Gunnison to Taylor Park Reservoir: The cabin de los muertos
Monday June 21, 2010, 36 miles (58 km) – Total so far: 1,868 miles (3,006 km)
It’s a short ride today to Taylor Park Reservoir to set us up to climb Cottonwood Pass tomorrow. You could potentially do Gunnison to Buena Vista in a day, but I felt that might put us up above treeline right about time for afternoon storms, so I broke the day in two when doing the planning a couple years ago. I figured we could always find a place to go hiking in the afternoon. Jen and I have only ever ridden around Fort Collins together, so we don’t really know each other’s pace or style. Jen, however, runs marathons and does triathlons, so I’m a bit worried about keeping up with her. Especially with her on that tiny, light road bike! But I’m in luck, she’s been so busy with work that she hasn’t been on the bike in a couple weeks, and I’ve been on the road for 46 days, so I’m able to keep up with her over the next 10 days.
The road out of Gunnison has a nice shoulder and a bike path for part of the way. We get to the turn-off at Almont and Jen has energy to burn.
I have such a short daily mileage planned, she wants to do a return trip to Crested Butte. I’m not so keen, so she heads off to enjoy her first day of vacation while I take it easy on Day 47 of mine. The ride up Taylor Canyon doesn’t have too much traffic, there are plenty of campgrounds along the way and the pavement improves the further you head up.
The only thing that detracts from the trip is that there are some locals who think the entire canyon should be their private playground and have ‘No Trespassing – Private Property’ signs all along parts of the river. The owner of one of the housing developments has tried to find ways to stop people from rafting the river through his private property. I’m pretty tolerant, but these type of people really get to me. ‘Nuff said, I decline the soap box.
I stop for a banana at Lottis Creek campground and keep a look out for Mom. If she hasn’t stopped to hike somewhere back along the river she might stop here. Sure enough, she pulls in, and after consultation with the campground host, we determine that we can get in a short hike from here. We have good timing like this many times throughout the Colorado ride. I stick my bike in the CRV and we head off for a 6-mile hike. It’s not too strenuous and it is enjoyable. Mom successfully makes a stream crossing and even though we have to share the trail with some ATVs, they’re quite courteous and not of the obnoxious kind. After the hike, it’s another gourmet picnic lunch with food she has picked up in Gunnison. She sure does spoil me.
Then we head off to finish up the canyon. When I get up to the dam wall I can see Mom’s CRV down at a lookout. When I get there I can see Jen, too. Very good! We take some photos and then cruise down the hill to the Trading Post.
It takes Mom forever – they don’t have a record that she’s already paid for the room, but luckily she’s saved the credit card receipt and gets it straightened out. This place is the centre for ORV fun. There are lots of trails in the nearby forest that permit ATVs and dirt bikes and such, so this place is just crawling with them. They ride between their cabins and the general store and back again and all over the place. It is definitely a different lifestyle than my pushbike 🙂
Our cabin is partway up the hill and I call it the Cabin de los muertos because something has died in the fire pit outside, so if you are outside on that side of the cabin it really stinks. I think that something has died down the shower drain, too, but Mom and Jen don’t agree. They do the next morning though, when the smell is stronger! The cabin worked out fine and it was great to be able to cook a dinner utilising the little kitchen – the cabin just happened to be the one where animals went to die. Jen has a great story about sleeping outside and getting up in the middle of the night to pee, but that is her story, not mine. I will just say it involved some nudity and car headlights.
Ave speed: 12 mph Max speed: 32.4mph
Elevation start: 7703 ft. Elevation end: 9400 ft.