Colorado gets Steep – Fed by Mennonites – Meet the Hoodoos – Cycling the Great Divide, USA

We left Breckenridge to head up the Boreas Pass, which was a gentle climb up to 11,482 feet through aspen forests.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With great views from the topP1080050

Heading down the other side was not such fun as the 25 mile descent had a washboard surface which is what happens when cars are driven badly on dirt roads and meant that by the time we reached the valley by recently broken hand was badly bruised.

Arriving in the valley was like moving into another universe after being in affluent, touristy Breckenridge.  At first sight the near ghost town of Como looks like any other, until you realise that all the well maintained houses are empty and only 14 people live here. This was the first place people had refused to give us water on the grounds that it was so polluted that even filtering it did not remove the foul smell.  We camped behind the large community hall and watched as no lights came on in the houses.  The spooky feel was added to later, once it got dark,  by the howling of a pack of coyotes nearby.
P1070815Arriving in Hartsel we found one or two more people, but the town was very run down. They did have a great cafe, which was good as we were running low on food. They were happy for us to fill up with water, but this still had the smell of old mine pollution. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe solved my painful hand problem by using pipe lagging on my thumb, this was improved later by lagging the handlebar.
P1070836We now started climbing some high and steep passes, generally camping at around 3000 meters (9850 feet) at night and cycling over passes of 3500 meters (11,500 feet) during the day. In addition to our normal luggage we were also carrying 4 days of food about 7 kgs, (when I say we I mean Bernie.)P1070846The advantage of camping high is the stunning morning views,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA the disadvantage was that it was literally freezing at night.  Our water bottles froze and our tent poles froze to the tent (and my toes froze!)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter a series of higher and higher passes
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe finally made it over Indiana Pass, which at 3640 meters (11,950 feet) was the highest on our trip, so all down hill from here, or not!
P1070988The weather was getting unpredictable as we arrived at the appropriately named Storm King Pass campsite. As we had hardly seen a soul for a couple of days it was a suprise to find about 50 people sitting in rows in the campsite.  The women were wearing long dresses and had covered hair. It turned out they were Mennonites on a picnic. Several of them came over to chat with us, and as the skies opened and the torrential rain started they cut us extra logs for a fire and gave us home made stew and cheesy potatoes. If any of you are reading this, thank you, it was very much appreciated.

Dropping down into the valley from the high passes,
P1070876We came across sandstone rock formations called Hoodoos. Not sure what you think but go me this one looks like a goblin climbing over the top.
P1070914And these ones definitely have faces
P1070910Or maybe we have just been out here too long!
P1070907As we neared New Mexico we went through an area rich in iron and copper deposits.
P1070981The hills were multi-coloured red, yellow and green
P1080021And the waterways were stained yellow and red.  We had been warned not to drink any of the water in this area due to natural leeching and man-made mining pollution. This meant we had had to carry and extra 6 litres of water (6 kgs) up the pass.
P1080023You can see what attracted the attention of the early prospectors.
P1080030Luckily as we decended the water quality improved.
P1080033This is all that remains of the early prospecting town at Summitville.

We are cycling from Canada to New Mexico, along the Great Divide, to raise money for the humanitarian charity ShelterBox.  If you would like to donate directly to them click on the donate button on the side of this  blog or on the ShelterBox tab along the top of the blog. This will take you to our Justgiving site and the money will go directly to ShelterBox.  If you would like to know ,ore about ShelterBox and the work that they do, go to our links page and click on ShelterBox.

2 thoughts on “Colorado gets Steep – Fed by Mennonites – Meet the Hoodoos – Cycling the Great Divide, USA

  1. Great to hear from you again. I am impressed by your progress. You have had amazing experiences in each of the western states. Best wishes are you continue. Ellen


    1. Hi Ellen, We have, in fact, got down to Silver City, NM, and the end of the ride, I am just a bit behind with the blog as we have been out in the wilderness for a while with no wifi access. Even in Silver City, which is a great place, I am having access and download issues. It’s been a really hard ride but now it’s finished it is a bit odd.


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