Sunday, November 23, 2008

Exploring Dirt Roads near Bergen Park and Evergreen

Another gorgeous riding day today, sunny with temperatures that ranged from low 40s to mid 50s.

I left the house around 0930hrs and transited Denver using US285 until I reached the exit for the town of Morrison. I headed West into the foothills on Bear Creek Canyon Road until I got to Idledale. Since today I wanted to try some more difficult, but not too difficult, dirt road riding; I went up into the hills north of Idledale on Grapevine Road.

Turns out, Grapevine road is not bad at all, just very narrow with some pretty high drop offs without guardrails which made me keep a really wary eye out for oncoming cagers! You eventually twist and hairpin your way north towards Genesse. I wandered about a bit but ended up taking I-70 West two exits and getting off at El Rancho. It had been my intent to head back down south along Swede Gulch Road but the way was barred shortly after the shopping centers located at El Rancho.

Brigitta went over a milestone at Bergen Park!

Time for Plan B. I wandered South on CO74, aka the Evergreen Parkway. I turned off onto Bergen Peak Drive which eventually got me to Stagecoach Blvd which I took westward, climbing where I could to explore the plethora of dirt roads leading to residences tucked away in the foothills near Bergen Park.

My first exploration took me up Bergen Mountain Road. I did not get too far before it became private roads and so I stopped to take this shot.

At end of Bergen Mountain Road before it becomes private roads

I rode on Witter Gulch Road, Circle K Road and even found the entrance to the Mount Evans State Wildlife Area. I could not enter the area though, you had to have a stamp of some sorts, otherwise it was a $68 if caught. Next time.

Here's some of the scenery I saw while doing the above wandering back and forth on what proved to be not bad roads. More difficult than yesterday's terrain but not by much. The steepness of the terrain added to the challenge but it was not bad at all on Brigitta. She sure is easier to turn around on dirt than Maria is!

This deer stood so still at first I thought it was a stuffed deer someone had left there!

Here's the dirt road I was on when I spotted the above deer

Here's a trail I wandered up and down on that lead to new home lots

The scenery one sees to and from the entrance to the Mt Evans State Wildlife Area

Eventually I got to Upper Bear Creek Road via Witter Gulch Road. I took this road East back towards Dedisse Park and eventually Evergreen.

Here's Brigitta on Upper Bear Creek Canyon Road

Once I got to Evergreen, I checked in via cellphone with my loving wife and found that my presence was not required, which gave me some more time to explore some of the dirt roads around Evergreen!

I went up into the hills south of Evergreen on Independence Trail which led me to South Trincher Trail and Hilltop Road. The roads all eventually dead-ended in private homes and their gated driveways or at "No trespassing" or "private road" signs which would cause me to turn around. Here's some of the sights I saw while doing this wandering about:

Ute Pass on Independence Trail

Here's a couple of Stags I saw on these roads, there were some does as well

So I get back to Evergreen and started heading East again on CO74. This twisty road which I normally head West on out of Morrison is quite fun heading Eastward back to the city. Just goes to show one should ride familiar roads in reverse once in a while to see what one is missing. In my case, I was missing this sight:

All these years, never noticed the stone arch above

A pano shot of the curvy road back to Morrison, heavily retouched because I underexposed it.

Heading away from Morrison, I spied a familiar sight, the blue and white stripped pole of the T.E.V. Edelweiss Facility. Some kind of horse sporting facility apparently. I went in and posed Brigitta right at the base of the pole:

T.E.V. Edelweiss

The rest of the ride was a backtracking of my way out, using US285 to once again cross Denver and take me back home. Pretty good day's ride, about 135 miles or so and perhaps 5 hours of saddle time on Brigitta. She did marvelously both on pavement and on the dirt roads I chose to ride on. I was feeling a bit "chilled" after all that time in the windy conditions near the end of the ride but what Brigitta lack's in wind protection she makes up for in sure-footedness off pavement!

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