Gunnison Canyon is surrounded by a vast and beautiful recreation area.
I was mesmerized by how reflective the water was (no photoshop here!)
I rode up through the stunning Monarch Pass toward Salida
I lucked out by not only finding a couch surfing host to take me in and let me shower, but also one that rides!
Apparently Luke had seen a post of mine on advrider which influenced him to join couchsurfing, it’s funny how things work out sometimes.
Despite preparing for a weekend of riding at the Chickfest event, we couldn’t help but ride some dirt around Salida when I got in. Since my SV isn’t suited for such things, I piled on Luke’s big KTM and we rode over to borrow a bike from his parents.
Here he is on his giant dual sport bike.
Because he’s a badass, he took it up some jeep trails with me on the back. I generally dislike riding pillion, but after he clambered up some rocky crap without dumping me off, I felt pretty okay about it.
It was also distractingly beautiful.
Some rocky roads
Riding with locals is always great because they know where to pull off to find things like waterfalls!
Eventually we made it out to his parents house. They happen to own two lovely KTM300 2-strokes. I had never ridden a 2-stroke before and they had been made out to be pretty intimidating. However, the one I rode was lowered two inches and tuned to be a bit tamer, so it was a bit more approachable.
Luke’s mom rode one, I rode the other, he rode the big KTM and we all took off up some trails.
At first the bike felt a little squirrely, but once I got used to it, I was really impressed by how easily it handled and it’s ability to climb up just about anything.
After some steep climbs, we caught a stunning view.
And saw a nice rainbow
I took a wrong turn up some single track at one point and since it was too thin to turn around right away, pressed onward. Now, before this point I had only riden single track a couple times…and crashing happened. This little bike was a dream though and the suspension was incredible. It hopped up over rocks and roots, snaked between rocks and trees and crawled downhill so perfectly. We ended up riding until sundown and I finished the day with a huge smile on my face.
I NEED A TWO-STROKE