Saturday, July 19, 2008

Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP -> Leadville

We left Silverton on Tuesday (I suspect we’ll be back someday!) and made a quick stop above Ouray so I could see the Bear Creek trail. This trail switchbacks up and then contours around the side of a cliff for a mile or so, and I have heard many things about it in HRH race reports. John said it wasn’t so bad. Now that I have seen it, I’m OK with that assessment. It does indeed drop way, way down into a canyon, but the trail is wide enough and doesn’t always have a cliff right next to it.

Me on the trail:
We spent a night in the Ridgway State Park, and then moved on to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park for a couple nights. John had the great idea of dusting off our bikes to explore up and down the park road, so we got some riding and a bit of hiking in. The park isn’t huge, and it seems rather quiet most of the time, but the canyon is magnificent and worth several stops to oogle over the scenery at various viewing points. We are trying to get the most out of our National Parks pass this year, and it hasn’t steered us wrong yet!

Canyon scenery:

The view from our breakfast nook one morning:

A huge boulder that landed on the East Portal Road in April 2008:

The canyon from the East Portal:

This weekend we’re in Leadville for some more mountain training. Our friends Markus and Brandi (whom we met at the German 100 race) recommended it and decided to join us here for a couple days. Today we climbed over Hope Pass twice as training for Brandi’s Leadville 100 race in August – beautiful place!

Freedom and Brandi in the morning: View from the top of Hope Pass looking south:

Mount Hope (13,933 ft and west of the pass) - John climbed to the top:

At the top of Quail Mountain (east of the pass, 13,461 ft):
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