My hut is two maybe three mats wide
surrounded by mountains on every side
my cot couldn’t fit a cloud for the night
I shut the door before sunset
translated by Red Pine in The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse
Rocky Mountain High
I was late getting out of Steamboat Springs as I had some errands to take care of and I wanted to spend a bit of time in town in the day. The sky was pure blue and the air had a crisp mountain chill as I set out first on a bike path and then on rolling country roads. I rolled past a small lake, glistening in the sun and reflecting the mountain peaks and then up a short valley and onto dirt roads. These roads followed a lively brook before turning away and climbing into the hills: the back way to Stagecoach State Park on a large reservoir.
From the reservoir it was up a long valley that began with a climb and then gently ascending for many miles. All ranch land and loose dirt roads. In fact especially loose dirt roads making me wonder if they had just graded them. When two road graders came down the road that seemed increasingly likely. Later a roller came down and riding where it had rolled suddenly the road surface went from annoyingly loose to great! This long ascent ended at Lynx Pass at 8720′. I was really beat at this point, the continuous days of hard riding catching up to me. But there were no breaks ahead,
From Lynx Pass I mostly stayed in high mountain country, rolling up and down across Long Park which included an old Wells Fargo building and a creek I had to ford. Then it was a brutal series of going across mountain arms diving down and crawling back up before a massive descent into the Colorado River Valley. The views into the valley were nothing short of breathtaking. The river winding along, layered crinkly ridges, green valleys, snow rocky peaks. Fantastic.
The long descent was petty stressful, all loose dirt and switchbacks with long falls on the far side. I made my way down and it got hotter and hotter. Finally I made it to the town (?) of Radium and I crossed the Colorado River. Lots of rafting action going on here and a large recreation area just across the river. I rode about another mile up a canyon along a creek that fed into the Colorado before finding a BLM campground. not much more than a pit toilet and some places to put up a tent. I camped right on this babbling creek and it was a great primitive camping spot.
watching the creek flow by
what’s all the rush?
it never is the same
every moment unique
to my hut
must be raised