When we crested the first pass of 9000 feet and got the first view of the snow-crowned peaks in the distance, it felt like seeing the Emerald City. The sight brought tears of joy to my eyes. Suddenly the last 46 days of riding seemed to be just preparation for this moment to behold the mighty mountains with feelings of awe and wonder. The flotilla of clouds echoed the contours of the ridge line as earth & sky danced their dance together as they have for eons. It felt like coming home. It felt like I’ve been away from mountains far too long.
That evening we slept in the “Love is everything” barn and watched the moonrise over the Southpark landscape and Platte River. Magic.
Unfortunately, my sleeping pad/air mattress has been leaking for a couple weeks and three patch jobs have failed to stem the deflation. I’d been getting used to sleeping on hard surfaces but on this night it was our first cold weather and with no pad the cold concrete sucked all the heat right out of me. It wasn’t a good start to a big riding day that called for us to pedal over the Hoosier Pass to the town of Breckenridge. At the top of the pass we converged for a group photo.
….and I had to try a handstand as I promised myself I would.
The climbs in the Rockies are manageable gradients, but they go on for miles and miles. The downslopes are the same and allow lots of looking around at the natural wonderland while coasting comfortably. Listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons while drinking in the surrounding beauty was sublime. These are the times that make all the effort worthwhile.
Chuck will be leaving the tour and flying home in the morning. Here’s a parting shot from the pass yesterday. His dry wit and sweet neshama will be missed as our group of nine presses onward on our journey.