This morning, we slept in until 6AM so that we could get a full 8 hours of sleep for the first time in a while. After filling up on continental breakfast, we loaded the bikes and started riding again, this time pointed south towards the San Juan Mountains.
The weather has been a challenge, with a chance of thunderstorms every afternoon, and today was forecasted to be no different. Our legs were feeling sore after yesterday’s hike, though, so we were in no hurry.
The ride to Ridgway was a very gradual climb, back up to almost 7,000′, finishing with a bike path through a park along the Uncompahgre River.
When the alarm went off at 3:30AM, for once, we didn’t press snooze. We were very excited about the hike up Handies and needed to start as early as possible to reduce the chances of being caught in a storm. We took breakfast to go: energy drinks, donuts, granola, and yogurt.
It was another cold morning in the mountains of Colorado; so cold that have been regretting the fact that we sent home our full-fingered gloves! The morning started out with a few miles of downhill, which usually is nice, but today we were looking forward to the uphill afterwards so that we could warm up.
Halfway through the four mile climb, we stripped down to our base layers, but at the top, we layered up again for the descent.
It was still cold and drizzly this morning, so we took some extra time to relax and wait for it to warm up. We left Taylor Park Reservoir and headed down into Gunnison Canyon, which provided gorgeous views of enchanting forests and formidable rock as we wound down along the river.
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.