Howdy there everyone! I'm in Salida, 250 miles from Durango and Denver. I've had many adventures along the way, and have enjoyed every minute of the trip so far.
I'm at the Salida Library and have only a few minutes to update my blog, so this will have to be brief.
When I left Silverton, I got a ride to Molas Pass (7 miles from town) by a friendly horse trainer, Larry, and his friend Claire. They were so willing to help me out, I really appreciate them taking time from a busy morning to trailer me, Wiley and the horses "up the hill".
We geared up in the parking lot at the Molas Campground and headed down many steep switchbacks to the Animas River Valley. Just as I neared the bottom of the valley, I saw the steam from the Silverton/Durango train coming puffing down the tracks, and I thought, UH OH, this can't be good. I quickly found three sturdy aspen trees to tie each horse, and right as I secured the last tie, the train screamed that whistle as it neared Silverton, right next to the horses! Whoa!!! They reared and turned and in general freaked out. Thank goodness I got them tied before the whistle blew or I doubt I could have held them all. The tourists on the train all had their cameras out - I just stood there and waved to the paparazzi as they cheered and waved back. I'm sure we were quite the sight. Wiley didn't know what to make of that!
I continued on up that Valley (Elk Park Basin) and spent many days on the trail, some days without seeing a single person!
When I finally neared Salida however, I was riding one of "the most beautiful mountain bike trails in the world", according to the guide book. I bet I passed 150 mountain bikers. Wiley had his work cut out for him - he was up ahead alerting the bikers to stop before they crashed into us. He did a good job.
Lots more to tell, but have to stop for now. Will update again soon.
Photo is compliments of Katy, who took these photos near Stony Pass.
All is well - minor injuries to horses are healing well, and Wiley is doing fine, when he's not sleeping with other women in their tents! (He likes to disappear now and then).
More to come - thanks for tuning in.
I'm staying in Salida with Sue Applegate at Granite Mountain Outfitters. The horses are resting on beautiful pasture and I'm planning to hit the trail again on Friday Morning.