him or wait patiently for him to figure it out on his own. I
decided to pursue, which took about 2 miles at Warp Factor 9.5 to catch Scott and casually
mention that we might want to turn around before we start seeing ski lifts.
Shortly after crossing back over Cement Creek Road, we let Curtis take a solo tour around Taylor Park for the rest of the
day. We really didn’t plan to lose him. In fairness to The Navigator, the point where the three of us voluntarily separated
from him was within shouting distance of the Grassy Trail ATV path, Reno Divide Road, Reno Ridge Road, Flag Creek
Trail, both the new and old Italian Creek Roads, and what we would soon discover was the steep trail up to the Reno radio
repeater. It’s a busy place on the map. Matt thought we were headed for Old Italian Creek Road and a long, steep quasi-
jeep trail up loose rock. It was an intimidating sight, to which Curtis said “no thanks.” We sent him towards what we thought
was the easier “new” Italian Creek Road, on the map showing convergence with our path a few miles later where the old
and new roads met again.

Curtis continued east while the three of us took turns riding straight up face of the mountain, starting at around 11,250
feet and dead-ending a half mile later at 12,100 feet. At the top, it didn't take a nuclear scientist to figure out we’d just
screwed Curtis. He was surely a mile or two down the road now and we were a thousand feet above him, with nowhere else
to go but back to where we started our climb. Brushing aside Scott’s advice that we do just that, Matt and I stared down the
mountain and saw what appeared to be only a large field of sagebrush between us and Old Italian Creek Road. About a
half-mile down the mountain – probably could coast all the way, right? Theoretically, sure. The slope down the mountain
was no problem, but the sagebrush suddenly became thicker and taller than it appeared from 1,000 feet away. We took
turns riding blindly through the 4-foot brush, trying to find any sort of goat trail or gully where we could actually see what
we were riding into. Eventually we found mud and flowing water, both of which were ill suited for any of us. We all made it
down to Old Italian Creek Road, finally, but not before watching Scott disappear into a gully. The sagebrush had
concealed a 10-foot drop-off, which Scott handled the way any normal dirtbike-addicted person would: he bailed off the
bike and rolled down the side of the gully, thus preserving his 450EXC from a similar fate.

We rode our collective asses off toward American Flag Mountain, a peak we knew Curtis badly wanted to see. Along the
way we stopped a group of riders who’d just descended the treacherous mountain trail and asked if there were any DR-
Z400’s at the summit. Once we mentioned yellow fenders and a gas tank the size of Montana, they all nodded
enthusiastically. They had, indeed, spotted The Supertanker, and it was magnificent. We began our climb.
Alas, there was no DRZ at the summit. We took some pictures, ate a snack and resigned ourselves to the certainty that
Curtis was going to be an angry man the next time we saw him. With that, Matt and I decided it was time to torture Scott by
leading him down the toughest singletrack we knew of in Taylor Park:
Star Trail. We picked up the trailhead near the bottom
of American Flag Mountain and assured Scott that since we would be riding the trail in reverse of the route Matt and I had
taken the year before, Star Trail would be much easier in this direction.

A gullible man, that Scott Maxwell.

For about 2 minutes on Star Trail we had Scott believing what we’d told him. But any semblance of a smile left his face when
we came upon the same hill Matt and I had slid down last year in the mud and I swore it would be impossible to climb. That
would have been true, except this year the hill was bone-dry and a couple of alternate routes had materialized. Matt and I
showed Scott the best line to the top, but he still wasn't entirely convinced it was possible, despite the two orange KTM’s
parked 40 feet above him. With a little coaching and a push over a boulder or two, he made it up like a champ, later
criticizing the trail designers for placing a boulder field immediately following a blind switchback. The nerve!

Scott had a chance to air his complaint to a pair of forest service workers repairing water breaks a mile or so later, but the
sight of them performing manual labor with garden hoes (and with smiles to boot) on the side of the mountain probably
effected all of our appreciative responses when they asked us to watch out for a team of mules on the trail. The mules were
hauling concrete blocks to repair the nasty hill we’d forced Scott to ascend, two and a half hours each way from the opposite
side of Star Trail. I took off ahead of Matt and Scott and reached the mule team about 5 minutes before they did. A couple
miles later, another team was being led by a gentleman whose cowboy demeanor spoke for itself when I expressed my
admiration for the toughness of his mules. Dead silence, then realization that he was leading a team of horses.
City people,
sheesh
.

At the trailhead, Scott burst out of the woods with the most relieved face I've seen since my sophomore year of college when
Adam Whipple’s one-night-stand got her period. Scott had survived one of the toughest trails Colorado has to offer. When
asked if he wanted to ride back to Three Rivers by way of Doctor’s Gulch, Scott replied, simply, “I cannot do that.” Probably
a good idea, as we were all running low on fuel at that point. We headed for public roads and rode on gas fumes back to the
cabin. The absence of Curtis at the cabin was met with a sense of dread, especially when we pooled our collective heads
and realized he had no key to the front door. When he arrived an hour later, Curtis was oddly apologetic. Funny thing, he
actually thought it was
his mistake that got us separated.  We let him go with that for awhile, but Scott’s conscience
weakened first and he gradually let Curtis know that maybe we had something to do with his frantic all-afternoon search for
us. He had in fact visited American Flag Mountain but left just minutes before we arrived. He’d traveled as far north as
Crested Butte South, a community that is located (believe it or not) south of Crested Butte, to get gas (his tank hits reserve
with 1.5 gallons still in it!) and finally arrived back at the cabin about 5 hours after we’d left him.

That night we took a break from the George Foreman grill graciously provided by Curtis and enjoyed $5 burgers at the bar
next to the resort lodge, where Scott quizzed Sara the Waitress about her recent honeymoon to Norway. We discussed the
fine art of protecting the general public from nuclear disasters and I learned more about nuclear plant operations than any
corporate banker should ever know. During the week, so much nuclear power discussion took place that the whole trip could
have been written off as a business expense.

Thursday
The plan for Day 4 was to trailer the bikes to Taylor Reservoir and ride the length of Timberline Trail, all the way from Tin
Cup to Pie Plant. I had a leaky fork seal to play with and Scott worked on tightening his chain, which eventually turned into a
greater problem when his chain adjuster bolts seized. After an hour of fiddling, Scott and Curtis decided to make a run to the
Gunnison KTM dealer to handle the issue while Matt and I drove to the
Taylor Park Trading Post to begin our ride.

We found a fun jeep road called Slaughterhouse Gulch and took it all the way to Tin Cup, then headed eastward toward
Mirror Lake. The Timberline trailhead was a bit of a challenge to locate, not helped by the fact that I passed within 20 feet of
it without noticing the signpost. Eventually we gave up and asked for directions in Tin Cup from a guy who claimed to have
once walked its entire 26-mile length.

Last year we had ridden part of Timberline starting at its northernmost end near Pie Plant. In that direction, the first 2 or 3
miles had been brutal. The south trailhead was more moderate but still quite challenging as we climbed up to the tree line at
around 11,000 feet. We had missed this entire section in 2006 after losing the trail where it converged with an ATV transfer
section. It was a remarkable trail, mostly cut into the sides of mountains.

The first leg of Timberline ended at a parking lot at Cottonwood Pass. The trail continued on the other side of the road,
about a quarter-mile from the parking lot...a quarter-mile
west of the parking lot. This part of the trail was just out of sight on
our map, and I thought we had to ride east. About the time we were within spitting distance of the Continental Divide, we
decided to turn around and coast back down to the parking lot. It was a 15-mile diversion.

The south-to-north route was indeed easier than starting from Pie Plant, but it’s all relative. The trail was still challenging. In
one spot I paused to admire the view 750 feet above the trail where we’d begun a steep climb. Had anyone slid off the trail in
that spot, they would have had an unobstructed thrill ride all the way to the bottom. We saw a handful of hikers on the trail, a
few motorcycles, and a guy riding a horse. Near the end, I recognized the hill I’d pushed up the KTM the year prior and
nearly died of asphyxiation. Downhill was better.

Pie Plant came upon us just as the afternoon rains rolled in. Our ride ended with Taylor River Road, where we passed by the
frigid Dinner Station campground where we’d shivered for three nights in 2006. Back at the cabin, Scott and Curtis had just
finished up their adjuster bolt project and Scott’s chain was looking good. They’d both been exhausted the night before, so a
day of rest was probably a good thing. Matt and I took a drive up to Crested Butte to give me a chance to see the town for
the first time, then came back and drank a few more beers at the bar. Earlier in the evening I’d dominated the cabin’s toilet
and had to retrieve a plunger from the lodge’s front desk. The most attractive summer employee on staff played it cool,
handing over the plunger with a simple nod, as if to say
Yeah, I might be a hot chick but I've dominated a crapper or two.

That night, a pair of identical YZ125's were parked at the cabin beside us, decked out in full lighting and the appearance of
street legality. The bikes were those of a father-son tandem of Henry's, the elder being one of the most genuinely nice
people I've ever met, and the younger a 13-year-old with legs not long enough to touch the ground while sitting on his
YZ125. Young Henry had ridden the Timberline Trail in 2006 on an 85cc motocrosser, and the fact that both Henry's were
navigating singletrack in the high country on 125cc motocross bikes was evidence enough of what we presumed were mad
skills. The Henry's made friends everywhere and left us with a standing invitation to visit them in Santa Fe, where they
promised the riding would be as good as Taylor Park. "We have a guest house!" Young Henry proclaimed to the chagrin of
Elder Henry. Scott provided a quick recovery for both of them by suggesting that we could stay at a hotel.

Friday
Our final day of riding began with another run up Deadman’s Gulch and another coasting down switchbacks to Cement
Creek. Overnight rains had brought in overcast skies, the first we’d seen in the morning portion of our riding. We picked up
Cement Creek Trail and found the same mud ruts as last year in the grassy valley next to the creek. Through one section of
a series of gullies, I had to hop off and push my KTM through a deep gully. I motioned for Scott to take a higher line where
the gullies were shallower, but his interpretation of my arm motions was to take a high line up the side of the mountain. He
and Curtis disappeared into the woods for about 10 minutes, then reappeared approximately 50 feet further along the tree
line. Matt shrugged and we took off for Hunters Hill.
The ATV trail to Hunters Hill is a 1,500-foot climb from Cement Creek over the
course of about 2.5 miles. The path continues north to Crystal Peak to some of the
highest singletrack elevations in Taylor Park. Where Doubletop Trail meets Brush
Creek Trail at about 11,500 feet, I walked down the mountain about 20 feet to fetch
a snowball and just about passed out from exhaustion on the way back up.
Mountain climbers have my respect.

The last mile leading  to Star Pass is some of the most fun I had on the bike all
week, on third-gear mountainside singletrack at well above 12,000 feet. Even
though the KTM’s engine was struggling in the thin air, it pulled me all the way to
Star Pass, where I succeeded in twisting my left knee for about the 20th time this
summer. Matt, Scott and Curtis decided to continue towards Taylor Pass Divide
Road, while I took a diversion around the west side of Mount Tilton. It’s never a
good idea to ride alone on the side of a mountain, but the Crystal Peak Trail was
one of the most amazing parts of last year’s ride and I badly wanted to do it again. I
carefully made my way along the side of the mountain, through a snowdrift and up
the Mount Tilton Spur. The trail then headed steeply downhill from there, dropping
nearly 1,000 feet in less than a mile.
Cement Creek at the bottom of
Deadman's Gulch was a bit more
damp on Friday.
The air was thin but the view was
fantastic.
Curtis was a bit winded at the
summit of Hunters Hill
.
The Nuclear Trio arrived at Taylor Pass Divide Road about 15 minutes after I did, which gave me a chance to chat with an
English dude riding a mountain bike. I have no idea how those people can breathe. This guy was planning to ride all the way
back to Aspen. A few random jeeps drove in slow motion over the rocky Taylor Pass while we flew down the road to where it
turned into a boulder-filled river as it ran parallel to a creek. By now the afternoon rains had moved in, following what was
apparently a wet night. We were all a bit soggy by the time we reached the Lily Pond trailhead. As always, the Lily Pond
singletrack was a blast.
Our final trail of the day was Bear Creek down to the last section of Deadman’s Gulch just west of Spring Creek Road.
Matt was absolutely flying down Bear Creek to where we met a retired couple from the East Coast, now living in Crested
Butte, out hiking with their dog under skies that had now turned sunny. I took one last look at paradise, then continued
with the Nuclear Trio back to where we’d parked our trailers on Spring Creek Road. Our week of riding the trails of Taylor
Park was over.

Y’all come back now….
It’s becoming an annual event, these trips to Colorado. There is, quite simply, no other place within reasonable driving
distance from Chicago with such a combination of good riding and amazing scenery. Seeing it on a dirt bike lets you take
in much more in a week’s time than is possible by hiking, biking, or any other form of motorized travel. One of the times I
paused on Timberline Trail to take in the sights by myself, Matt put a couple hundred yards of distance between us and
then I heard the sound of nothing. No birds, no wind, just absolute silence. It was glorious.
Yes, they let people ride dirt bikes here.