Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Hall Ranch Report

Hall Ranch located in Lyons, Colorado.  A trail we had read about and always wanted to ride.  On the way back from Estes Park we decided today would be the day.  Only catch we need to get up early and get the ride in before the rains came.

There are three trails that make up the Hall Ranch.  The main trail is Bitterbrush - single track that has a little bit of everything including this nasty Rock Garden section.  If you are good and in shape you can clear this section but only after you learn the lines.  The Antelope Trail begins at the second trailhead and is only a mile long.   We started Antelope at the top and rode down to this second trailhead.  One of the best one mile sections of trail I ever rode.  I had a blast bombing down and did not even care that we would have to be climbing back up the same trail in a few minutes.  The final trail is the Nelson loop.   A fun loop which can be ridden in either direction with equal amounts of joy.  I vote for the Nelson loop as the best part of Hall Ranch.  Do a couple of laps each way when you make the trip up.  The descent down Bitterbrush is also a blast.  You will be testing the traction of your tires for sure as you really pick up a lot of speed.
 Carolynn and Christopher before we begin our little ride.
 Hall Ranch was Christopher's favorite trail in Colorado.  He was really flying on the day, especially downhill. 
 The first miles of Bitterbrush are a blast to ride.
 Once you find the lines, riding the Rock Garden section was not that bad.  It is a climb so you really have to be in good shape (and used to the high altitude) to enjoy it. 
 Christopher climbing up Bitterbrush.  He had a scary moment at the end of the Rock Garden section.  His heart rate got so high and he just stopped breathing for a few sections.  He had to stop for a few minutes and was actually really scared because he could not breathe.  I think this happened because he was trying to climb all the big rocks in the "Rock Garden" section and really had to attack each section to clear them.  His effort level was a little too high considering he still wasn't used to the high altitude.
 The historic Nelson Ranch Farmhouse.  Some great views when you make it up to the Nelson Loop.  You can see Twin Sisters and Longs Peak.
Carolynn riding up the first section of Bitterbrush from the parking area.  She enjoyed the trail except for the short Rock Garden section.  Next time she will take the gravel road on the way up and down.

The trail was very fun and we had a great experience but the one the thing I will remember most about riding at Hall Ranch is the thunderstorm that came rolling in towards the end of the ride.
Christopher bombed the last few miles of Bitterbrush Trail (which is very, very technical) and made it back to the car before the real rain came.  I told Carolynn to take the gravel road (which is only for hikers) to bypass the really technical parts and I would meet her where Bitterbrush crosses the hiking trail.  I foolishly tried to ride down those slick rocks which comprise the last few miles of the trail.   The rain made them super slick and unrideable - at least in my mind they were unrideable and I got off and walked.  It was starting to thunder and I was getting worried about Carolynn.  Just as I got to the gravel road I see her coming down and felt  relieved.   With only about a mile of trail left I told her to get off the hiking trail and ride the single track back to the car.  The last mile was a little tricky as the rain started to fall harder but we both made it back to the car.  Christopher was already cooled down and resting under the shelter house talking to some riders who had just arrived to go riding.  Once I get back to the car I called to Christopher to hurry up and get changed before we get struck by lightening.   Carolynn arrives shortly after and starts to change.   The rain is really coming down now and we are all trying to change as quickly as possible.  Keep in mind that our car is completely packed and we have gear and clothes all over the place.  I get changed and start loading up all our gear and clothing.  Carolynn is the last to get changed and is in fact running around half naked in the rain.  She gets her top on but has lost her skirt and is butt naked.  I yell to her to jump in the car and she can find them in safety.  She jumps in the front seat and realizes her skirt is in the back and then reaches over the front seat to grab it and put it on before Christopher catches a glimpse of her naked ass.  When it was all said and done she just laughed and said well the full moon came out early today after mooning all the riders under the shelter.  We all laughed and talked about what a great ride we all had.  

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