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Sunday, October 19, 2014

San Juan raft and bike

Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard. ~Standing Bear

It was important to get out and feel Nature again.  I'd been feeling the loss of the wilderness like the loss of a limb.  Something was missing.

The original plan was an alpine climb in the Crestones, but 10-18 inches was predicted to fall over the weekend.  Sarah steered the plan to a packraft trip of a section of the San Juan she's guided several times.  And, so it was.  A trip into the desert with rafts and bikes.  

Brett Davis graced the trip with Third Wheel stories and humor.  He and I both brought our Salsa Fargos (He's an official Salsa sponsored rider), and Sarah brought her mountain bike, so the three of us could ride back to the put-in via a dirt road and the highway.

~SanJuan River, Bluff to Mexican Hat.
~20 river miles and about the same biking.  36 hours.  
~A short overnight with a required permit on the San Juan.  
~Short and mellow with 2 Class III rapids.  
~Very chill, and would be a good beginner run since the rapids can be portaged with a pack raft.

San Juan Raft n Bike from Southwest Backcountry on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Chama Headwaters Singletrack

Just outside of the South San Juan Wilderness resides the headwaters of the Chama.  It is a sportsmans paradise that sees very few mountain bikers.  Its tucked into an isolated valley accessed via Chama, NM -- even though the ride is in Colorado.  All that said, this ride quickly rose into our top favorite rides just for the scenery alone, let alone the sweet, LONELY single track.  If you're ever in the Chama, NM area, this is one to try out.  Fall would be best just because the aspens would be going off, and the stream crossings would be low.

PS: First FROST of the year…. WINTER IS COMING!

16 miles
2000 ft. gain/loss
10,100 ft. high point

Map at the end.

Other nearby rides:
Chama Redneck Epic
Continental Divide Trail

Some trail register humor.

The trailhead was packed with bow and muzzle-loader hunters

Start with a river crossing

Then the amazing scenery starts and doesn't stop the whole time. Start with a ride along the river valley.  This is also the way we came back.

Popping up onto a bench after a heinous hike-a-bike section.  the meadows and aspen grooves give non-stop beauty.

Then the amazing cliffs and waterfalls come into view.  Its insane.

At this point in the ride, you begin to see the way back down on the other side of the valley

Did I mention its insanely gorgeous with all the waterfalls?

Then we headed up the West Fork on a single track that joins an atv track that takes you up into the upper meadows surrounded by a cirque of cliffs and waterfalls.

A huge landslide.

The high point is a high meadow surrounded by cliffs.

We randomly ran into another biker from Albuquerque, Brian.  He's ridden here a few times before, and pointed us to the way back down to create the loop.  Otherwise it would've been an out-n-back for us.  Thanks Brian!

You have to head up to and around the huge landslide that took old the old trail.

Debris and pond created by the landslide.

bike carrying up onto the landslide.

Then its back onto intermittent single track/cattle paths.

Then the established trail finally arrives, and it is smooth sailing all the way back down to the river valley you come up.

Some vandalism humor.

Continue down the Chama river trail passed an old burnt out cabin.

Finally you cross back over the river to rejoin the way you come in on.

The End.

The general route:

From the north looking toward out toward the trailhead.