I decided to climb up Cottonwood from the bottom rather than the normal looping down from the road and doing Cottonwood as a descent. I've heard that the forest service road above is quite muddy, and I wanted to get in a nice climb anyway.
Climbing Cottonwood was an interesting change. It's very climbable, with some nice technical moves required to clean some of the rock drops. Some I couldn't negotiate, but most were in play. And it's cool to look around as you move slowly through this beautiful terrain.
But of course the descent is a gas. It's been several months since I've done this much of it. Always a pleasure to start hitting it in the emerging season.
As I approached my exit from the gulch the wind was ripping, and the weather appeared to have arrived in the valley. I couldn't see across to the Sangre de Christo clearly. The mountains were visible, but barely. I expected to need to pull out my shell for the last 20 minutes down and back to the house.
But it never turned into moisture. At first I assumed it was cloud fog. Then I realized from the feeling and flavor in my nose and mouth that it was dirt. The fierce wind was blowing dirt up from the east. Later it rained mud, totally spattering cars with sandy drops.
Great ride. Weird weather.