We had noble intentions of being cheap and sticking around Moab this weekend, but man.... it's hot. This has been a brutal summer so far and the draw of a cool mountain town was impossible to resist. So we loaded up the bikes and drove east to Durango, CO. I'd never been before, but all accounts sounded promising -- a snazzy mining town that evolved into an outdoor recreation mecca with loads of trails and breweries. Hells yeah!
On the drive out, we saw a forest fire near Mancos. This year has been really hot, dry, and windy -- Utah and Colorado are giant tinderboxes. We watched a helicopter collect water and drop it on the flames as they climbed up the mountain. Yikes.
We eventually made it to Durango and started putzing around the historic downtown. Durango has a lot of Victorian-era brick hotels and saloons that have been turned into shops and restaurants. The Animas River runs through town, and college kids were floating in tubes down the whitewater. We also scoped out the Durango/Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which snakes up the mountains on steam-powered trains. Our aimless wandering turned into an epic pub crawl, so we grabbed a hotel and crashed for the night.
The next morning we were decidedly more ambitious. We stopped by a bike shop for trail recommendations, then drove up to the Colorado Trail. The ride started out easy and pretty as we scooted along a clear mountain stream lined by pine trees. Then we started climbing. And climbing. The mountain bikers bombing downhill assured us it was worth it, but I'm not gonna lie -- I wasn't loving it. We finally made it up to the top and had some sweeping views of tree-lined slopes and distant peaks. Nice.