A Trip Over Owl Creek Pass

Yesterday on Adrienne’s day off we decided that we wanted to get out of the house and do something outside while it was still pretty warm and enjoyable during the day—the cold is creeping upon us quickly here on the Western Slope of Colorado. We thought the best way to take advantage of the weather was to take a last hurrah motorcycle ride and explore a part of the area we hadn’t seen yet. Someone affiliated with Habitat had been telling us about a loop we could do that takes you out into the country side on your way to Silver Jack Reservoir and State Park and loops back to Ridgway before taking the main road 550 back North to Montrose—so we decided to give that a try. Geared up for a couple hour drive and about 5 hours of sunlight left in the day we took off. As we neared the top of Cerro summit, our first peak, we were still fairly warm and comfortable, the weather was beautiful, and we were both really glad to be back out on the open road. We turned onto a small State side road that leads to Silver Jack and the road never seamed to stop wandering farther and farther up and around the mountains and hills. The road was all dirt and gravel, an honest-to-god 1885 cattle-drive trail, in fact, scenes from True Grit and How the West Was Won were filmed along this very road, making high speeds a things of the past, even on our rocket ship of a motorcycle. After about hour # 2 on the dirt and gravel we began to get a bit cold, and my arms began to cramp up majorly. Then at about hour 2.5 we made it to the reservoir with beautiful views. With the sun peeking out a bit, we stopped to take a rest and eat some cookies given to us by one of Habitats wonderful board members.IMG_5476 copy

I almost forgot to mention that at the house on google maps we couldn’t find were the road actually connected to create a loop to Ridgway as we had been informed. At mile 42 (mile 48 being our turning around point if we couldn’t figure out where the road connected, since we have a 100 mile range to a tank of fuel) we passed a sign that pointed us in the direction of Ridgway. This is where things got interesting. The trail from Silver Jack to Ridgway was over Owl Creek pass peaking out at 10,114 feet in elevation. As we came around some of our first turns to start our ascent, we noticed a major drop in temperature and all of the sudden snow covered the road. And where snow didn’t cover the road, a muddy gravel slurry did and pot holes filled with muddy water were in serious abundance. We powered our way up and around 10-15 miles of snow covered trails before reaching the summit and descending our way into Ridgway. Luckily the descent was facing the South-West and was not covered in snow and a minimal amount of mud and water were present. By the time we entered Montrose city limits it was getting dark out and we were thoroughly chilled to the bone and adventured out for the day. What fun!

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