A long day in the saddle today, glorious weather mind you, but still a long day in the saddle.
I left shortly after 7:00 AM and by 8:45 Scarlett and I were crossing the Continental Divide using the Eisenhower Tunnel while slabbing it on I-70 west bound. By 9:30AM, I had turned off I-70 and had arrived at the small mountain town of Minturn. Shortly after leaving town, I came upon a sign showing the way to Tigiwon Road, one of the roads I’d picked for exploring and recommended as a nice ride by a fellow Uralista: Dana.
Upwards Scarlett and I rode, the forest road was strewn with rocks and boulders but not the worst road I’ve ever ridden. The pace was slow as I was stuck behind this pickup truck with hunters slowly making their way up the trail.
Finally, the truck keeps going up as we reach the Tigiwon Community House and I parked to check out the view of the Gore Range.
I ran into more hunters at the end of this logging trail so it was time to leave this forest road before I was mistaken for elk!
Continuing on US24 Southbound, you climb on curvy mountain roads with some nice views of forested hillsides and mountain tops. All the leaves on the Aspen trees are gone, leaving pale ghostly tree trunks and branches standing amid the more numerous pine trees. Soon enough, one arrives at the bridge near the small town of Red Cliff, which spans over the Eagle River.
It is at the town of Red Cliff where one can get on the road to Shrine Pass. I have ridden this road before and today would not ride all the way to the summit. Instead, the idea was to see if I could get a good look at Mount Holy Cross. This particular fourteneer was made famous by the sighting and photographing of what appeared to be a giant cross on the side of the mountain peak. (See slide show)
Shrine Pass Road was not as rough as the conditions on Tigiwon Road but it had it’s moments. There were long stretches of snow covered road, boulder and gravel sections and as the day warmed up, mud where there had been small amounts of snow.
I did detour down an interesting side trail where I found even more snow! The trail led further up and up and after one sharp hairpin turn I almost tipped the rig over on its left side due to the camber of the road! Close call but I kept my wits and got the rig stopped and back on its wheels. This incident “took the wind out of my sails” you might say and I decided to turn around back to the main forest road. The snow and camber of the road made things a bit dicey on the way back to the main forest road; I had to engage 2WD to maintain a straight course.
Finally back on the main forest road, it was two turns later and I saw a great view of not only Mount Holy Cross but also other peaks which are part of the Sawatch Range of Mountains.
Once I got to the overlook’s parking lot, I walked for perhaps five minutes in the sometimes snow-covered walking trail and reached the wooden platform where one can observe the distant Mount of the Holy Cross.
The overlook is 7.5 miles from Red Cliff and so I turned Scarlett around and headed back into town. From there I continued on US24 and soon enough I was passing by the remnants of Camp Hale where the famed 10th Mountain Division trained during World War II. Not much remains, except a small valley where the division was house.
Continuing on US24, one soon arrives near Leadville, the country’s second highest incorporated municipality. I took the turn to put me now northbound on Colorado State Road 91 and was soon approaching the large mining operation near Fremont Pass.
North of Fremont pass, there’s a couple of areas which are quite scenic. The first one is a water reservoir surround by mountain peaks, one of my favorite spots to stop and take pictures when I am in the area.
Just a little bit further on, heading North on CO 91, there’s this spot where one just has to stop for a quick picture.
This would be the last picture of the day, the rest of the afternoon was spent riding back towards I-70 and using it to speedily, well at URAL speed anyways, make our way back to the Denver Metro Area and home. I made it home shortly after 5:00 PM, ten hours of mostly riding and almost 300 miles covered. A good day of riding!
Ride Safe. Ride Aware.