Friends are the best things in the world. Good friends are our foundations and life support as we all find our own way forward.
I had invitations from good friends along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail. Come and stay with us! We’ll feed you, drink with you, do your laundry, and best of all, share stories with you.
So we put in a few longer days which allowed us to have short days biking when invitations were there.
Scott Beattie met us just outside of Steamboat Springs with coolers of cold drinks, energy bars, and big hugs from an old friend. He and his wife Mary had spent many years running their Pincushion B&B in Grand Marais. They had become a part of the fabric of Cook County. Even though their move to Colorado a few years ago put miles between them and their former home, the bonds remain strong. Scott showed us the town. Mary made a wonderful meal. And we shared stories till the sandman came. It was a great visit.
Scott biked with us for the first few miles out of town, then we headed for our first big pass in Colorado. There will be many more. Lynx Pass is around 10,500 ft but the climbing is spread out over 20 miles. No steep struggles with this one. It was truly a delight to enjoy the scenery while slowly working our way over the big rise. Lynx is not a well traveled pass. Rabbit Ear’s Pass and Gore Pass are much more widely used. After an easy go on the Pass we were confronted with very rugged rocky country on the other side. We struggled mightily on the small tote road as it snaked it’s way up and down the sharp hills. Finally reaching an actual descent, we found ourselves moving down the twisting rocky dirt path at a hardly controlled pace. It was the steepest downhill dirt road I’ve ever biked. Too late for brakes we skidded and slid our way along until a little break finally gave us a chance to slow down and breathe. Far below us we could see the remains of the Radium Mine. It was with a much more controlled pace that I reached the bottom.
We spent the night in Radium. Just a few buildings remain plus a small campground along the river that mainly served rafters and kayakers.
Our next day brought us to Silverthorne. My life long friend and fellow adventurer Becky was awaiting us. We had a small two day window to catch her before she left for Minnesota to visit her relatives. We made it happen.
Becky lives just a couple blocks off the Divide Trail. She moved to Summit County after retiring from a long teaching career. Her love of skiing, hiking and adventure made this place a natural fit. Over the years I have enjoyed so many outdoor adventures with her that it feels like home to me too. I couldn’t find a better friend.
After a great night of food, stories and drink with Becky and her son Adam we had to hit the Trail again.
Once again we were headed for a big Pass. This one is the Boreas Pass just below Breckenridge. We didn’t know what to expect as it is 11,492 feet high. Our highest pass thus far. Fortunately, Boreas Pass was originally built as a railroad crossing. The grades are all easy- we had an unexpectantly easy day. A very good day.
I left Brian on the Divide Trail to bike over to FairPlay where Pat and Karen Neal have a beautiful home built high on a foothill with a huge view. I will connect with him in the morning in Hartzell. As with my other hosts, Pat and Karen have had a long time presence in Cook County and have a home there as well. Karen has invited me to their home several times over the years. I was looking forward to the honor.
Pat has spent a lifetime as a pilot. Now in his eighties, macular degeneration is threatening even his driving license. Despite two cochlear transplants he struggles to hear. A-fib limits his physical activities. Yet his attitude is great and we shared stories here in his living room at over 10,000 feet.
Karen has hiked many 14ers here in Colorado and continues to do so with friends of all ages. She does beautiful glass mosaics in her downstairs studio – artwork fills their home here. She’s dreaming of a hiking trip to Patagonia in the next year. Full of energy.
i enjoyed a great evening of good food and conversation with the Neal’s. And a comfortable bed.
Today I’ll reconnect with Brian. We are heading to Salida continuing our biking adventure.