There are men these days seek a road to the clouds,
cloud roads, dark and trackless.
Mountains are high with many dangerous crags,
green crags above, and down below as well.
And cloud roads, where are they?
Cloud roads are empty; cloud roads are in empty space.
translated by J.P. Seaton in Cold Mountain Poems
Coming down from the mountains
Overnight I awoke and watched the nearly full moon ripple on the flowing creek. Lighted peaks, shadowed valleys all in continuously flowing water. Up early it was cold and even the immediate climb I embarked upon did not warm me up much. The sun peeked over the deep gorge walls and slowly things came to life. Including increasing traffic on this road that led to this major rafting destination. It was a wide and very smooth dirt road and cars and trucks just whipped along it. But there were gorgeous views into the Columbia River valley and at one point I startled two goats eating on the road side. They slumped onto the guardrail and then down the shear drop off.
I climbed out of the river valley and continued to climb up to the Watershed Divide. From there it was a fast downhill to the hwy, which I crossed and continued on dirt roads along the Colorado. Turning southwards I made my way allot this long dry valley. I was following a little brook to a large Reservoir but once past it it was all ranch land and a slow ascent. Finally coming to a national forest I began the days serious climb in earnest, up to Ute Pass. On a paved road now it was steady going through the switchbacks. All along the route to Ute Pass was basically a huge industrial site. A gigantic mine and miles of land around it used (and I mean used) to support it. It was hot and slow climbing and this giant scar on the earth was disheartening.
When I reached Ute Pass at 9524′ the reward was right there. The most amazing mountain range I’d seen since the Tetons. Even larger than the Teton range it stretched all across my view, rocky crags, snowy peaks. Now these are some Rocky Mountains! This was the last major climb of this tour and this was the best capstone. The descent was fast and soon I was down int he valley where those magnificent peeks were still in view. I had to ride the hwy to Silverthorne but then I was on this extensive paved bike path that climbed up to the Reservoir there and wound around it. Heaton Bay Campground where I was going to camp was right on the reservoir and the bike path.
out under the
clouds my only
there is just
scars are etched
there is no
but there is still
of the moon
dancing on the