I guess we should not have wished so hard for water… Apparently Colorado is having the wettest summer ‘ever’! It has something to do with El Nino and some other bad weather situations and so we are experiencing a lot of thunder and lightning storms on this part of the Great Divide Route.
In places the track has turned into a water ballet spectacle and we have to push our bikes through ‘peanutbutter’ mud, which sticks to our tires. Usually we start the day with a bit of sunshine and some nice looking clouds in the sky and during the early morning we see the clouds build up in the distance. Getting darker and darker… then the thunder starts and not long after the lightning strikes… It’s an amazing sight, but a bit scary too. Especially when we have nowhere to hide, but the plus side: we have water! Plenty of it!
After our well deserved 10-day vacation we tracked back to the GDMBR in Del Norte and soon we found ourselves alone again on gravel tracks. Well, us and a gazillion mosquitoes sucking our blood, like little thirsty vampires. The Deet is doing its job, but the smell of that! Definately overtakes the smell of pine forests and wild flowers… We are in Colorado and that means climbing from one pass to the other; crossing various Continental Divide crossings and usually above 3000 meters. There’s little traffic and we rollercoaster from one forest to another, passing lakes and left over piles of snow. The overwhelming grand landscape seems endless to us and is only interrupted by a few tiny villages with nothing more than a gas station, restaurant and grocery store.
Raindrops are ticking on our tent, another storm is keeping us inside at another great wild camp spot. In the distance we hear the thunder and every now and then lightning lights up the tent. We are listening to Dutch comedian ‘Youp van ‘t Hek’ on Elmars iPod. It’s his New Year’s Eve show of 2011 and he is making fun of the crisis in Greece… It’s 2015 and nothing has changed… Except that today we crossed the 25.000 kilometer mark! And we still have a few kilometers to go!
When we wake up the next morning the sun is shining and we have an amazing view on the fifteen ’14-ers’ in the distance; 15 mountaintops over 14.000 ft. We pack our stuff and hit the road to enjoy these moments of sunshine, knowing another thunderstorm will probably hit us in a few ours… and so it did! Luckily, we find shelter next to an old school building in a tiny town called Como. One of the residents gives us a few liters of water and we have a chat before we need to hide out in our tent. He tells us that the last person graduated from this school in 1939 and now it serves as a communal building and the town lets cyclists camp next to it for free. Good for us, because we don’t fancy riding up to Boreas pass with this rain!
As usual rain has stopped in the morning and we find ourselves riding up to the highest Continental Divide crossing at Boreas pass. The gradient is gradual, since we actually ride on a former steam train track and along the way we find evidence of this long past history in the form of water towers. By the time we reach the pass at a little over 3500 meters, clouds are covering the sky and it’s actually a chilly downhill into the touristy ski towns of Breckenridge, Frisco and Silverthorne.
Out of Silverthorne a couple more passes are waiting for us; first there is the paved climb to Ute Pass and after Radium we master Lynx Pass after which a rollercoaster ride and a short single track brings us to the ski town of Steamboat Springs. We soon leave Colorado behind us and the dry basin of Wyoming is waiting for us. Bye, bye high mountain passes, we really enjoyed being here.. with or without the rain!