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When we awoke we quickly packed our bags and headed off FR545 to the main road to find water. We found a little creek just a few miles away, and got our breakfast together, our water bags filled, and we were off towards Spruce Grove.

But once again we got snagged by Google maps telling our navi that trails existed where none did (at least something truly rideable) so we stuck to the main road.

lots of exposed hot in front of us

We were riding through the 2002 Hayman Fire burn zone for much of the day. I had thought the Buffalo Creek zone was large, but Hayman is so much bigger. I clearly remember the 2002 fire season in Colorado, as I rode 500 miles on my road bike in Ride the Rockies, and choked on smoke from the Missionary Ridge fire as I entered and exited Durango.  

Sadly, this year is turning out to be another big fire year.  We found out just a few days ago that CT Segment 27 outside of Durango was closed due to the “412 fire.”  Bummer, it’s one of the prettiest segments.

Monument Gulch

It was hot riding all day, so we took ample breaks to rest, eat, and when possible refill water supplies.

Sheeprock with our “sun bonnets”
horseback riding from Lost Valley Ranch
one of the few streams to resupply water

In the early afternoon we passed through the ghost town of Tarryall, CO, skirted the lowest part of the Lost Creek Wilderness Area, and started our climb back up to the Colorado Trail.  

Spruce Grove

By 3pm we were low on water again and tired, so we stopped at the Spruce Grove campground which was quite nice.  We had ridden 36 miles and climbed 4100 ft in elevation, so it was a respectable day. We were fortunate to find a spot against rocks that was free for the night.

entrance to Spruce Grove
our camp site
view from the site

We filtered our water and made our dinner. Kyle begrudgingly ate a Mountain House Mac and Cheese. Then we pitched the tent and relaxed as a light summer rainstorm hit.