This year a group of eight bike-packers began their trip on July 14th being dropped off along Hwy-91 next to Chalk Mountain between Copper Mountain and the Fremont Pass. Little did the group know that they were also being dropped off in the middle of one of the largest molybdenum reserves in the world. It wasn't long as the group was heading cross country on a gravel road to traverse to Camp Hale that Climax Mine Security kindly escorted the group back the way they came. Right then it was known that God had a different agenda than the one prepared by man. The group proceeded up Hwy-91 to Leadville, said to be the highest incorporated city in the country, reaching 10,152 feet of elevation. The 2nd milers set up their tents and spent the night at a picturesque lake northwest of town call Turquoise Lake.
The next morning after breaking camp the riders continued to complete their loop around Turquoise Lake and headed to Leadville to partake in a lunch at High Mountain Pie eating some wonderful pizza. The goal of the 2018 trip was to spend time on the Colorado Trail instead of the Continental Divide Trail like all the previous divide rides. However, there are sections of the Colorado Trail that traverse wilderness areas and human-powered machines are not allowed requiring bikers to detour on roads around these areas and restock supplies in towns, like Leadville. That afternoon the bike-packers headed to Halfmoon Campground only to be greeted by a group of employees for Big Agnes and Honey Stinger, who were doing a relay trip on the entire Colorado Trail and planning to summit on Mount Elbert the next morning.
Day three was the first day the bikers would actually spend time on the Colorado Trail as they headed up the side of Mt. Elbert. Eventually, the trail became more horizontal and wrapped around the mountain before it headed down toward the little village of Twin Lakes. This town is named because of two glacial lakes, which reflect some of the surrounding peaks in the area. Many of the towns in Colorado have boomed and busted on the findings of gold, silver, lead, coal and/ or uranium over the last century, but historical Twin Lakes along Hwy-82 is as quaint now as it ever has been. After lunch from a food truck and restocking snacks at the local store the bikers head to Clear Creek Reservoir. The afternoon was filled with a ride around the lakes, a steady trail climb and then a long decent to Clear Creek before setting up their tents on nice sandy beaches.
Day four would put the group back on the road heading to the Avalanche Trailhead via Buena Vista, Spanish for 'Beautiful View', to grab another great pizza lunch at Eddyline Brewery. Most of the morning turned into a decent to Buena Vista and then most of the afternoon required climbing back up Sheep Mountain heading in the direction of Mt. Princeton. In total the Colorado Trail is nearly 500 miles stretching from Denver to Durango. The highest elevation along the Colorado Trail is 13,334 feet and the Colorado Trail is divided into 28 segments allowing individuals to tackle separate segments on different trips. Day five brought the bike-packers back down the mountain through the developed town called Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort for a nice relaxing lunch before heading off to set up camp at the Bootleg Campground along Chalk Creek.
Day six proved to be the most challenging climb on the Colorado Trail as the bikers headed toward Salida, Spanish for "Exit", to grab a late lunch at Moonlight Pizza & Brewpub before heading to their final resting spot, Bootleg Campground. Salida, which is situated along the Arkansas River and the largest of the towns visited, would be the exit point for the 2018 Divide Ride. In total the bike-packers trekked approximately 130 miles and climbed a total of 12,300 feet during their trip. The majority of the Colorado towns that were passed through during this divide ride have relied on worldly wealth to grow their economies and survive, but now tourism is permitting them to flourish. While the mineral resources and the beauty of the Rocky Mountains continue to draw travelers to the great state of Colorado one cannot help but be reminded of King David's word's, "The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces." Psalms 119: 72
*Note from Nate:
Leading up to and on the Divide, we were working our way through the book The Last Arrow by Erwin McManus. It is a great book about giving everything you have in this life and not saving anything for the next life. So many times we keep back some of our gifts and abilities that God has given us. He challenges us to be able to one day say on our deathbed that we gave it all. We saved nothing, and shot every arrow that God has given us. It is a great book and I highly recommend it.