After riding the 11th segment, I headed to Leadville for an early dinner and a beer, then thought about where I should camp for the night. Then I realized that the 10th segment was only 3.3 miles each way, and that there was plenty of camping to be found around Turquoise Lake. So, I was off to my second trailhead of the day, despite my full stomach.
View seg 10.kml in a larger map
When I started this project, I wondered about my decision to try riding all of the legal sections. Here I was, driving to a trailhead for a measly 3.3 miles. But of course it’s a bit of a slippery slope- if 3 miles is too short to bother with, what about 5 miles? 10? So in the end it seemed better to simply say “If it’s open, I’m riding it.” If this stretch is any indication, I would say it’s a great decision because this short section had some great riding that was well worth the trip.
Since I was riding this section solo, it’s of course a little difficult to get pictures that convey what the riding is like. Nevertheless, I’ll try. This area of the Sawatch range was formerly glaciated, and as such is much more rugged than the big rounded summits to the south. For that reason alone, it’s worth checking this ride out, as the character is so vastly different than the rest of the Sawatch. Judging by the lush green foliage and ample water, it’s safe to say this area gets quite a bit more precipitation as well, especially as you head North or West. And of course the previous glaciation means boulders- lots of them and smack dab in the middle of the trail.
As you can see, this section of trail is quite technical in places, but since the rocks are embedded in the soil, rather than loose, it’s quite rideable as well.
Just as the riding was starting to get really fun, though, I hit the end of the road.
Looking at this map, another option would be to ride up Hagerman Pass (county road 4) to the smaller FS road and then ride down the CT. I don’t think that’s very necessary, as the trail worked pretty well in both directions. In the end my mileage was a bit more than what the book calls for- 7 miles even and 1 hour, 20 minutes. The end of segment 9 shares the same trailhead, and the book shows 1 mile of non-Wilderness trail there as well. However, when I began riding that section I quickly ran into the Wilderness permitting station, which made me question the legality of riding that mile, so I stopped. Then it was off to find a campsite- of which there are plenty in the Turquoise Lake area, both developed and otherwise. I think I deserved this after knocking off 2 segments in a day:
It took over 25 years, but finally, finally, I have a trail pump that’s worth a darn: