We left Breckenridge on Colorado 9 and headed north to Frisco. We had planned on riding the Dam Road to Dillon and then taking U.S. 6 from there, but the road around the reservoir was closed.
So, we backtracked a little bit and took Swan Mountain Road around the east side of the reservoir and it turned out to be a beautiful ride!
We quickly climbed out of the valley and found ourselves stopping at a pullout just above Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. Or if you’re local, “A-Basin”. Or if you’re a hipster, just “A-Bay”.
Anyhoo, this mountain reminded me of a blown out volcano.
For scale reference, notice our bikes in the lower center of the picture below!
And a close up!
The view back through the valley was gorgeous!
I tried to take a thumbs up selfie, but instead it looks like I’m about to punch the camera!
We continued on and were soon at the summit of Loveland Pass, and once again standing on the Continental Divide.
I found a parking spot next to a pretty interesting sign!
The view looking back down where we came from.
There was a really neat trail from the summit that I would have loved to explore.
There are about 5-6 adults in this picture at different points along the trail!
From this point we could see all the way down to I-70 which is (unfortunately) where we were headed. You can barely see the interstate at the bottom right of the picture below.
It was unfortunate, because, as usual, there were heavy construction delays and we lost over an hour to sitting still on the super slab. At one point, we put the kickstands down and got off the bikes for a stretch and walk around.
The crazy part was that we only needed to go 20 miles to get to our exit and head towards Mt. Evans. This time delay definitely cost us later on that night when the wind and cold set in…
After we got through the traffic jam and off of the interstate, we made it to Echo Lake, near Mt. Evans. Even though it looks warm, it was only in the 30’s at that altitude, and the temperatures were rapidly dropping.
I would like to come back here during the summer and hike around this trail!
The view from Echo Lodge parking lot is amazing!
We ate a power bar and some jerky, added extra clothing layers, then took one last look before descending from the summit.
We took Colorado 103 (Squaw Pass Road) and made it in to Evergreen, where we found a beautiful herd of elk on the side of the road! We found an open space to park just across the street from them (so that we could get a picture). But as I went to get off, my hand slipped and I hit the horn!
That was all it took.
In the moments after that I thought I was going to die…
But NOT because of the elk!
Some woman behind me started going nuts, yelling at me about scaring them off. I tried to tell her it was an accident but she keeps walking right at me saying, “What were you thinking” and making other comments.
So, (to my shame) I had enough and sort of yelled, “IT WAS AN ACCIDENT!”, at which point she muttered and walked away.
As you can see, the elk were quite traumatized from the whole thing…
We counted over 30 cows hanging out with this one bull.
Once we got through Conifer, we turned on to S Foxton Road and enjoyed a beautiful drive through the valley down to SW Platte River Road. This was a beautiful area with the road winding along the Platte River!
As we met back up with Colorado 67 and headed south towards Woodland Park, the temperatures got colder, and the sun began to set.
Now it was dark. We were already a little tired from the long day of beautiful, but tiring, mountain riding…but the cold made it worse. We both had all of our layers on, and our heated grips glowing on full, but we just couldn’t get warm enough.
We could literally feel ourselves mentally slowing down. It also didn’t help that we hadn’t really eaten anything of substance in hours.
About 45 minutes from home we got off the bikes for a few minutes, shook the cold out, slapped our helmets around, and then hopped back on for the final leg. But those last few miles were the hardest that we had ridden the entire journey!
We kept asking each other through the headset, “Are you okay”?
“Yeah. Are you?
“Yeah…almost there. Just a little bit longer and we’ll be there.”
And sure enough, God guided us safely home to my smiling family, a warm home, and a delicious meal waiting on the table.
We had lived the joy of riding 1300+ miles across Colorado over the past 6 days, and yet the reality of all we had just experienced still seemed like a dream.
If it was a dream…it was one I would want to dream again.
Although my story is done, I still have a few more pictures to share that Shawn captured, a slide show, and three videos from various places on our journey. I’ll post those over the next couple of weeks!
I hope you have enjoyed the journey as much as I have enjoyed re-living it through these posts! It was an epic, wonderful, amazing, and breathtaking few days of Riding Across Colorado!