Day 12. June 29.
Stagecoach StatePark to Steamboat Lake StatePark
I frequently get asked”What was your favorite part of the trail?” I always stumble to answer confidently with one place. Each day is filled with unique people and landscapes. Yet, I’ve found my favorite part of Colorado. We’ve slowed the pace a bit for the final 75 miles, soaking up all that makes it special.
Riding into Steamboat Springs today was truly pleasant. Upon closer inspection of the map we learned the Valley is actually called Pleasant Valley.
While things become simpler on the trail life doesn’t come to a screeching halt. After filling up with a green chile inspired breakfast at the local joint Winona’s, I spent the morning taking care of business at the library. Some big life changes are in the air….stay tuned.
After cooling off on the Yampa River and carbo loading at the Mountain Tap Brewery we pushed on for another 17 Miles to the small “town” of Clark.
Friday afternoon camper traffic whizzed by too closely and we called my Dad for a bailout-a benefit of riding supported.
I ended the evening zipping around Campground trails with my Nephew Croix.
Day 13. June 30.
Steamboat Lake StatePark to Ladder Ranch
Cool and Overcast
Confession Time. Because of Friday afternoon traffic we skipped 11 Miles yesterday that we needed to make up today. We had two choices. Ride southbound from our campsite to Clark and then get picked up and driven back to resume our ride. Or, get dropped off where we left off yesterday and then continue northbound. The map revealed a 1,000 ft descent southbound. We rode southbound. To the purists out there who ride unsupported and battle out the elements no matter what, high five! You rock and I apologize for any code we broke. To the non purists out there….ride on! Am I right?!
Upon reaching Clark, 30 degree temps called for hot coffee and huevos rancheros. A morning nap for me and a shower for Bahne had us rejuvenated and ready to roll on.
Sometimes the Great Divide provides alternate routes to avoid technical sections or offer better resupply/water sources. We opted for the Columbine alternate which is, according to the guide book, “4 miles shorter but no second choice in terms of gorgeous scenery.” True to its word the Columbine alternate proved spectacular. The first 10 Miles cruised through mature aspen stands and the final 20 rolled through stunning ranch country. We pedaled at a relaxed pace taking in the grand landscape.
Our evening accommodations are in a rustic cabin on the working Ladder Ranch. This is a bonafide ranch complete with communal dinner (that’s the lunch hour meal) and a supper bell for the evening meal. The creek is the only running water and without cell service the birds and sheep provide the only sounds of communication.
Tomorrow we say goodbye to Colorado for good and set our sights on Wyoming.