Sunday, December 18, 2011


Saturday morning I woke up with the itch to ride. Really nothing different from any morning, but the Sand Canyon trail was especially on my mind. I knew it wasn't going to be anything long or particularly strenuous, so after a good spin workout at Durango Rec Center, my roommate and I loaded the bikes and headed to Cortez. Notorious for writing down and then forgetting to bring directions to the trailhead, I tried to navigate from memory. Turn right on Cty Rd G and go 12 miles.  County Rd G looks like this:

The scenery doesn't change much for several miles before and PAST the Canyon of the Ancients, which is where the Sand Canyon Trail begins. I actually was dead on except we forgot to check the odometer after the turnoff and went a bit too far. We finally stopped to ask directions from the first sign of human life we saw.The old Indian man that gave us directions sounded (I kid you not) exactly like this:

Farmer Fran

(Ok, minus the southern accent)

We somehow were able to decipher that we had passed the TH a few miles back. Once we got parked and going on the bikes, the trail turned out to be perfectly dry and fast. It was only about 6.5 miles one way to Sand Canyon and 1300' of elevation gain, but the views were pretty spectacular and I stopped to take more pictures than I probably needed to:

The first half mile was slickrock

Only five other bikers out to play on a beautiful 50 degree day in Dec

Just like a bluebird day in June
Ancient ruins were abundant throughout the ride
Deep canyons and snowy peaks

Little bit o' chunky, techy stuff to keep us honest

About 1.5 miles from the Sand Canyon TH is the junction for the East Rock Creek trail. A little over 5 miles in all, this trail is by far the best of the two. Some short, challenging hills, lots of fun technical stuff and about 2 miles of fast downhill looped us back to the parking lot as the sun was beginning to sink in the sky. No pictures except this one about 0.5 miles from the end because the trail was just too good to stop at all for a picture.

Back at the car, the light hung low in the sky:

We stopped for some dinner in Cortez on the way back to Durango and on the wall hung this sign:

What more can I say?

No comments:

Post a Comment