Colorado Part 3

Along the Vail Pass Trail
Upon arrival in Sliverthorne, we made our way to the White River Forest Blue River campground.  With the designation of “Gold Medal” by the Colorado Wildlife Commission, the waters are considered to provide excellent opportunities for landing large trout.  Anxious to give the river a try, Alan headed out with his fly rod and I grabbed a spinning rod.  Working our way up the river, Alan scored a rainbow  trout, catch and release, breaking his dry run for the trip.

The following morning, we were eager to get on the bike trail from Vail Pass, we headed into Frisco.  Having made arrangements with Pioneer Sports, we hopped inside the shuttle to the top of the Pass.  Over the next 2 hours we cruised primarily downhill over 14 miles and 1500 feet in altitude.  Riding along the  paved
Downtown Frisco
trail through the scenic river valley of Ten Mile Creek and through the ski village of Copper Mountain.  Upon returning to Frisco, bikers looking for more of a challenge can continue the ride uphill to Breckenridge another 9.5 miles.  We opted for lunch at the Butterhorn Café and Bakery, and then explored the historical town of Frisco.  Flower boxes and baskets line Main St. adding to the beauty of the town surrounded by mountains.

Dillon Reservoir and Frisco Bay Marina
Moving our camp that evening to Heaton Bay, another one of the White River Forest campgrounds, we lucked into the only site available.  The USA Pro Cycling Challenge, drawing some of the world's best bikers and thousands of spectators to Breckenridge and the area, was starting 2 days later.  Blue skies and mild temperatures called us out onto the miles of bike trails around the town.  The Dillon Reservoir Loop, an 18.8-mile bike route around the Reservoir provides a relatively level trail.  We biked several miles on the Loop by the Frisco Bay Marina and into town.  The Marina offers canoe, kayak, powerboat, sailboat and stand up paddle boards rentals for folks wanting to enjoy the waterway during the few months of warm weather.  

Once again, at the recommendation of friends, we moved from Frisco to Glenwood
Biking through the Canyon

Springs.  Securing our campsite for the night, we contacted Canyon Bike and arranged a shuttle for yet another biking adventure, a 16-mile trip along the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon.    Reserving a seat on the 8:45 shuttle, we prepared the following morning by dressing in layers and packing snacks and lunch for the trip.  This nicely maintained and paved trail follows not only the River but is part of an intriguing work of engineering.   Prior to the late 1800’s the canyon was considered impassable, but in 1887 the Western Railroad managed to place railroad tracks through the canyon.  From 1900-1902, $30,000 was spent to push the first single lane highway across the canyon.  Over the years it was upgraded, but in 1975 the Colorado legislature decided to place Interstate 70 through the canyon.  After 22 years of planning, design and construction the $500 million project was completed.  Not only did they build a unique highway, but in conjunction installed a paved bike trail that runs along side and, in places, underneath the highway.  Considered one of the most scenic portions of the interstate system, the 12-mile stretch incorporates tunnels, bridges, and retaining walls that actually enhance the canyons appearance.

Hanging Lake
About 8 miles down the bike path, we stopped at the trailhead for Hanging Lake.  This 1.2-mile trail may sound easy enough but it’s rocky and steep; and it took us about 1½ hours to complete the hike.  Granted we stopped about 15 times on the way up, but we did make it to the top.  Perched on a cliff side, the lake consists of a special ecosystem of springs.  The aqua color of the water comes from deposits of dissolved limestone lining the lake.  Getting to the bottom of the mountain took about half as much time, and then we continued cycling the remaining 8-miles into Glenwood.

We are now heading out of Colorado toward Yellowstone National Park.  Having visiting the Park before, we are anxious to explore some new areas.

Waterfall at Hanging Lake

The final ascent to Hanging Lake

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