Tabeguache … Four Days of Total Fun In the Colorado Wild!
January of 2009 was the first time I’d heard about the Tabeguache (tab-a-watch). A friend had given me a National Geographic Adventure Magazine telling about the trip. In the magazine the author described a fabulous 4-day, Colorado Hut to Hut mountain bike trip. I checked out the website they listed at the end of of the article Colorado Back Country Biker. It took me 10 seconds to decide I wanted to go. The nightly price for the Tabeguache was a little more than I would spend on a hotel. But, all my food would be provided. Plus, we were also given a $50 voucher to spend at the Gateway Hotel. Doing this trip was a “No-Brainer”.
My school year ended two weeks before Cindy’s, so the timing was perfect. I asked around to find someone… anyone who might want to go with me. None of my brothers or friends were into biking very much. At least not enough to take the time and spend the money to go. I called the “Contact Us” number on the website and spoke with some nice guy named Kevin, (who I later found out is the owner, shuttle driver, menu planner, food buyer, and everything else for the trips). He described the details of the trips and how most trips are booked by groups.
Please enjoy this interactive map for the entire 4-day trip.
The blue “P” marks the Trailhead.
Click on the icons for to learn about more about the trip.
I Needed Partners
I wanted to know if I could sign-up as a single person or if I had to bring a group. Kevin told me there were a couple of groups leaving around my time and gave me their email addresses. I sent my own messages to see if I could join them for the trip. I sent the same email to both groups telling them I was a fit 53 year-old, considered myself an intermediate level rider, and a really competitive guy. Nate e-mailed me back immediately, the other person never did.
Nate told me I was welcome to join them. He said there were three of them going: him, his brother Drew, and their brother-in-law Caleb. He said Drew and Caleb were 28 years old while he was the old man at 29, and they liked to “let the trail dictate” how they rode.
I called Kevin back and booked the Tabeguache.
Only then would Keven send me the specific information about my adventure. We were going on the Tabeguache Trip, which Kevin described as “a 4-day cross country adventure which includes a variety of biking terrain.” His literature explained that Tabeguache was a Ute Indian word which meant “place where snow melts first.” He gave detailed descriptions for each day’s ride including maps and waypoints. Single and double track, jeep trails, dirt roads and the “option of pavement”. We would be riding on the Uncompahgre (un-com-pah-gray) Plateau, an uplifted piece of earth in western Colorado (Uncompahgre is another Ute word which means something like “rocks that make water red”).
Everything sounded great to me. It would cost me $645. I gladly paid.
My New Partners
Nate and Drew were brothers, with Caleb being Drew’s brother-in-law (Drew had married Caleb’s sister). They all lived in Pennsylvania until Nate got a job in Florida. So Drew and Caleb traveled from Pennsylvania while Nate came from Florida. They had flown into Denver and rented a minivan for the drive to Fruita. Drew rented a bike locally, Caleb had his shipped, and Nate brought his $9,000 bike in a suitcase. They had gotten there a few days early and gone on some of the local rides to get acclimated to the higher elevation. That had been my plan too (Lakeside is only at 400 feet elevation) except, the baseball team I help coach (El Capitan High) kept on winning.
We won the CIF championship game on Saturday night, the day after school was over. I had the car already packed and left for Las Vegas immediately after the game, then drove to Fruita the next day (Sunday). I checked into the Super 8 on Jurrasic Drive… then rushed back down the freeway to do a ride called Rustler’s Loop, a fun 3.5 mile rolling single track overlooking the Colorado River. I hoped that this ride along with the couple of weeks of training in our local mountains (4000-6000 feet) would keep me from being an “anchor” for “the boys.” We met at the Single Tracks Bike Shop in Fruita the next morning, the morning of the ride.
A Crammed Van
something he had eaten and also about some fall he had recently taken which resulted in a huge strawberry on his butt.
After Kevin had gone over some details, we put our bikes on his rack and he drove us (about a half hour) to the drop site. We immediately jumped out, took our bikes off the rack, and got ready to ride.
The Tabeguache rides would proceed as follows: Smith Point first, then Divide Forks, followed by Leonard’s Ridge, and then Ute Creek (we didn’t know we would be doing Ute Creek at the start).
Click below to see any part of the Tabeguache.