Saturday, April 09, 2016

Snowmobiles Over The Continental Divide

Finally, the big day!!
We had made a reservation with Good Times Adventures for a two hour tour, and luckily this day featured the very best weather of our entire vacation.
Cold as hell (10 below zero?) but sunny and clear with lots of fresh snow to make everything pretty.

I decided that their loaner boots were better than mine, but all the rest of my gear was fine. Turned out that the heated footwells on our machines made it a moot point.

Now for some contrast:
 This is what the pair of us rode in March 2013 on our Lake Tahoe trip. Terrific fun, but...

 For 2016 we each had our own one of these.
Won't bore you with the specs, but wow! And they were brand new.
Also, because this was Colorado and not California, the throttle didn't have a difficult to operate weasel-lawyer "safety" device that sucked all the fun out of it and sapped your concentration. California sucks, by the way.

One early favorite part of this tour was that after a familiarization cruise through the woods, we got to a big open field with what can only be described as an oval track. Some of the others didn't quite get it, but me and Lisa sure did. I wound that sucker up and flew, passing on the inside and outside a few times and grinning ear to eel. Pretty sure that had the track been bigger I could have hit 60mph or more.
What a rush!
Time for a quick selfie.

Then it was time to get into the meat of the tour--onward and upward to the Continental Divide!

Single file up, sometimes on impossibly narrow trails through the pines, and God was it beautiful!
The sections on roads or across fields were also fun, because you could gawk without getting croaked.
(BTW, our guide was Ivan from Argentina, and he knows almost as much about Ginobili as we do, being their national hero and all).

Up, up, up we went, until the trail spit us out into another world, at around 12,500 feet above sea level .
This is Mt. Guyot, and the slope to the left drains springtime snowmelt waters to the west, while a few meters to the right etc etc. (When I peed behind a tree, I made sure to be on OUR side. California got enough of my whiz on the Tahoe trip).

To me, the divide was more moving than some invisible thing like a border or the equator. After climbing a mountain range, it's very stirring to see and know that everything really does change. Much like the Mississippi River which I've crossed MANY times, or reaching another continent separated by an ocean.
It was a big event in my life--thinking about how it must have felt to all the pioneers hundreds of years ago.

We got to spend a decent amount of time up there--enough for my aforementioned whiz, where I sank into the snow up to my junk and had a vision of needing help to get out--and for pictures and videos.

Remembering photo tips from many years ago, I was glad I had set my phone's camera to +1.5 EV overexposure, because this is almost exactly how I remember it looked up there.

Our trip down was every bit as much fun as the way up.

The scenery was beautiful and my heart was soaring.
One of the very best days of my entire life.

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