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Published: August 29th 2015
Boreas Pass: 11,480-ft.
Only about 10 miles south of bustling Breckenridge, yet a world away.
Hello folks, from Salida (pronounced sal-EYE-dah), where Fi and I are enjoying a casual day in one of Colorado's best mountain biking and outdoor sports towns... just a hip, fun town to spend a day or two. From here, our route becomes more remote, mountainous, and arid, so we're soaking up a couple nights of restaurant food and comfy motel beds before we head back out. We've also had to buy some more water storage bladders and filtering gear, as we're advised that finding water will become more challenging as we continue into southern Colorado and New Mexico. Pulling water from cow troughs doesn't really appeal to us, and we're really hoping it doesn't come to that.
Traveling from Silverthorne, we passed first through the thriving ski and summer resort town of Breckenridge (where an old, termite-ridden barn with no water or electricity will cost over $400k, and only if it's on fire at the time of sale) then over the 11,500ft Boreas Pass, and into the tiny, forgotten community of Como. Once a thriving railroad town, Como began to atrophy to its current ghost town condition when the railroad stopped running (and the tracks were pulled up) in tbe
Dillon Reservoir, Frisco, CO
The ride from Silverthorne to Breckenridge (about 18 miles) was a bike path, i.e. smooth pavement with no cars! Colorado is the most bike-friendly state we've seen.
1930s. Looking for a place to pitch our tent for the night, we met David, originally from Essex, England, and his enormous dog, Shadow. Dave kindly offered that we camp on the lawn of his currently closed inn, also offering us full use of the inn's commercial kitchen and bathroom facilities. David's generosity didn't stop there; as other Great Divide bike trekkers Daniel and Eve from the Czech Republic, and Alexei from Chicago rolled in, Dave waved them over to his place where we all hung out in the inn's pub drinking Dave's beer. He scoffed each time we tried to offer him some money for camping, beer, and for a free breakfast the following morning. We all had a great time that night, just chatting and laughing... until David's dog got hold of a raccoon. Once the dog-versus-raccoon bout was declared a draw, as the two combatants were separated with a broom and the raccoon climbed into David's open car, we all retired to our respective tents, only feet away from a very angry, potentially rabid raccoon. I swear, if it's not bears, it's crazy vermin that we're having to watch out for! In whole though, it was a
Old railroad water tower, circa 1910
The dirt road to the top of Boreas Pass was once a railway. This water tower served the coal-fired steam engines that plied this route over the mountain to Hartsel.
really nice experience, and we're very grateful to David for his generous hospitality and good company.
The following day we rode to the former cattle town of Hartsel, where we stayed at the Hartsel Guest Ranch, a big ranch house formally the home of cattle magnate Sam Hartsel, the namesake of the small town. It was there that we met up with our trail friends Paul and Susan, who also stayed at the ranch. As its only guests, it was fun having the run of the entire 7-bedroom house to ourselves, using the commercial kitchen to cook our dehydrated meals, and the laundry room to clean our filthy clothes!
From Hartsel, we rode to Salida yesterday. The ride included a lot of open country riding, lots of headwinds, a lot of climbing, one wrong turn (resulting in an additional 8-mile slog), and an exhilarating 10-mile descent into town which left us with big smiles on our faces. We finished the day with a big dinner at a small Italian restaurant, still wearing our sweat-drenched biking clothes; in all, a pretty fun day. To date, we've ridden about 1370 miles, and have accumulated over 74,000 feet of climbing/ascent... with
Coming down from Boreas Pass
Between the well-heeled resort town of Breckenridge and the small outpost of Como, CO.
much more to come!
One final note: Fi would like for me to mention that even though she doesn't do much of the blog writing, she does edit, proofread, and ultimately approve (or delete) its content. I'll try to get her to write another one of these soon.
Thanks for playing along with us. ~ Ken
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