Twig Adventures

SOBO Day 86: Southern San Juans

September 18th, 2019 Wolf Creek Pass mm 2152.8 to Adams Fork Conejos River mm 2180.4 Distance in miles: 27.6 0840-1920 We return the bikes and meet Vickie at 8 am, just as planned. She even brings coffee and peaches for us. We have a pleasant conversation on the way up and we’re sorry to say goodby so soon to our newfound freind. She is so sweet and kind. I’ll have another person to go back and visit in South Fork. It’s cold and windy on the divide but at least the sun is shining. The trail climbs immediately up to the ridge where the ski area is and we enjoy a stroll past all the lifts. The tread is good[…]

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SOBO Day 85: South Fork Zero

September 17th, 2019 Riding bikes around South Fork Distance in miles: about 5 with the aid of wheels. We need a break after these hard stretches through the San Juans so we take a zero in South Fork. This little collection of buildings that barely registers as a town, on the way to Wolf Creek Ski area and Durango, has become one of my favorite trails towns. I’ll outline some of the reasons why. For starters, this is where Lisa lives, the lady that gave me a ride down to Lordsburg, NM back in April. She is unfortunately out of town while we are here but there is another trail angel, Karla, who leads the town in welcoming hikers. She[…]

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SOBO Day 84: Braving Some Weather

September 16th, 2019 Piedra Pass mm 2131.2 to Wolf Creek Pass mm 2152.8 Distance in miles: 21.6 0620-1400 It rains all night long, which normally is a recipe for a good night’s sleep but on this night, it stresses me out. I keep thinking of the high passes we still have to cross and how miserable the weather might be. I hope that it stops raining by the morning but it doesn’t. I groan when my alarm goes off and I still hear a steady pitter-patter on my tent. My Tent! It stays bone-dry all night with just a little condensation. I would like to stay in it all day until the weather improves but I have little food left.[…]

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SOBO Day 83: The San Juans Have Their Say

September 15th, 2019 Squaw Creek mm 2109 to Piedra Pass mm 2131.2 Distance in miles: 22.2 0610-1645 We have good intentions, mileage-wise, for today but the mountains and weather say otherwise. We are off to a great start and the morning has fine weather. The fire-haze dissipates some and the sun comes out as we climb up to the divide for the billionth time. We will stay pretty high the rest of the day. Early on, we pass someone in their tent with a dog standing guard at the entrance. The dog doesn’t bark or even move, just stares at us. We think it might be Dogma, a hiker that Relentless knows and we met briefly in Montana. We spot[…]

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SOBO Day 82: The Window

September 14th, 2019 West Ute Lake mm 2082.4 to Squaw Creek mm 2109 Distance in miles: 26.6 0640-1700 For whatever reasons, my efficiency and motivation is off all day. As hard-core as yesterday was, today I just feel like I’m riding the Struggle Bus. Following such a hard day has a lot to do with it and this day just brings more of the same beastly elevator terrain, but with more challenging trail conditions. These mountains seems to stretch forever, spectacular yet unforgiving. It’s of course very cold in the morning but this time we aren’t in a hurry to get down and out of the wind. We take our time packing and get a bit of a late start.[…]

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SOBO Day 81: A Gift

September 13th, 2019 Near High Point on the Colorado Trail mm 2051.5 to West Ute Lake mm 2082.4 Distance in miles: 30.9 0620-1830 The weather and mountain gods are merciful and only send a few breezes that ruffle out tents all night. It’s enough to create a cold draft, though. I struggle to keep warm in the early hours of the morning, all my layers on. But we make it through and somehow find the courage to depart our semi-warm cocoons, hiking at first light. It’s just Relentless and me, since Sugar Rush and Sunshine prefer a later start. Even up here, it’s too dark to walk without a headlamp until 0620! Oh these short days. For once we get[…]

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SOBO Day 80: Camping at 13,000 Feet

September 12th, 2019 HWY 149 mm 2035.6 to near the High Point on the Colorado Trail mm 2051.5 Distance in miles: 15.9 1245-1830 I still have many town errands in the morning, primarily shopping for resupply since I missed the store’s closing hour the night before…small towns shut down early! We join up with Sunshine and Sugar Rush for the hitch out…they are on repeat after Sugar Rush lost her phone in her ride’s car the day before. Fortunately he is a local trail angel and she was able to get her phone back. But they stayed another night in town as a result. We wait for about 30 minutes, without much traffic going by. It’s not the best situation[…]

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SOBO Day 79: Lake City

September 11th, 2019 Creede Junction mm 2021.3 to HWY 149 mm 2035.6 Distance in miles: 14.3 0620-1200 I wake with a migraine and the wind is howling…not a great start. But it’s not freezing or raining, so that’s good! It’s going to be a tough go over the exposed passes and snow mesa but we can do it. Last time, hail and lightning thwarted me and my trail family from continuing on in this section. We had to retreat down to Creede and since there was no accommodation there, we went to Lake City, missing 14 miles of trail. I’m determined to hike them today, even if the weather isn’t perfect. The San Juans rarely have perfect weather…you just have[…]

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SOBO Day 78: San Luis Peak

September 10th, 2019 Monchego Creek mm 1994.5 to Creede Junction mm 2021.3 Distance in miles: 26.8 plus 3 RT to San Luis Peak 0620-1800 Coyotes again make a racket through the night, probably fighting over dibs on the dead cow. Their yips and yaps become a part of my dreams…white noise of the high hills. I should make one of those relaxation tapes out of it. In the early morning, I hear the soothing hoots of a great horned owl. I was just saying to Relentless the morning before that the woods are lacking any owls. Here’s the reply to my concern. They must like lower elevations. The morning is fresh and beautiful, the low light enhancing the yellow flowers[…]

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SOBO Day 77: Miles & Smiles

September 9th, 2019 Mm 1960.3 to Monchego Creek mm 1994.5 Distance in miles: 34.2 0610-1830 The elk call all night and there are also some coyotes making a racket so close for the longest time. While half asleep, I mumble something about them shutting up and they actually do, as if they were close enough to hear me. But it’s a very peaceful night overall and I wake excited to hike. I hope to do a big day to be well positioned for taking on the start of the San Juans the following day. We start out in the very first light, now so late that I still need my headlamp at 6 am. We walk through more meadows at[…]

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