Carey and Debbie above Yellowstone's Grand Prismatic Spring

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South Park Burning Bear

"Came on up to South Park, had a real good time!"

July 17, 2016

Guanella Pass, CO

The following was originally posted (see page 18) as part of a mega stoke thread on mtbr called "Do you like to get HIGH, man? (post your high country riding photos)"

Another weekend, another high country adventure full of breathtaking views, ridonkulous hike-a-biking, and rollicking downhills.

Somehow these things seem to always go together.

This particular voyage was inspired by one of the funniest yet totally accurate trail reports of all time, linked here on ridemonkey.

Thanks also to Death March Dave for his report on mtbr and for laying down the GPX I lifted from strava. We pretty much followed his loop exactly, except we took Bacon Boy's advice and arranged to shuttle the highway section.

Now, enjoy another set of pixels...

Once again, I talked MsFoldsInHalf into playing shuttle driver, and we borrowed a subtly logo'ed vehicle for the day. We started about 9:15am from Guanella Pass. Since Bierstadt was right across the street, MsFolds figured she'd go climb up a 14er while we rode bikes:

Er, did I say rode?

Wait, I think I see somebody actually pedalling for a few seconds!

A short and inadvertent detour led to a nice view of a square lake:

Above 12k for a couple of miles, big cairns stood as our only guides:

Mid July now, and it's getting harder to find snow to trudge through, but we did score a few tracks:

All in all, a pretty groovy situation:

Our colorful companions prepared themselves for the first big downhill of the day, a plunge of 2000 feet in 2 miles:

The trail was only barely there, but at least it was steep. What a hoot!:

Yee to the haw!:

Some sweet singletrack reappeared around treeline for Klucks and his mighty Hayduke to enjoy:

Finally reached the infamous broken log bridge, and slow *almost* went for it:

Somewhere on the next leg up of the stupidly-steep elevation profile, I caught the group actually pedalling for a few moments:

But really, this day was supposed to be challenging, so let's get back to that, shall we?:

About six hours in, it was time for a short trail nap:

Then one more nasty push, to finish off South Park Trail 600:

Luckily, that led to an insanely-fun, pinballing blast down the rubble-strewn Red Cone road, where we gave back some 1800 feet in 3 miles. Squishy bike recommended for maximum enjoyment:

Our lagniappe was Burning Bear Trail 601, which proudly proclaims itself to be bike legal:

Of course "Bicycles Permitted" does not necessarily mean bike friendly, so we enjoyed another hour or so of hard grunting and pushing to the top:

But man, what a sweet downhill payoff to the finish line! (think Mountain Lion without all the creek crossings):

We arrived at the lower TH about 4:30pm, having covered a measly 23 miles, now totally understanding the classic ridemonkey report. Still, this one came in 2 hours shorter than last weekend's ride. Gotta love shuttles, eh?


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