Monday, December 6, 2010

A year in the making...

As we've mentioned before, we've been working on adding more "mellow" trips to our tour catalog. Basically trips that a reasonably fit beginner can sign up for...great for couples, families or even advanced groups who just want a more relaxing mountain bike tour. You know - sleep late and stay up late. :)

Well over a year ago we started to plot a route that would take us through some of the most remote country the lower 48 states has to offer in south/central Utah. We got shut out from scouting for numerous reasons - time constraints, weather, etc. But now the result: The Swell to Capitol Reef National Park. "The Swell" is the San Rafael Swell, an amazing geologic feature starting just outside Green River, UT. From there the route follows the Swell north, takes a hard left southwest at the Wedge Overlook (photo below), skirts the Sid's Mountain Wilderness Study Area (WSA), carves through the Devil's Canyon WSA, makes a long southerly traverse on Cathedral Valley Rd and then enters the not-often-traveled northern end of Capitol Reef National Park.

So, how to talk about this trip without tooting one's own horn? We just returned from putting on the final touches and all we can say is - IT IS AMAZING. Take a look at the photos we captured below. Can you believe that photographically-speaking it was less than ideal shooting conditions? There is A LOT of stuff we didn't shoot because we didn't want the gray, overcast skies to cast a poor light (pun intended) on this truly special landscape.

Journey through the San Rafael Reef (we got the van stuck in here):

View of the west side of the reef from the Jackass Benches:

The Buckhorn Wall:

The Wedge Overlook:

Also the Wedge, but the "Little Grand Canyon" overlook:

Peeking into Sid's Mountain WSA:

Some snow in Devil's Canyon WSA:

The southerly traverse on Cathedral Valley Rd:

Shades of Capitol Reef NP start to appear on the road south:

The last open desert before Capitol Reef NP:

I could have taken 50 different pictures in this area:

The road punches out of the rock and out into some BIG open country:

The northern entrance to Capitol Reef National Park. At this point we hadn't seen another car or human for 2 days:

Overlooking Capitol Reef NP's Cathedral Valley:

Overlook onto CRNP's "Southern Desert":

Second overlook onto the Southern Desert. No picture can take the place of standing here:

The more "known" area of Capitol Reef National Park starts to come into view with hints of the Waterpocket Fold:

The Bentonite Hills with the Henry Mountains in the distance:

So there it is....just a taste. The website will be up soon with dates posted for Spring and Fall 2011. Make your plans to experience this wonderful area!

Monday, November 22, 2010

'Tis better to give than to receive...

Today the raffle Grand Prize was announced for the recent Iceman Cometh mountain bike race in Michigan. The prize? $5000 worth of credit with Hermosa Tours to select any domestic mountain bike tour! Now the reason I share this news is the notable reaction from our winner.

His response:


Can you explain exactly what I have won? Obviously with all the scams going around and "sounds to good to be true" stuff, I'm having a little trouble accepting that this is legit.

I'm reading that I won a trip worth $5,000 to any of Hermosa Tours destinations. Can this amount be used for more than 1 rider? How about airfare?

I'll be completely bummed if this is a "fly yourself out here, listen to 2 days of condo share sales pitches and end up with a some sort of coupon for free drinks and the loco Mexican restaurant".

I have hope this is the real deal. Assure me please.


Hahahaha! How great is that? No Travis, it's true and you are STOKED! Congratulations!

Ohhh what a jaded world we live in..... :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

South Park Crest

Sometimes this is the best way to show what a tour is all about....

South Park Crest - 2010 from Hermosa Tours on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Highline Loop - now this is a mountain bike ride

It's actually a nod to "the rest" of the riding in Durango that I've never done the Highline Loop. Generally, the rides which make up our Durango High Country tour are so good, the season so short, we have to "make hay while the sun is shining" and rep those beautiful routes as often as possible.

Well, we finally took a day off from the standard routes and made our attempt at the Highline Loop. Myself, Lisa, KP and Dr. Siggins packed a lot of food, water and raingear and set off. The Highline Loop can start from any of a few points I suppose, but we started from Kennebec Pass after dropping off a Hermosa Tours shuttle. Our route: short section of the Colorado Trail, turn and climb on Sharkstooth Trail, descend Sharkstooth to Upper Bear Creek/Highline, start a massive grind up Grindstone Trail, rejoin the Colorado Trail and traverse over the daunting Indian Trail Ridge and finally back to Kennebec Pass. Phew!

Without further delay, the photos....

Lisa and KP climbing the scree and talus to what I call Fall Gulch Pass....

Dr. Siggins and KP on the pass checking our whereabouts....

Sharkstooth Peak in the distance....

Lisa and Ryan spend some time trailside jiggering some cleat shims....

Lisa and Siggins blazing down Upper Bear Creek...

A rest on Grindstone Trail...

Dr. Siggins continues the slog up Grindstone Trail...

Finally we rejoin the Colorado Trail. I downed a ridiculous amount of these Honey Stinger chews....

Home stretch high atop Indian Trail Ridge....

One of my favorite perspectives on Indian Trail Ridge....

Taylor Lake far below and we're pretty much done....

I can safely say this was the burliest 17-19 mile I have EVER completed. Remote, gorgeous, challenging....everything I ask from a true mountain bike ride...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Yeti Tribe Gathering - Scouting Mission

The guys from Yeti Cycles were in town yesterday, scouting some trail routes for their Yeti Tribe Gathering, taking place in Durango August 13-15. I think it's safe to say the "Tribe" is in for some excellent riding! I don't want to ruin the surprise for the Gathering, but here are a few pix from ur scouting ride....

The Columbines are poppin'-a-plenty at around 9,000-10,000 feet right now!!!

Thanks, Yeti Cycles. Cya in August!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Durango High Country, I declare thee OPEN!!!

With each new mountain bike season here around Durango, the final high country ride to become free of snow is the Molas Pass to Cascade Creek section of Colorado Trail and Engineer Mountain Trail. Yesterday we got out there and found all this warm, sunny weather has opened this route for the season....the Durango High Country is open!!!

A few flowers juuuust starting to poke their heads out. This section of the Colorado Trail is famous for some brilliant wildflower displays...we're maybe 2 weeks our from a big bloom.

Lisa cruising some sweet singletrack at about 11,500'.

Ryan and Val pretty much kicked butt yesterday. Slowly their flatlander lungs have started to acclimate to our lack of oxygen. :)

Done climbing Val!!!