Ride to the hike – Byers and Vasquez Peaks

Look! Proof that we occasionally hit the trail early.

I was overly excited and awoke at an uncivilized hour. It’s not every day you have a new peak to climb, accessible by bike/foot right from ‘home.’ Alpine(ish) starts are a good idea when heading above treeline in Colorado, too.

did you know that Revelate Pockets are an easy and perfect way to carry running shoes?

An hour and a half of fun singletrack was the warm up. Up and down 500 foot climbs, through the lodgepoles and beetle-cleared openings. This is a good way to start the day.

The goal ahead: Byer’s Peak.

1.8 miles to the bike rack, steeply uphill and closed to cars.

The best kind of ‘ride to the hike’ is when you get to ride a little further than you can drive. It feels like you ‘get something’ for the effort of pedaling there.

Not that there aren’t plenty of other rewards for the effort, in general. Bikes ditched, shoes changed into, it’s time to climb above treeline and walk ridgelines.

Err, climb, a little bit, too.

Hello there, rock ptarmigan!

Such a beautiful and aesthetic line for a trail, as ridgelines tend to be.

Hopping back on the bikes, it was nearly all downhill, with some singletrack into the town of Fraser. First stop was pizza, naturally. Then we pedaled the bike path and ‘hill of doom’ back home.

Looking back at Byers, covered in dark storm clouds, we were happy with our ‘early’ start. We caught the only sunny window of the day up there.

A few days later we again strapped running shoes under our handlebars (they are bulky to carry in a pack) and rolled out the door to pedal up Vasquez Creek.

Once again, we ‘got’ something for our pedaling effort: we had 3.5 miles of closed-to-cars climbing before the Wilderness boundary.

Ditch bikes, throw on the shoes and hat, and get to walking.

At treeline, we improvise a steep shortcut. The extra 3.5 miles of hiking required to get up here means it’s rarely traveled, so there was rarely a trail anyway.

our goal, Vasquez Peak, is the one on the right

No trail needed up here. No justification for the time spent needed, either. These are some of the best moments of life, spent wandering above treeline, especially with the best kind of company.

Cool white cairn at the final saddle before the peak. Quartzite, or marble, or?

From the top we could see Jones Pass and the CDT. There’s almost always snow on the pass. We sure encountered some last summer.

It was perhaps one of my favorite sections of the whole CDT.

Do places like this really exist? Simply magic.

Love the psychedelic colors up high, especially as autumn settles in.

I guess we keep going down from here! We walked the ridgeline back, instead of our ‘shortcut’, not wanting to leave any sooner than we had to, especially given the non-threatening clouds.

We hiked/jogged back through the trees to the bikes. I love hopping back on the bike after adventuritas like this — you’re warmed up, you’re tired of being on your feet, and used to slower travel. To coast is absolute bliss. To pop off rocks and erosion channels is even better — to float through the air. Your feet and hands aren’t tired of sitting on a bike. You appreciate the virtues of traveling both by foot and by bike.

We initiated emergency pizza procedures at Hernando’s as soon as we returned home. A good day in the mountains. We love it here in Winter Park, and are looking forward to more Colorado bike/foot adventures this September. So thankful for the energy, opportunity and circumstances at large we are currently lucky to enjoy.

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