Reaching New Heights (59)

Our plan was to start climbing towards Cottonwood Pass as early as possible this morning, so that we would arrive at the top before any afternoon thunder showers.  We woke early but got caught up in conversations with locals after breakfast at the convenience store. One nice fellow, Chuck Scarbrough, even invited us to his house to stay in town another day, but we had to be on our way.


After climbing a few miles, we crossed paths with another tourer named Leif, who is touring the West.  Originally, he set out to cross the country, but he soon decided he would rather just stay in the West to see more National Parks, hike, etc.  There is definitely a part of us that is jealous of his plan versus ours;  it sounds like a great trip!

After a steep section at ~10,000 feet, we took a break for snacks and a photo op by the creek!

The last last mile or so was the hardest; the road was significantly steeper, and the top came into view.

We reached the pass before the storm rolled in, but just barely.

The altitude was probably having its effect on us at this point, but we were surprised that it wasn’t as big of a factor as we’d expected.  I’m sure it helped that we acclimated slowly as we traveled upward in Colorado, especially with the 3 days off in Denver.

While atop the pass, we ran into another couple, Sandy and Al, who climbed from Buena Vista on a tandem.  It turns out they’re from Ware, NH and are out here bouncing around with a van and doing day trips on their tandem and mountain bikes!

After talking for a while, the storm urged us off the top, and we made the descent on the dirt side, towards Gunnison.  It was twisty and scenic but very cold and bumpy.  We were regretting having sent our full-finger gloves back home when we were in Missouri!

At the bottom of the dirt road, we entered Taylor Reservoir Park, where the cattle were roaming free.

We had skipped lunch at the continental divide due to weather, so we stopped at the trading post for ice cream. It seemed like a poor choice for a cold drizzly day but tasted good nonetheless.

We camped in Taylor Park at the Colorado Dream Ranch rather than pedaling onward, because we were both feeling tired and cold.  After setting up the tent on the top of the hill, we did a bit of reading and not much more. It felt great to be getting an early night. 🙂

Trip stats, to date (Day 59)

  • Buena Vista, CO to Almont, CO
  • Daily mileage: 39.2mi ;  Trip total to date: 3,617.0mi
  • Daily riding time: 4hr 37min;  Trip total time: 313hr 24min
  • Daily ascent: 4,524ft;  Trip total ascent: 173,583ft
  • Flat tires: Rachel – 1; Chris – 1

5 thoughts on “Reaching New Heights (59)”

  1. It was great to meet you guys I hope the Weather has improved .The ride back down from the pass took 41 minuets in the rain .Just to give your followers an idea of the kind of climbing you are doing.Have a safe trip.

    1. Al, great to hear from you and glad you made it down safely! It took us much longer to get down the other side and even then, it was a cold descent. Hope the rest of your trip was enjoyable, thanks for checking out the blog!

  2. Love the picture of the Continental Divide – so cool! And the one that shows the switchback is beautiful.

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