Sunday, June 17

Roaming About Buffalo Creek

The best part of the day was when all four kids said they had a good time. My niece and nephew are in visiting for the month of June. After much deliberation this morning we decided we'd haul all the bikes on our little mule Gump over the foothills to Buffalo Creek to maybe catch a glimpse of some HUNDOers and to ride our own bikes.

We got over there too late for the race. We only saw a couple cyclists late in the day as we were headed home ourselves.

As we left Arvada the skies to the west were angry and heavy with the promise of thunder and rain. It looked like we might skirt the worst of it by heading south, so we continued on.

We finally turned off the blacktop south of the community of Buffalo Creek. As we neared the trailhead the skies looked more and more ominous. Heavy drops of rain pounded the dry forest floor. 

Miller Gulch Trailhead was mostly vacant. We waited through a moderate rain. The air was much cooler and as I finally unloaded the bikes, hoping the kids could at least ride around the trailhead before the skies really unleashed their fury, but to the west they were lightening.

Mandy and I discussed the situation. And then we hatched a plan. Further north on Eos Mill Road was the Buck Gulch Trailhead, closer to the road down to Crossons, a ghost town, which was a side trip we wanted to make with the kids. Instead of riding the entire way, we decided Mandy would run SAG in Gump and follow me and the kids on the bikes. From Buck Gulch TH we would ride down to Crossons and then back.

So off we went. The older kids took off and Lily lagged a bit. I kept pace with the boys as we bombed down Eos Mill Road. We were going far too fast for the loose road surface and tight curves. But we went on and on and on.

A pause to let everyone catch up, and a great view of our dream house and Redskin Mountain. Alison came pedaling up and the SAG team, now including Lily followed in Gump. We could see the pink flame helmet poking out the shotgun window.

By then we had blues skies overhead, with an angry wall of dark purple to the east. The storm had passed us by.

After a quick regroup we continued on, bombing down another run. Alison and I flew on ahead. I kept glancing back to check on Boone and Ty. Then Ty went down.

Ali and I stopped at the top of the next hill. She called back and asked if he was okay and he called back that he was. Boone came on toward Alison and I.

After a few minutes we realized Ty was walking his bike and limping. I jogged back to see how he was. Not so good.

When I got to him his handlebars were cocked sidways, his chain was off, and his leg was bleeding.

The SAG wagon pulled up and we all rallied to get Ty fixed up, his bike untangled, and then we were back on our way.

Just past Buck Gulch TH we parked Gump and Mandy and Lily joined us for the long descent to Crossons.

We descended into the old wildfire scar of the Hi Meadows Fire from 2000. Even Lily did good riding down the old road. When the road got too steep we stashed the bikes and walked. It wasn't much further before we reached a gate and a "private property" sign. After another round of deliberations we opted not to trespass, as that would have been a bad example for the kiddos.

So then began the long climb out. But it went much easier than we all had thought. Again the skies turned angry and threatening. We made steady progress back to the car, but the rain that threatened stayed to the north and never hit us.

The best part was that we returned to the car and everyone was still in good spirits, still happy and all of us had a great time.

Despite the threat of ugly weather, a seemingly gruelling side trip, and a long cramped car ride we had a fantastic day roaming about Buffalo Creek. Can't wait until we go back.

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