Thursday, August 23, 2012

More Hiking, Jeeping, and USA Pro Cycling Challenge


There is no shortage of hiking trails in the Poncha Springs/ Salida/ Buena Vista area of Colorado. We decided to take a hike on the Starvation Creek trail, but weren’t sure from the directions to the trailhead whether the road was doable in a car. Chuck volunteered to take us in their Jeep, but little did we know he was wanting to leave our BLM area by a different route, taking us on Washout Rd. Guess that name should have been cause for alarm, but it was on their map. Started out a bit rough and rocky, then became just what the name said, a washout. Jim, Debbie and I got out to try to look for another road, and Debbie found it a bit higher up. You can’t tell how bad this really was from the picture, but I was not enjoying the ride.


Once we finally got out of there and back on pavement, it turned out we had misread the directions to the trail. So we had to back track, eventually found the correct turn, and after a couple miles on a decent dirt road, the last 2.75 miles to the trailhead were horribly rutted, covered in big rocks, and took what seemed like forever. After an hour and a half drive to get 14 miles, we finally started our hike at 11:45. Not a very early start.


Some dark clouds were looming but we had our rain gear so the rain stayed away. This is a nice trail through the woods that climbs gradually towards the Continental Divide for about 6 miles. We probably hiked about 2.5 miles when we came to a huge rockslide and decided to turn around. We get burned out on hiking after two or three hours, so a 4-6 mile round trip makes for a good day.
Some images from the trail which paralleled the creek the whole way.
Red grass growing in the water.


The shade provided for lots of moss.


And a variety of mushrooms.


The trail is actually the rocks on the left.



And it was lovely strolling through endless aspens.


Yesterday we went to Buena Vista, about 25 miles north, and took the short Barbara Whippel loop trail above the river. We stayed in Buena Vista for a couple weeks in 2010, and really liked the area.
Houses in the new subdivision by the river, with the Collegiate Peaks in the background. The skies looked threatening but we didn’t get rain.


Both Buena Vista and Salida have engineered the Arkansas River for whitewater rafting and kayaking. Guess it paid off in tourist dollars.


Yesterday was also Stage 3 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, a 7 day bicycle race that passed through Buena Vista as the riders rode from Gunnison to Aspen. 130 miles and crossing 2 passes over 12,000’. Had to be a tough day of riding.  And many of the pros who are participating had ridden in the Tour de France just a few weeks ago.
Of course we only got to see them fly by in a matter of seconds, but it’s fun to see all the support vehicles and staff that accompany the riders.


We spotted this recumbent and had to check it out, since we both used to ride Volaes like his. This was the first time we’d ever seen a bimini top on a bike, and he told us all about how he made it. People love talking about their bikes much the same as they do about their RVs.


We capped off the day with another pizza and beer at Amica’s in Salida. It was so good the first time we just had to go back, and we’re glad we did. If we lived here, this would be a regular hangout for sure.


  1. You guys need to enter the Recumbent Pro Challenge!!
    Box Canyon Mark

  2. That subdivision, a perfect way to ruin a beautiful view! You guys are my hero's..... I get to see views that I will never see in real life... I would be dubbed The Turn Around Queen for sure!!

  3. Looks like you guys could have used some big ATVs for that ride.
    What a cool picture of the mushroom. It looks like an exotic flower.
    I can't even begin to think of what type of training those cyclist must do.
    Good way to cap off the and beer...yum!

  4. You sure end up in some cool places. I'm glad it's you and not me, but I enjoy the second hand adventures.

  5. Wish we'd gone to Amica's - maybe next time! Great 4WD road!

  6. Maybe it is called Starvation Creek since so few hikers make it there via the poor road.