Colorado Back-Country Discovery Route and Alpine Loop

In July/August we did an trip with mixed highway and trail between Fort Collins Colorado and Telluride. This trip was a replacement for our cancelled Banff trip (due to Covid-19), and was well worth it!

Day 1 (Friday July 24th): We left Fort Collins in late afternoon and headed up to Gould, Colorado to help as volunteers for the Never Summer 100k foot race. We drove straight up to the summit of Gould Mtn (with ranger permission) to install my N0BCB portable repeater. The route was full of downed trees that we had to creatively move with our tow strap. Once set up and tested, we headed down to the Gould Community Center to set up camp, and help set up the Net Control station.

Day 2 (Saturday July 25th): Erin woke up early to head up to American Lakes to take race photos while Sienna and I slept in. I helped out as needed during the day with race and radio stuff. My NCS shift started around 6pm and ended around 2:30am. It included a drive up to Clear Lake at midnight to help fix a flat tire. Saturday was overcast and cool with a bit of drizzle.

Day 3 (Sunday July 26th): After packing up camp and net control, and retrieving the repeater from Gould Mountain, we headed with friends over to Pearl Lake S.P. to begin our real vacation! We paddled on Pearl Lake in the afternoon with our iSUPs.

Day 4 (Monday July 27th): We drove from Pearl Lake S.P. to Sylvan Lake S.P. via the CBDR. GPX Track We set up our Zodi at camp and had much needed showers! Sylvan Lake was a great surprise. A beautiful, remote camping experience for a State Park.

Day 5 (Tuesday July 28th): We hiked around Sylvan Lake in the morning before breaking down camp. It poured during our hike but felt refreshing! From Sylvan Lake we followed the CBDR to Leadville, CO where we washed some nasty mag chloride mud off our trucks. We headed down towards Twin Lakes and camped for the night. GPX Track.

Day 6 (Wednesday July 29th): From the Lakeview Campground we headed into Buena Vista for coffee and breakfast at Brown Dog Coffee, one of our favorite coffee shops in the State. From there we headed over Cottonwood pass and continued on the CBDR, through Pitken and on to Hwy 50 East of Gunnison. From there, we took the tarmac over to Ridgway S.P. GPX Track.

Day 7 (Thursday July 30th): After a leisurely morning at camp, we drove over to Telluride via paved roads. Ice cream and burgers were on the menu, along with some time in the creek that flows through town. We took a hike on the way back to camp, and followed Last Dollar Road for some off-road fun. GPX Track. We stayed a second night at Ridgway S.P. It was fun to drive right onto the “beach” and enjoy some paddle time in the hot afternoon.

Day 8 (Friday July 31st): After packing up camp, we stopped in Ouray for camping and grocery supplies. We headed South along Hwy 550 and picked up the Alpine Loop at CorkScrew T.H. What a drive! It pushed the limits of our rig for sure. We camped that night along Williams Creek near Lake City. GPX Track.

Day 9 (Saturday August 1st): We met up with friends that were camping nearby, and the kids played in the creek. After that we loaded up the camper and headed to Lake San Cristobal to do some paddle boarding. We absolutely love our SeaEagle NN126 inflatable SUPs! They both fit (barely) into our Stowaway2 hitch box, and inflate quickly. We picked up a fresh growler of IPA at Lake City Brewing and headed back to the same camp.

Day 10 (Sunday August 2nd): We packed up early and made the drive back to Fort Collins. Vacation is over! Showers and pizza and early to bed 🙂