Salida Fall

It’s funny how some of the best things in life are unexpected. Back in the winter/spring we had talked about places to spend the summer. Salida was high on the list, but ultimately was stricken since I had already spent a full summer there. We settled on Durango, and had a super ~2 months there. After bouncing around for a month, we expected to land back in Durango for the fall — my first real fall spent in Colorado. But then we lost our housing possibility, Vapor Trail happened, floods happened, and all the pieces came together such that a Salida Fall made perfect sense.

And it’s pretty much been bliss ever since.

I think I’ll stop, right about here…

Eszter’s riding has been on the up and up. We tackled ‘Guts’ and came out smiling and cracked out. I forget how fun the lower part of that trail is. The upper part… not as much.

Super easy / duck rides, to ensure a small dose of ‘reasonable’ is thrown into the mix.

The weather has been mostly beautiful. Four to five days of sunshine followed by a low pressure system.

Such systems have been dropping early season white junk in places it doesn’t belong. Places we want to ride.

Luckily there are plenty of other places to ride and explore, so there’s no need to complain. Plus, you can push through some snow and still do most anything you want. This was an out and back ride on the Crest with the Juicy Trails crew — a ride that Eszter was lucky enough to score a shuttle ride from.

One day we noticed that the mountains were, at last, starting to turn yellow. It was time to go in search of gold!

Even if it’s raining and cold, it’s still worth it for the first glimpses of fall color. Any segment of the CT ’round here it always worth riding, color or no.

One cold ride is enough to inspire thoughts of desert Arizona. When there’s snow up high and the temps haven’t yet rebounded, there’s plenty of good trail right out the door and down in the ‘desert.’ I’m never going to get sick of North Backbone, no matter how many times I get to ride it in this life.

We fought the wind on county roads to Buena Vista. The reward was sweet upon our singletrack return.

The Colorado Trail.

Back deck sunsets and photo geeking. Best place to eat lunch salads as the world goes by. As long as the wind doesn’t steal half your salad.

Our timing for riding with Kep’s HS kids hasn’t been the best. Somber moods after the rockslide that is affecting the whole town. The kids still got a good ride in, and we rode a bonus loop on new and highly entertaining trail.

After throwing a dash of reasonable into the recipe of life, it was time to stir in a couple of long(ish) loops.

Poncha Creek – destroyer of many a Vapor Trail-ee. Not me this year, but I know its sting well.

We expected some of this, above 11,000′, but considered it a gift to be up this high, basking in warm sunlight.

photo by Eszter Horanyi

I dropped the saddle on my dropper post and decided to see what the new Mammoth could do.

Mammoth goes FAST. Where, oh where, was this bike on Vapors past? Rides like a big bike, if you want it to.

Silver Creek came alive, did not cripple my back, feet, hands, all the weak parts.

Rainbow was even better, in the gorgeous evening light, shimmering through yellow leaves and contouring trail. I think I can get used to this dropper post and 5″ travel XC bike thing.

The next day, weather was soon to be coming in. We attended to the business of the day, then headed out for another perfect fall afternoon in the mountains.

Marshall Pass’s railroad grade is not my favorite way to gain elevation.

But the colors were at their peak, and tailwinds were at our back.

This climb can go on for as long as it wants.

Words fail.

We hit the crest, kept climbing, finding only a patch or two of snow.

Our downhill of choice? Agate Creek. Fun and brutal descending, followed by gentle and frolicking trail alongside the creek.

Oh, and 21 creek crossings. We gave up early on the idea of dry feet.

One of the best ways to drop of the Crest trail, for certain. Well worth the extra effort to get to it, even if I grumbled a little bit about getting my bike a little muddy.

That wraps up about a week of Fall in Salida. It’s amazing how much you can cover, experience and see, even without big rides. Just keep heading out, as many times as you can, and enjoy the day.

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