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Friday, August 16, 2013

Blood, Sweat, and Gears, Part Deux...

Where were we? Oh yes, back in the Subaru, cruising south on County (Back) Road 14, "Moon Roof" wide open to better accommodate the often vertical views and near perfect weather...which is to say, threatening clouds, but at a distance.

To review, the road we took left off of C R 14, through the open gate, was a spur that dead-ends on the summit of Red Mountain Number 3. Yes, for those who can't hike as well or far as they'd like, you can drive clear to the top (with four wheel drive) on a pretty decent road and take in the same wonderful top-of-the-world views you see on the last two posts. Someday, hopefully later than sooner, that's what we'll be doing (sigh). It's not cheating to drive, it's just the reality of a seemingly sudden achievement, that age when the spirit still chomps at the bit, but the flesh is weak. 

In my humble estimation, C R 14 provides challenging, but doable mountain biking opportunities, and the best part is that there are actually two places where 14 goes off...one just before Red Mountain Pass and one just after. Both bring you back to Highway 550's pavement, and both are mostly downhill, provided you started near the pass. Of course if you don't make arrangements for a ride back to your car on Red Mountain Pass, you'll have to peddle the pavement. 

Will you have to get off and push some on 14? Yes, especially if you have Red Mountain Number 3's summit in mind, and not as much if you stay on 14 proper. Try to think of it this way, pushing your machine is part of the adventure. If that doesn't "add up" in your mind, then let me make a case that left brainers will understand. Sometimes you can push a mountain bike up hills faster than you can peddle. The glorious view is the same either way. The clean air is just as pure either way. The "Burly Man/Girl achievement is no less either way. 

"Well, why even take a Mountain Bike," you ask, "Why not just hike it?" Well, because some people are "Bike Snobs," and they think the wheel is sacred...especially if it measures 29 inches. The other reason is that what goes up must come down...and it begs the question, would you rather walk down, OR FLY! :)

Now for a few more photos, including views of all the Red Mountains from different perspectives at the end of this post.
Have a great weekend. Now go ride a bike :)

Yes Dear, I saw the lightening...

Red Mountain Number 1 from Red Mountain Number 3. Number 1 is above the jeep road seen in the distance (the furthest red mountain) We climbed it by hiking up Grey Copper Gulch on the other side, and then walked the road back down to our car.  

Looking southwest PANORAMA!

The remaining photos were taken on previous climbs, some showing all of the anomalous Red Mountain Range. 

Taken on Red Moun. number 1 near the summit and looking toward Lovely Ouray

From the summit of Red Number 1.  IT was as if  I was riding on top of a serpent or dragon...just an incredible scene and feeling

Red Mountains, all, taken from the ridge to Mount Abram, looking south

Again, taken from the summit of Mount Abram. Highway 550 below in the Ironton portion.

This photo taken from cross-canyon near Bullion King Mine. Red Number 3 is on the far left...you can see the road making its way to the summit...as well as other beep roads in the distance.

Same as above photo only closer...

A look at the entire Red range...early fall, misty day...

Red Number 2 is in the foreground, just below the skyline...our next destination. Then we will have bagged all three, not that that's important (yes it is-no it's not-yes it is-no it's not.....)


  1. Even in our younger mountain biking days we did a lot of "hike and bike". Now we just enjoy the hike without the bike.
    I, too, dread the day that we will only be able to get to those views by Subaru.


  2. Those colors are just insane! And the vistas aren't bad either! What a wonderful place you call home.

    No matter how feeble I get, nature will always be at the top of my list.

    Metamorphosis Lisa

  3. For years I've given you hortatory urging to include some captions on the photos, so I can tell which direction it is looking, etc.

    So today's post was noted and appreciated.

    There are three important reasons for a hiker to consider mountain biking:

    1. You can carry stuff on the bike, instead of a sweaty pack on your back.

    2. Hiking is rough on feet and, sometimes, knees and hips.

    3. When the hiker gets to the top, there is nothing to look forward to (after taking in the view). The trip down is DREARY at best, and is likely to be just plain annoying. On the bike, the descent will be WHOOP-DEE-DOO!

    That might sound a little frivolous. But one can get emotionally hooked on looking forward to the descents, and rolling up to the car with a huge smile on your face. You got your reward, and you deserved it!

  4. Mark, is there a book or map you would recommend for those of us wanting to explore this gorgeous back country? We'll be back the beginning of Sept. and can't wait to hit the back country again.

  5. Breathtaking. Sights I will never see firsthand. the colors!

  6. There just aren't enough words for those magnificent Red Mountains! I have a real fascination with them. You can't shown me enough photos. Thanks:) Looks like a perfect day!

  7. Alright! Chris has looked over at this road every year as we have gazed from the tops of other mountain peaks. Every time he asked someone about jeeping it, they said it was closed off with a cable. Will now put it on the to-do list. Thanks for the update!

  8. Saw your header picture for the first time tonight. Breathtaking!
    This flatlander thanks you for using the term '29s' in context. Had no idea it's a bike.

  9. "Yes it is, No it's not". Do you keep a hiking journal? I'm debating with myself - Do I want to keep a hand written journal? I have a bad habit of not keeping up with stuff like that. I think I will just use my blog to record things.

  10. Decents are dreary? I say those who feel that way shut off their minds at the top... or closed their eyes!

    It's kinda like saying watching a GORGEOUS bikinied blonde beauty swaying toward you in the sunshine is wonderful... but then it's dreary when she's walkin' away... I submit that both views have their attributes! You just have to look for 'em! ;)

    and poor poor Mark... You've been SO deluded by sweat and running shoe salesmen. The correct tire size of a bike is 21" on the front... 18" on the back... and a rumbling V-Twin in between! :)

  11. Wow, what the fantastic views of the landscapes. hiking sounds amazing.
    such a great adventure tour, thanks for sharing with us....

  12. We've been through Durango many times en route to Pagosa Springs. Not sure I'm brave enough for the drive to lovely Ouray in MH towing the jeep. But we'll find a way. This is too beautiful to be missed due to a scary mountain road! BTW, Mark...which Canon wide angle lens do you use?

  13. Lynda,
    You won't be disappointed... mid July is wildflower season...last week in September the aspen are turning...give or take a week.

    My "wide angle" is equivalent to an 18 mm...but there is always cropping when one needs to accent the effect :)). Love the digital world...


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