adventure, Colorado, cool stuff, Dolores River, Dry Creek Basin, endurance, exercise, Hut-to-Hut, mountain biking, mountains, outdoors, photography, recreation, scenery, trails, Wedding Bell Hut, wildlife
Day 4 stats as listed on the hut-to-hut site:
33.5 miles, 2500′ ascent, 3320′ descent, max. elevation 7294′
We woke to a beautiful morning. Clouds far off in the distance moved in quickly, but thankfully they were just little ones and not the storm gathering clouds we’d been dealing with so far.
We dropped into a basin as we left the hut. There were lots of puddles and mud bogs. Serious mud bogs. Jo Jo went through one and ended up coating his bike with thick mud.
We rode a LONG way on on dirt roads with no one around anywhere until we had to briefly ride on a highway. We saw 2 or 3 cars along that route and that was it. There seemed to be no one other than us out there.
We saw an antelope today, all by himself. So beautiful and so nice to see some wildlife in this seemingly desolate area.
We stopped to eat lunch finally with only 8 miles to go on this 33.5-mile ride. It wasn’t the nicest place to stop – by a natural gas pipeline – but there weren’t many other options. At least there a little shade there under a tree. Apparently some cattle had once enjoyed the shade there too as our dining area was decorated with dried cow pies.
When we got to the hut today we went off to check out an old car that is nearby. How it got there and how they got this hut here is perplexing. The roads are not really roads, they are pretty rugged and very narrow in places with crazy drop offs.
The views from the Wedding Bell Hut are outstanding! There are layers of plateaus below us, dropping down to a rugged canyon that the Dolores River carved out. The La Sal mountains loom off in the distance. They rise up tall on the skyline and look quite imposing, likely because that’s where we are heading.
We hid in the shade alongside the shelter, reclining on stadium seats from the hut and rocks that had been stacked to form little chairs and a love seat.
There are mines nearby. Lots of rusty pieces, parts and cans around.
As the sun was setting, the wind came up strong. It had changed direction and was blowing from behind us, coating us and pelting us with dirt just as the temperature had finally cooled enough to enjoy sitting out front at the picnic table.
We ended up moving around to the back of the hut on the little deck where we were sheltered somewhat from the wind and blowing dust. From there we were able to enjoy a colorful sunset and a storm forming seemingly a long ways away. Gradually this storm moved closer and by 10:15 p.m. it was very close by. The wind howled and gusted so hard that the little hut shuddered and rattled like crazy. Each gust of wind felt like a wave crashing into the hut. Lightning flashed all around. The roar of the wind, for the most part, covered up the sound of the thunder but you could hear it echo and roar in between gusts.
It was scary for awhile there as we sat in this metal hut perched on this little plateau – propane tanks right outside. I was wishing I’d stuck in my earplugs and gone to sleep before the storm arrived but I had been engrossed in a very good book. The lucky guys who fell asleep before the storm hit were obliviously snoring away in their bunks.
I found it so odd that throughout the storm the crickets chirped constantly as if it was a peaceful summer evening. The rain started falling and smelled so good! I lay awake in unease from the severity of the storm, thinking about the clay roads we’d be riding the next morning and hoping the rainfall would be short-lived.