Fast Run in the Rain!!
Leonard’s Ridge was the third part of the four-day… Tabeguache… Hut-to-Hut trip. The order of the trip went as follows. Click on any part of this ride if you want.
Afternoon thunderstorms? Not this day. They came well before “PM”. Heavy rain drops bounced off my face, sunglasses, and helmet as I dug out and donned my light plastic poncho. As I started pedaling, I had to keep the bike pointed down the hill as many of the granite slabs were real wet and slick. Luckily this trail was wide and straight.Caleb and Drew shot down it like rockets… I was able to keep Nate (the 29 year “old man”) in my sights. The ride was one of those times when I really felt at one with nature… I was speeding down a rocky double track, not the least bit cold… my face felt cool and fresh… the only sounds being the wind whistling high up in the trees and my poncho flapping behind me like Zorro’s cape… an incredible experience.
- Below you will find a map for Leonard’s Ridge.
- Click the green or red balloons for driving directions to the trailhead(s).
- Click Tracks or Icons for Specific Info.
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We had left Hut #2 (elevation 9,081 feet) early after breakfast, traveled down Divide Road to the Mailbox Cut-off Trail, a nice 2.2 mile trail through Aspens which leads to road 19 1/2. We spent a good 10 minutes looking for the turn-off for the Leonard’s Ridge Trail. We tried some other roads but soon realized we hadn’t quite gone down the 19 1/2 road far enough.
The rain began almost immediately after we turned onto Leonard’s.
The 5.1 miles of Leonard’s Ridge Trail didn’t last long at our pace. Within a half hour we were back out on the 404 road and the clouds had scattered. I don’t know whether it was the sudden drop in altitude (2,867 feet) or the high humidity from the rain… but it got HOT, in a hurry!
The terrain was now dominated by scattered brush and rocky, sandy soil. The Leonard’s Ridge Trail had taken us from a thick forest to a high desert in short order. I peeled off my poncho and long-sleeved riding jersey to release some heat. These would need to be hung out when we reached today’s destination.
The ride down to Hut #3 was uneventful from here… except for the part when Caleb almost hit a deer. He was streaking down the smooth dirt road toward Uravan when a deer, grazing along the shoulder, bolted in front of him, just missing him. There was not a lot he could do on that slick surface, at the rate he was traveling.
Hut #3 lies in an arroyo, a green oasis of trees and meadow pasture surrounded by rock cliffs. They call it the Blue Creek Hut, named after the stream that flows 25 yards away, along the south edge of the meadow. When we arrived, Kevin and his two labs were there, bringing supplies into the hut. Kevin began to tell us about some local Indian ruins while the dogs were in constant motion… up on the porch, into the hut… back out… back in… running through the brush… back on the porch… in the hut…
After 3 days of mountain biking we were all getting real ripe. The air temperature at the Blue Creek Hut was probably 80 degrees… and the water temperature of Blue Creek was somewhere near 40. Drew grabbed some soap and a towel and headed down there to wash. Nate had the official “Outdoor Camper Shower” which he filled in the creek and hung in a tree to warm. I don’t recall what Caleb did.
I decided to take a 33-gallon black trash bag and partially fill it from the creek. I knotted the end and lay the water bag flat and spread out on the picnic table to heat. The whole time I was doing this I could hear Drew howling and wailing like a baby as he bathed in the creek.
Nate took his shower somewhere behind the hut and I went into some trees to the south. I poked a hole in one corner and hung the sack on the limb of a tree… with the hole above the water line. When I wanted to rinse I just tipped the bag to control the water output. I heard no complaining from Nate and figured his water was nice and warm… like mine.
All cleaned up… we decided to take a little hike to look at the ruins and check out the ranch to the west. I know it sounds silly to take a hike after a shower, but we wanted to make sure we got our shower when the sun was good and hot.
We found some of the indian ruins, some interesting rock outcroppings, and some old equipment mounted on the rocks above the ranch. We then returned to barbecue dinner… bacon-wrapped filet mignons!
After washing the dishes and cleaning up we just relaxed on the back porch and enjoyed the view toward the LaSalle Mountains to the west.
As I lay in bed I wondered how tomorrow’s day would compare… riding on the Ute Creek Trail. I soon fell soundly asleep due to the day’s numerous activities.
Click below to see a different part of this trip.
For an overview of the Tabeguache Trip click Tabeguache.