Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Day 47: An up and down day

Day 47
Hot Sulphur Springs to Walden 62 miles

Last night bought quite a spectacular thunder storm. I was very glad that I had moved my tent. Rather than having to cower in my tent in the other campsite, I was able to watch the show whilst sat on Paul's porch drinking a beer. Although even by the time I got in my tent, it was still raining very hard.

Woke up and packed away my rather damp tent. Tom wasnt going to be ready to head out for a while but we agreed to meet up in Walden, where we both planning on stopping in.

Setting out at around 8am, it was definitely the coolest day of the entire trip. There was a lot of low hanging cloud covering the top of the surrounding mountains. It wasnt necessarily cold – I was still in shorts and t-shirt – but I stop after a couple of miles to make sure my cold and wet weather gear was at the top of my panniers!

Today was another climbing day, with the Willow Creek pass my aim for the morning. It was about 30miles to the top, and then 30miles down the other side to Walden. Once I turned on to the road to begin climbing, I had a very steep initial hill, but after that it got a lot more gradual. Most of the route took me alongside Willow Creek, which, like the Colorado river yesterday, was looking a bit angry and had clearly burst it banks at many points. Most of the climbing was actually pretty gentle, and also very scenic.

The last couple of miles were pretty steep, but by 11am I was cresting the summit and crossing the Continental Divide for the second time in 3 days. I was now back on the Atlantic side of the divide for a while. I think I cross it another 5 times before the end of the ride – hopefully if it all goes well I'll end up on the Pacific side!

The downhill part of the ride wasnt as quick as I hoped. About every ½ mile or so, there was a little uphill section which was either too long and/or too steep to simply coast up using my speed. My legs seemed to keep seizing up when they weren't being used on the downhill bits, so it was always a bit of a struggle to get them working again!

After a while I came into a large meadow. It was pretty windy which slowed me up. I was also getting pretty hungry. No breakfast, and there was basically no services on the route at all today. In Rand there was a gift shop which sold a few bits of food and drink. So I had a Milky Way and a gatorade. The rest of the route to Walden was fairly uneventful, apart from the awful road surface. Every couple of metres was a big crack in the road. Probably not too bad if you're in a big 4x4, but I felt everyone!

Got to Walden around 1pm. Its one of those days where I would have liked to have gone further, but there wasnt another town for about 40miles, so I stopped for the day. Bit like yesterday, not the most exciting day. The climbing was nice, and it was also my last mountain pass in Colorado. Tomorrow I'll cross over into Wyoming and into my 6th state. Should be good.

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