Getting high and dirty: Part 2
Passed out in the middle of Beaver Creek resort with my feet in the stream.
Straight-up using my flip flops as a small barrier for the back of my head and the concrete, I spent the next few hours in a sunny daze recouping. I could faintly hear children playing in what seemed like a far off distance, but in reality were 10 feet from where I laid. After a few families came and went, my feet sufficiently numb, and feeling like I might be able to move again, I left the resort.
Enough slouching around-
There's more trails on my hit list and I don't have all day. I pulled out my trail app and headed to the next destination. Vail. If you continue to read my blog you will realize that I have a thing for water. The ocean, lakes, waterfalls, my neighbors kiddy pool.. whatever. So when I go searching for trails, the first ones to hit my list are those that appease my desire for H2o. Booth Falls was close, seemed tame enough for a recovery adventure, and was just a short drive from Avon.
Booth Falls: Vail Co.
I pulled up to the trailhead, put my trail shoes back on, and looked back at my bike a half dozen times to make sure it was still there. It was. When I say "seemed tame enough for a recovery adventure"- I might have been underestimating beating Beaver Creek would dish out. I started up the 4 mile out and back trail to Booth falls like a child at a dessert buffet... or me at a dessert buffet when rice crispies are involved. My ambition far outreached my current capabilities. I was walking immediately. All hopes of walk/jogging this trail were dashed 10 steps in. Half a mile in and I seriously questioned my stamina to even hike the damn thing and make it back alive before night fall. I carried on.. slowly, but determined.
One thing I have learned as I have started to adventure more, the views always make the trek worth it. If I find an example where that is not the case, I'll clue you in, but this is not it. A mile and a half in, the trail opened up to this gorgeous meadow scene.
The meadow was a welcome break from the climbing. Half mile from the meadow after some more steep climbing I finally reached the falls. The trail leads you to a view from the top, rather than the bottom. From there you can continue along up to Booth Lake (another time perhaps)
To the cute couple having a picnic in the middle of the river 5 feet from the waterfall, high five #relationshipgoals.
Once above the falls I made my way over and down to the river itself. I had about 20 minutes to explore before I needed to head back for the Xterra after dinner. After I got my fill I started down the trail. Stopping at every new wildflower I saw, counting all the different kinds. None of which I could name; however a fellow IG friend helped me identify the Colorado Blue Columbine, but she was from Colorado and apparently it's the state flower so I think she had an unfair advantage over me. Then again, how many of us know our state flower without googling? I believe Utah claims the Sego Lilly but I am getting sidetracked now, back to the descent.
This is when I knew is was beat. Even with gravital (not a word) assistance, jogging was brutal. It was a long walk to the car, but I made it back in time to head over to the after dinner.
Booth Falls elevation profile. Pretty solid ascent through-out, with the last mile particularly steep. Well groomed trail and lots of wildflowers.
A poorly executed night
I currently drive a sedan, an issue I greatly look forward to resolving asap for something a little more #vanlife suitable, however I did find comfort in the fact that a few of my Xterra buddies were also calling a Wal-Mart parking lot home. I did plan on camping tonight but I left the after party without a lot of time to actually find a camp ground and get everything set up. Not actually having a tent with me was also a slight set back. Needless to say, my night was rough. After a few hours of sleep mixed with a few hours of trying to get my 6 foot frame in a comfy position in the driver seat, I departed.
I watched the sunrise from the inside of my Subaru. I had a family dinner back at home to get to, and I had time for one trail. Moab was an hour out of the way, but I couldn't pass it up. Okay, I could pass it up and it would save me like an hour but thats besides the point. Moab is pretty much paradise for off-road enthusiasts with and without combustion engines. There are trails for runners, hikers, bikers, and mile on miles of 4x4 trail for the people not in a sedan.
My last trail before heading home- Slickrock.
The trailhead was 100% empty. This was my first red flag. My other first red flag was the ranger at the booth seriously questioning my decision to ride slickrock by myself at noon in triple digit weather and asking how long I planned on being out there. So maybe the empty trail was my second red flag but who's counting. I had water, salt tablets and electrolytes. So even if it was a bad Idea, it was a bad idea that I was prepared for.
Slickrock is just that. The trail is entirely on rock with painted arrows to keep you on the path. My hardtail was perfect and I dropped my tire pressure down so I would have more grip on the rock. 9 miles of short steep climbs and quick descents. More of a roller coaster than anything. A roller coaster you have to work your ass off on the climbs. This is the first time I wished for one extra gear on my 1x11 set up. 6 miles in I could really start to feel the sun and started to realize why I was the only one out there on a world famous trail. A few things to know about the trail
- It's hot in July
- It has some pretty sweet views
- Shade is sparse. very.
Slickrock Elevation. Be prepared for short steep climbs. A full suspension would be overkill here.
Normally I don't anticipate this trail would be an ego blow, but after Xterra, Booth Falls, 3 hours of sleep, and driving at 4am, my legs and body were shot. After a half dozen short but steep climbs I had had about all I cared to handle. An hour in and I finally found a shadow cast by a small and lonely Joshua tree. I kicked back for a moment and dropped my salt tablet into my water. 10 minutes later I hoped back on my saddle and pushed my throbbing legs back to the car.
A quick parking lot change and I was off. I gave the ranger a wave on my way out to let him know I was the questionable part of alive and well. Let me tell you how good that next Coke tasted (I'm usually not one to grab a coke but I had been craving one since I finished the race)
The adventure was coming to an end. One thing separated me from home. An overheating Subaru. So, besides limping myself around, I limped my Subaru to the nearest auto parts store and gave it some love in the form of oil and coolant. Like an old sick dog, this thing is a solid candidate to be euthanized.
My trip was done. I got high. I got dirty, and it was time for a 5 day nap. My first trip to Colorado and it was everything I had hoped it would be. I look forward to my next trip and am taking recommendations for your favorite trails that I should hit next time I am over there.