Sunday, June 17, 2012

Visiting the High Lonesome

I'm carrying 5 stitches in my pinky finger, so I needed a ride that would be a little more mellow. And I've been wondering how the Continental Divide Trail north of the Alpine Tunnel is looking. Normally it would still be covered in snow, but of course this year is light.

I drove up to Mt Princeton Hot Springs and pedaled up the canyon to the Hancock Townsite.

I climbed up to Williams Pass...

Up and over to the west side of the Continental Divide.

Beautiful little cluster of columbine over on the west side.

Climbed back up to the west portal of the Alpine Tunnel, then hike-a-bike up to Altman Pass (the tunnel burrowed under Altman Pass).

So many beautiful vistas up there.

Palindrome number.

The last part of the CDT used to be a steep, mostly fall-line drop into the North Chalk Creek drainage. A dumping of hard-won elevation in a boring brake-burner. It's being re-routed, and the newly routed trail is a joy. Reminds me of the series of tight switchbacks at the end of the Reno-Flag-Bear ride near Crested Butte.

My flow was interrupted by surprisingly few down trees (considering what a problem blow-down has been this early season.

I pulled out the hand saw and clipped this one out.

Nice ride. What a dramatic trail!


Matt said...

Aesome....I've got to spend some time up there in daylight one of these years. Is there (or was I should say) an actual Tunnel at Alpine?

Tom Purvis said...

There is a collapsed tunnel. It's super interesting history actually. The thing was built in the late 19th century for a sickening amount of money, collapsed after one or two seasons, got fixed for another bale of money then collapsed again for good right after. It was used for maybe 8 seasons total? Part of a race to the gunnison valley between the Denver and South Park and the RR Otto Mears was working for, the Denver and Rio Grande. Otto designed and built the road over Marshall.

Ed said...

Nice 'light' ride!