We’ve camped in some pretty unusual places on the trail so far, but this evening’s spot feels rather special. We’ve pitched our tents right next to the Colorado River in the Rocky Mountains and all I can hear as I lie in my sleeping bag is the rush of the water as it races past us, early on in its journey from the snow-capped peaks all around.
The campsite is just a few miles from the town of Hot Sulphur Springs, but this still feels pretty remote. When Mike first dreamed of cycling the TransAm (we are still cycling with a Mike and Chuck who are great company) he had in mind the perfect camping spot – and this is the closest he’s found so far – and we are happy to go along. It’s a magical spot, in the Hot Sulphur Springs State Wildlife area, although the cold mountain water brings a chill to the air.
The day began slowly in Frisco – Mike got a few niggles on his bike sorted out while Terry and I headed off down the trail towards Dillon. We hadn’t gone far before we discovered a coffee and chocolate shop in Silverthorne – basically an out of town shopping village. As with all these places if was all a little soulless – but hey they made tea – with real cold milk. Bliss.
The cycling was also blissful this morning. The fantastic cycle path we had joined at Breckenridge yesterday continued to provide us with the perfect riding surface winding it’s way along the Blue River and past the Dillon reservoir before we eventually joined the SR 9 which would take us to the Springs. Just outside Silverthorne was a great surprise – an Osprey nest high on a pole – the first we had seen since Virginia.
Once we joined the 9 we met up with Mike and Chuck again and we were off – only to stop again a few yards later when we spotted the unusual sight of a field of Yak – not native to North America – but looking very much at home in the Rocky Mountains with their shaggy coats and horns.
Just outside Heeney we met up with Rick riding an ICE trike, an extraordinary machine which looked very comfortable. Rick lives in Chanute in Kansas, which is right in the TransAm route. Having completed the first part with his son a few years back, Rick was now riding the middle section with plans to complete the route in the next few years.
After peanut butter bagels and advocado we took a short-cut to avoid Heeney which involved some climbing round the reservoir (which submerged three previous incarnations of the town of Dillon) and then followed the 9 to Kremmling, where, rain threatening, we ducked into a gas station (yes we are picking up the lingo) to wait it out. But despite dark clouds all around none came so we pressed on.
The scenery, was stunning – we are away from the high peaks find a while and thus terrain was more like a larger version of Dartmoor, but it was all rather spoilt by a busy road with no shoulder and a higher proportion than normal of motorists seemingly determined to kill us.
So it was a real relief to arrive at our campsite, cook up noodles on a camp stove and enjoy the peace and quiet of one of America’s great resources – it’s amazing State and National Parks and Wildlife Areas. We had hoped to see bears, or at least and elk or Moose on the large wooded ridge to our east, but with no joy, but we still hung our food in a tree – just in case. Terry has terrible attacks of the midnight munchies you understand.
Miles today: 60
Miles since First Landing: 2504