Day 61: August 2: Silverthorne to Como

My goal for the next two or three days was to do a loop so I'd be back in Silverthorne so that when my brother Bob came to Copper Mountain I could go see him. I'd decided on a route that took me down to Breckenridge on the bike trail, then over Boreas Pass on a dirt road, then down to route 9, then back up through Breckenridge and back to Silverthorne on the path.

I got a picture of (from left) Erik Smith, Harley the dog (who ate the hole in my tent window) and Eric Hageman (the owner of the Alpen Hutte).

The bike path down to Breckenridge from Silverthorne is slightly uphill for 14 miles. It's very popular, and the nine bike stores in Breck do a booming business renting bikes. Unfortunately, many of the bike renters (whom I've begun referring to as the "squeaky chain brigade") are not very experienced, with many riding less than 200 miles per year. Many can't manage to stay on the right side of the path, and some even will stop on the path in the way of other bikes. It wasn't quite as dangerous as route 9, but it was close. At least the bikes weren't as heavy or as fast as the trucks on route 9.

I'd ridden up route 9 during my '85 trip, and was curious to see the changes over the last 14 years. Breckenridge has grown quite a bit -- perhaps doubled in size -- and is still undergoing massive levels of construction.

I found it quite full of tourists and pricy shops selling outdoor wear, expensive restaurants, and the like. I didn't recognize any of the stores I'd visited last time. I met another of the riders doing the Great Divide Ride, an Adventure Cycling route from Canada to Mexico that is mostly off pavement. Brian is one of the two leaders on this trip, and will be working in Adventure Cycling's office in Missoula Montana after the ride, taking the job of Tour Director there. We talked about what it was like to lead trips of this sort, and about human nature.

I took Boreas Pass Road out of Breckenridge to the southeast. This road became a well-maintained dirt road after a couple of miles, but it was an even gradual climb of perhaps 5-6%, due to its history as a railroad grade that got converted to a road in the 1930's by the Army Corps of Engineers for unknown reasons. As I climbed up the road, I got a good view of Breckenridge from above.

The road passed alpine meadows filled with wildflowers. After a few miles more, I got up to the Baker Tank, which served to supply water for the steam boilers of the locomotives. After about 15 miles, I was at Boreas Pass, at an altitude of 11,482 feet. This was the highest pass I'd been over to date, though the climb was nowhere near as hard as climbing over Tioga Pass near Yosemite or Townes Pass near Death Valley.

The downhill side of Boreas Pass Road was bumpy but not loose. I bounced downhill, breaking the water bottle cage that was mounted on my top tube. I used a bungee cord to tie down my water bottle and continued. I passed a campground, but decided not to go down the mile long steep downhill to the site. Eventually I was in the little town of Como, which is about 20 houses and some dirt roads in the valley. I asked if there were somewhere to camp, and was directed to Camp Como.

It turned out the Camp Como is also the Colorado Christian Service Camp, a 160 acre camping area with cabins, a church building, a Frisbee golf course, athletic field, and other recreational facilities. I asked them if I could camp there, and was directed to their "teepee camp", a group of four teepees in their "south 80", well away from the paying Christians who were on the "north 80". I decided to use a teepee, but when the mosquitoes came out, decided to pitch my tent inside a teepee.