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Brian Cray - Hitchhikin', Trainhoppin', and Wanderin'

Wanderin' the world, at will, by any means

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mountains

Cyclin’ to Baker’s Tower

Boreas Pass

I left around noon headed for Baker’s Tower cycling over Boreas Pass Road.  Kate mentioned a hike near the tower if I had the time to do so.  I cycled a total trip was about 30 to 40 miles total.

I ended up using Strava and my GPS to guide me as I cycled up the roadway.  I took the bike rec trail from Farmers Corner through Breckenridge down Main street and followed Highland Terrace, which is a dead-end street.

Water Tower Climbing Boreas Pass Road

I propped my bike up under the ladder to climb up on the seat and leap for the fencing!

My GPS sent me through part of a hiking trail, which I ended up pushing my bicycle up a hill for about two tenths of a mile until turning left on a neighborhood roadway.  Although, a shorter distance than Kate’s recommended route, the road grade being 6% made the climb extremely tiring and long.  I would think with all the technology, elevation grade, would be calculated into distance traveled especially cycling on a bicycle.  I would rather cycle two more miles on a gradual pitch than a 6% grade for half a mile or so.  It’s just not worth the wear and tear on my joints, knees and legs.

I made it up the hill and from there on a steady climb continued as I cycled up Boreas Pass Road for the rest of the trip.  I really needed a mountain bike for this trail since it switched to a one-way dirt road mixed with snow and mud.  I continued to trek up the mountain stopping above the dam, which partly frozen, reflected a luminous blue up through the mountains.  I could see pieces of ice in the water below and in the distance nothing but mountains covered in white near the peaks.  Clouds forming their own weather system around them.  The view, breathtaking, made me bask in the beauty of the outdoors.

After breaking for a half hour I continued cycling up the mountain, my tires making a “squish” sound with the mud underneath them, as I pedaled up the gradual grade.  Mud flung up covering my rear rack and the lower portions of my bike, but my slow pace made it impossible to get completely covered, at least not yet.

Baker's Tower Boreas Pass Road

This is Baker’s Tower on Boreas Pass Road!

I stopped at a tower that I thought might be Bakers Tower, but later found out it was just another water tower, this one for Boreas residents.  The ladder locked with a gate and fence continued over the ladder for ten feet or so off the ground.  I perched my bicycle underneath the ladder and balanced myself on the seat.  This gave me the proper leverage to leap for the ladder.  I jumped and grabbed on the fencing and gate door pulling myself up until my feet planted on the locked gate door.  Climbing the ten foot did not faze me.  I just planted my feet and found hand holds until hopping over into the ladder shaft.  I grabbed some cool pictures of the mountains from above and scurried down after seeing a few vehicles go by me.

Water Tower Climbing Boreas Pass Road

The steep climb up Boreas Pass Road tired my legs, but the incredible views made it worth it!

Water Tower Climbing Boreas Pass Road

A long trek up the road! This is meant for a mountain bike, but I went road bike status!

Baker’s Tower – Cycling Over Boreas Pass Road – Boreas, Colorado

Water Tower Climbing Boreas Pass Road

Boreas Pass Road does not loop around so I needed to go back the way I came, which luckily was all downhill!

Bakers Tower, even more of a challenging climb, sat perched by the dirt road near the trail-head of a hiking trail.  I did not climb this one as too many people drove by and I risked getting caught.  I just remembered the place for a later date.  I continued cycling for four or five miles past the tower until turning around.  Boreas Pass Road does not loop back around like I originally thought.  The rest of the 15 mile ride, all downhill, got me completely covered in mud.  My pack turned shades of brown and red from the muddy clay squirting up beneath me.  My shoes crusted over with a film of dried mud and my socks became cold and wet from all the debris flinging up as I descended down the mountain.

Water Tower Climbing Boreas Pass Road

The view of Breckenridge Mountain from the very beginning of the trail head right before climbing the water tower!

I ended up cycling 30 miles for the day and I stopped at Godspeed Tattoo to schedule an appointment for a chest piece which I might get done today.  It will join my trip here from Delaware via bicycle and depict skiing, hiking, hitch hiking, cycling and Anarchy…the nomad’s lifestyle.  I’ll post pictures here later.

cycling, backpacking, golite

Without a Glove

Cycling to Silverthorne

I woke up and ended up cycling to the library in Frisco to use a computer.  I needed to see how to fix my tablet.  In the past few days my phone and tablet broke down, but I managed to fix them after buying some parts on Amazon to reflash a few custom roms.  After several hours of tinkering with roms, radios, and different settings with NoGood we finally got it to work completely well.  My service is actually better now after flashing that radio.  I don’t understand that, but I’m happy.

Anyway, I spoke with Kate and she suggested I go to the GoLite store in Silverthorne to get a GoLite JAM backpack.  I thought the nearest place was in Denver, but after confirming with her and checking Google Maps, sure enough, one was in the Outlets.

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I ended up biking down the Frisco Bike Rec Path headed towards Vail and Copper Mountain instead of veering towards the library.  The breeze felt great since the weather this week yielded warmer temperatures compared to the past few weeks of blistering cold weather and snow.  I ended up following signs to Frisco and stopped at a visitor information center where the woman behind the counter gave me directions to Silverthorne.

Cycling to Silverthorne to Buy a GoLite JAM Backpack

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I followed Route 9 towards 6th Avenue and turned on Dam Road.  Much of the bike path meandered around Dillon Lake.  The scenery, even more beautiful from this side of the lake, depicted shadows of trees in the reflection cast from the sun peeping over the mountain tops.  I stopped to take in the scenery and snapped some pictures.  The best part of the bike ride came when I crossed over the dam.  Nothing but miles of clean, blue water spread throughout the dam with mountains of brown and green blended into the background and snow tops of white touched the clouds.  The temperature began to drop and I continued looking for the store not knowing the exact location since the GPS on my phone did not work.  I rode around for a bit asking for directions until finally someone gave me the correct ones.  I arrived at the store and spoke with Randy who advised me to go with a small frame GoLite JAM backpack.  I really wanted a 50 Liter, but only 35 Liter packs dangled from the store shelves.  A small 50 Liter would be on backorder until December.  I could not wait that long so I took a chance and bought the small GoLite JAM 35 Liter.  He told me if I returned it in 30 days I would get my money back or could exchange it for something else.

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He entered my name in the email list, which entered me into a drawing to win a base layer, puffy, waterproof lightweight jacket and waterproof ski pants all weighing under 3 pounds.  If I win I’m going to ditch my other gear and sell it on eBay.  Then I’ll have some more room in my pack for bread and peanut butter.  Everything else fit though.  A snug fit, but it’s interesting to know that everything I could need to live off can fit in a 35 Liter backpack that cost me $100.00.  This includes all my cold gear.  I stashed everything in there to see how it would hold up in summer conditions at the bottom of the pack.  Now to get down organization for future hitch hiking and train hopping trips.

I ended up talking to this guy for forever and before I realized it the sun started to set and dusk brewed over the mountains.  I left not realizing the temperature dropped about 40 degrees so my hands stuck to my handle bar for over an hour.  The skin changed to white as flakes started to peel off the crevices between my fingers.  I touched my face, my pants, the bike and did not have feeling at all in either hand.  I have broken my growth plate in my shoulder, and torn a tricep, both painful, but nothing nearly as painful as this experience.  Cycling home in the dark, not really knowing the exact direction of home, and barely being able to distinguish street signs due to my horrible vision made this a very interesting trip.  My only worry being frostbite.  Everything else felt warm, but your body takes blood from the least important areas first before reaching your organs.  So it’s very possible I could have gotten frostbite if I never made it home and slept in those conditions with no sleeping bag, snow pants and other warm layers.

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I ended up cycling home and as soon as I walked in the door I kneeled down on the floor crawling between the couches.  I rolled over on my back and sat on my hands for a good 20 minutes.  The blood rushing back to them felt more painful than being outside in the cold.  I began to  get cold sweats and felt like I was going to pass out so I did not stand up for about a half hour.  Everything started to come back after a half hour and within 45 minutes I sat up and finally regained feeling in both hands, joints and fingertips.  Never again will i forget gloves.  The temperature in Colorado changes so drastically, but I guess that would explain the extreme amounts of snow that get dumped here each year.

Anyway, I ended up cycling a total of 26 miles.  We drove over the dam before, but the experience of cycling on a bicycle is far better than a shuttle bus or vehicle.  I appreciated the scenery much more.

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Hiking Frisco Peaks Trail

Hiking Frisco Peaks Trail

Hiking Frisco Peaks Trail

Hiking along the bicycle path that goes between Breckenridge and Silverthorne, CO

I ended up hiking for about three or four miles today through National Forest finishing up in Frisco near the hospital.  The perfect day for hiking.  I changed out of my cold gear and trekked up the side of the mountain in sweat pants, minimalist shoes and a techwick t-shirt.  The breeze felt nice and I remained fairly warm for most of the hike until I stepped on snow and into soggy puddles of mud and goo beneath the white frosted brush.  For part of the trail I connected on roadways that looped around past Summit High School, but for the most part I just followed the noise of vehicles echoing from the highway and knew I would eventually end up in Frisco if I continued hiking in that direction.  I hiked through the forest, branches fallen over every few feet rotting on the ground, perched in between the dead trees that stuck out of the ground before me.  I followed the barbed wire fence that ran parallel to the road until reaching the Frisco Bike Rec Path.  I ended up hiking that for about a half mile until reaching Frisco where I took the bus back to Summit High School and wandered home.

Hiking Frisco Peaks Trail

Hiking down dirt roads to nowhere!

Hiking Frisco Peaks Trail

I stumbled upon some wildlife tracks either elk or deer!

While hiking, I saw two buck, bear tracks and a variety of elk tracks along the way pressed deep into the muddy trail.  I let my landlords know of my find so they can possibly scope out the places I hiked for potential hunting spots.  I took a bunch of pictures with my GoPRO…some great views of the forest and Dillon Lake are below.  Enjoy!

Hiking, backpacking, peaks trail, mountains, colorado

Peaks Trail

Peaks Trail

I woke up today and spent most of the morning fixing my phone.  The GPS stopped working after I flashed the custom PacMan ROM to my HTC One.  I will have to look into this later, but it caused me to start my hike a bit later than I wanted.

I looked outside and noticed we got dumped with 2 to 3 inches of snow from the night earlier.  At first I almost backed out from backpacking the 8-mile trek from Farmers Corner to Breckenridge through the back country trails in the mountains, but I figured this would wear me out enough to finally get some rest at a decent hour.  I changed into my warm gear leaving my snow pants and fleece behind and set out up Lake View Circle West after the red flags in the snow until reaching the ridge.  Once I reached the ridge I continued backpacking along after the blue diamond markings on the pine trees, snow collapsing some of the branches, as I walked past.  My Goretex boots held up fairly well with all the snow.  As I proceeded to trek up the mountain the snow became deeper nearing 4 to 6 inches.  I didn’t mind.  No one else would be out today because of the weather and the powder made the hike a bit tougher, but the views, simply breathtaking.  I stopped on multiple occasions to snap panoramas and photos of the scenery surrounding me.

Silo Climbing Peaks Trail Breck

The view from the top of the silo on Peaks Trail!

Silo Climbing

Another angle from the top of the snowy silo.

For a while I did not know where the trail took me.  I followed directions from my landlord, Kate, and continued backpacking along the route, but did not take a map and my GPS still thought I sat at 149 Lake View Circle West so I just went on instinct.

After about five miles of backpacking and following the ridge, the blue diamonds nailed to the evergreens and the spill way, I finally reached a sign indicating I hiked Peak’s Trail.  Not far after I met another sign, the arrow pointing left, Breckenridge 3 miles.

“Sweet, I should get there before dusk then…,” I thought.

Place Hacking - Peak's Trail

Place Hacking – Peak’s Trail

I continued on, backpacking up and down the steep slopes of the trail until I spotted a 30 foot tall, green, water silo.  I almost passed it, my legs hurt from the long bike ride the other day and hiking up the mountain, but I ran down the hill looking up at it.

A gate and lock covered the entrance to the ladder, which was only 8 feet off the ground, that didn’t stop me though.

I read the sign, which simply said, “DO NOT TAMPER WITH THE WATER SILO!”

I didn’t tamper with it.  I didn’t break the lock or cut the fencing around the ladder.  A small triangular opening already existed on the left side of the ladder.  I hopped on the manhole that stuck 3 feet out of the ground and grabbed on the fencing of the ladder.  I swung until my left leg wrapped around the side of the ladder and pulled myself up using my left foot as a base.  I dropped my bag and that extra room allowed me to squeeze my body inside of the fencing.

I stood on top of the locked gate and climbed up the ladder, 30 feet or so, reaching the top.

The view, completely beautiful, allowed me to see over the treeline…nothing but mountains.  I grabbed some pics and a video and continued backpacking.

I did not want to end up in the woods once the sun set.  It’s hard enough seeing at the moment without glasses or contacts.  I would have ended up making an igloo and sleeping in the woods.

I wound up finishing the hike, which I think was 7 to 9 miles, and took the Free Ride bus to Breckenridge, where I grabbed some post cards.

I have adapted to the bus schedule and took another ride back to Summit High School.

Once I arrived at home I packed up my gear and decided to make a sign for tomorrow to hitch a ride to A Basin.  We shall see how it goes.  I’m meeting up with Kelton so we will have a fun time.

Peaks Trail

The snowy view while hiking Peaks Trail from Frisco to Breckenridge.

Silo Climbing Peaks Trail

Prospector Campground

Prospector Campground

I woke up at 7 AM at the Georgetown Lake Shelter Campground. The other people packed up their belongings and headed out around the same time. The temperature did not get above ten degrees for at least a few hours, flurries of snowflakes and small gusts of wind continued throughout the day. I set out for Prospector Campground. Despite only being a 33 mile day, the steep climbs, my exhausted legs and adjusting to the altitude all made this the hardest day of the trip.

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Road bikes aren’t meant for ice…I did a lot of walking today.

I continued down the road and noticed a neat little café on the corner. I charged my battery pack on the outside wall unit and headed into, “Blue Sky Cafe.” I chatted with the waitresses and told them about my trip. They suggested I go with the Huevos Rancheros special, which consisted of two flour tortillas, smoked sausage, fresh tomatoes, crisp lettuce, melted pepper jack cheese, scrambled eggs, and spicy chilli sauce. My mouth watered and I finished the meal and a few cups of coffee with relative ease. I almost ordered a second helping. They gave me the names of some local mountains to apply at for a ski lift operator job and then I hit the road.

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I stopped at the local Conoco gas station to buy a hat since I lost mine from the wind the previous day of cycling. I also lost my knife the other day when I fell down a hill at 3 AM. It must have slipped out of my backpack. After Conoco the trek finally began from Georgetown to Dillon Lake.

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I ended up going down, “Continental Divide Trail” for Loveland Pass and Baker, which covered 4.9 miles, most of which covered in an inch of snow or ice. So for a little over 3 miles I ended up walking in my minimalist shoes…now my calves hurt.

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The bicycle trail through Keystone Resort

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Almost in Breckenridge!

Despite the long hike, the sights I saw, just pure beauty; mountaintops of snow looked like an ice cream cone dipped in vanilla soft serve; trees covered in frost and icicles dangling from their branches; the fresh smell of pine tickling my nose; the snow beneath my feet crackling with each step. I just love it out here. I really hope to find a job while I hang out here in the mountains. The steep five mile climb to Loveland Pass, almost unbearable, made me walk a bit while I regained my composure. Once I reached the top I hit 11,990 feet of elevation at the peak of Loveland Pass. From there, a six mile downhill race to Keystone Mountain. I flew down that strip hitting 30 mph, almost passing semis, but slowing down due to the freezing wind forming icicles on my face. Once I hit the bottom I continued onward through the bicycle paths that winded through Keystone Mountain. I climbed a total of 4,200 feet today and ended up stopping at a local grocery store to stock up on food for the next few days. If there is one tidbit I learned about Colorado it is that everything, including food, is rather expensive compared to back home. I also learned to steer clear of bike trails when it is under 32 degrees. I ended up hitting a patch of black ice, my tires flung out from under me and all the weight from my bike and panniers pinned me on my side. I ended up hurting my left leg and my right Achilles heel. I bounced back up and brushed off the snow. Not much more laid ahead for today’s journey.

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Loveland Pass Continental Divide Trail

Prospector Campground

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On my way to Prospector Campground

I continued onward and after four miles I ended up at Prospector Campground, which to my surprise the gates locked on a Saturday, with no explanation as to why? Then I remembered the government shutdown, so I continued through the gates to find a place to camp. The cold weather and blistering wind made me seek shelter in an unlocked bathroom. The bathroom locked from the inside so I remained safe from any animals or outsiders. I laid out my new tarp, put down my sleeping bag, bundled up into all my cold gear and summer gear and called it a night as I dozed off into a peaceful, cold sleep.

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Dillon Lake

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