Steamboat / California Park loop

Discussion in 'The Rockies – It's all downhill from here...' started by StmbtDave, Oct 19, 2005.

  1. StmbtDave

    StmbtDave AKA Invisible Dave

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,587
    Location:
    CO / AZ
    After leaving too early on my Radium/Corral Ridge ride a week ago, I didn't start my ride this Saturday until 10:30 to give it a chance to warm up. I hit the slab going west on US40 to Hayden then turned north towards California Park. The pavement ends right at the city limits so it was dirt from Hayden to Wyoming.

    The Bears Ears are a landmark north of Hayden. They look a lot more like bear's ears than Rabbit Ears Peak looks like rabbit ears.

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    I climbed out of the Yampa River valley into the forest. It was very apparent that it was the end of the fall season as few leaves remained on the aspens and the road was littered with gold.

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    The road heads around the back side of Bears Ears. The north facing slope still has snow from last week's storm.

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    There's a lot of open country. It's not the impressive mountains of the San Juan area but it has a real beauty to it.

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    After leaving California Park you enter Slater Park. At the north end sits Columbus Peak. Don't mention this to the indians as they will organize a protest to change the name.

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    It always amazes me where people choose to live. I'm a confirmed townie as I like being close to the amenities. Others choose to get as far away from civilization as possible. This was a nice little ranch in a meadow waaaay up on the side of a mountain. The shot was taken with max zoom just to get it in the picture.

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    The California Park road enters Wyoming right at the town of Slater. I came across this massive rock just before the state line. It must have been molten to have formed like this.

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    I turned east on Wy 70 towards Encampment and Saratoga then turned south on Co 129 towards Columbine and Steamboat. This area is known as the Little Snake River valley. It's full of picturesque ranches and hay meadows.

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    This is cattle and sheep country. The sheep herders are mainy Basque and live the entire summer in the high country tending the sheep. Their main company is their horse and the sheep dogs. They live in the western version of the Winnebego.

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    I found the reason for the sheep wagon not too far down the road. The sheep were being moved from the high country to the river meadows for the winter. There must have been over a mile of them. I just stayed to one side of the road and idled through them. They weren't too sure about the man on the loud horse. The sheep seemed nervous... but that's a different story.

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    The 3 Forks Ranch is a very large ranch just before the national forest boundry. I believe it's owned by the fellow that owns the St Louis Cardinals. The ranch is being developed into a getaway for the wealthy. The guests fly into the Hayden airport then are helicoptered up to the ranch. I believe this is the owner's home.

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    I stopped to get a picture of Hahn's Peak covered in snow. This is the north side overlooking Red Park. This is a very popular area for dirt bike riders. You can see from the shadows that it's getting late in the day and time to head home.

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    Hahn's Peak Village is at the south side of the peak, right next to Steamboat Lake State Park. There is a great view of the Zirkel Wilderness from the edge of the village.

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    The days are numbered for these trips. The storm last week pushed me out of the high country and the rapidly approaching winter will push me even further west and south. We'll see what the weather is next week.

    Dave
    #1