Monday, September 12, 2016

Horse Gulch and Animas Mtn from Hotel

[Previously posted on FB 12-Sept-2016]
I woke to rain in the area and high probability of afternoon thunderstorms developing. What to do... There are several days worth of riding right from town (Durango). I've ridden some of it on past trips, but it is not the primary draw for me. The high country is.
The Trails 2000 organization has been busy building new trails. One I wanted to hit was Skyline, which switchbacks a zillion times up to the top of Raider Ridge. This group knows how to design and build sustainable trails for multi-use. If I ever move here, I would love to join them. Then just last year, Trails 2000 finished a descent from Raider Ridge into Horse Gulch, named Sugar.
These two new trails are fabulous. My tired legs didn't clean all the switchbacks up Skyline, but the Sugar descent was more fun than a guy my age should be allowed to have. Every turned was bermed for maximum speed.
I hit many other trails I had not ridden, some of which also seemed quite new. I was in a race against weather. The skies went from cloudy at sunrise to bluebird by 9:30am back to thunder in multiple directions shortly after noon. Just barely avoided getting soaked, finishing with 33.5mi and 3200ft of climbing.
After a huge combo platter at Gazpacho's (on the spicier side Mexican), I hiked up Animas City Mtn right behind my hotel. Clear sky above, but there was thunder just to the west. Another 1500ft up and back in 5.8mi at sunset, getting just a little wet in last two minutes back to hotel.

Durango and the Animas River from the college mesa

Raider Ridge. Wondering why I didn't head for the high peaks to ride. But not for long.

Animas City Mtn across the valley, which I decided to hike up in the evening

Raider Ridge Trail is a notch beyond my skill level in many spots. Exposure and uber slabby. Fortunately I was not going to traverse the whole ridge.

Heading up to Telegraph Pass

Some very nice bench singletrack en route to Telegraph Pass

Telegraph Pass. Remnants from a bygone era.

Very tired today, took time to notice the many types of flowers in bloom in Horse Gulch trail system

You come around a bend, and there's a Walmart. Never far from town, even though sometimes it sure feels like you are.

Prickly Pear cactus is not something you usually associate with Colorado.
First view portal on Animas City Mtn. Switchbacks heading up to college mesa I rode in the morning. Raider Ridge next level above college mesa.

This ledge was about 650ft above town

Animas River

Mountain I'm on casting a shadow across the valley

1500ft above town, sunset, but storm cell to west wasn't helping to produce the lighting I was hoping for.

These are everywhere. Much more purple than my camera and/or laptop screen depict

You ride the loop on Animas City Mtn too, which I've done before. Kinda sucks though, because so much of it is ankle biting/tire slipping chunder

Looking down the trail post sunset, downtown in distance

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