2006 Monarch Crest Trail
Line
Following are photos from this summer's weekend trip to the Monarch Crest, in Chaffee County, Colorado.

Click on any of the images to see a larger, higher resolution view.
Line
Weather Check Rise and Shine! It's 7:15am in the parking lot of the Super 8 Motel in Salida, Colorado. We need to drive about 5 miles to Poncha Springs to catch the 8:00am shuttle to the top of Monarch Pass. We've got plenty of time for breakfast, and it looks like it's going to be a beautiful day for mountain biking.
Line
High Valley Center Shuttle Service The shuttle service leaves from the High Valley Center Sinclair Station just south of Hwy 285 and Hwy 50 in Poncha Springs, Colorado. It consists of a pair of 15-passenger vans with enormous bike racks to carry as many bikes as passengers. On the right, Bob, Charlie, and Michael are making their final preparations. The Crew
Line
Monarch Pass Shelby Cobras In the parking lot on top of Monarch Pass were six Shelby Cobras. The owners are part of a club, had travelled from all parts of the country, and were on the last leg of a tour before parting ways. Monarch Pass Shelby Cobras
Line
Monarch Pass Of course we all must pose in front of the Monarch Pass Continental Divide sign. Monarch Pass
Line
Here they come Finally, we hit the trail. On the left, Charlie and Michael are approaching. On the right, they continue up the trail, with Bob up ahead leading the pack. It will be a steady climb for a while. There they go
Line
BR Bob (left photo) and Charlie cresting a steep section of trail. Michael is up ahead of us. In the background, on the left hand side of both photos are the slopes of Monarch Mountain ski and snowboard area. Charlie
Line
Good view This is a pretty obvious place to stop, I remember stopping at this exact spot last year. We are now getting up close to treeline, and the thinning forest offers incredible views. Good view
Line
BR and Michael On the left, Bob and Michael continue on. On the right, Charlie maneuvers his way through a rocky section of the trail. Charlie
Line
Good view Another obvious stopping point. We are above treeline, and the view is unobstructed over both sides of the ridge we are on. Good view
Line
Alpine tundra Riding through the alpine tundra are Bob, followed immediately by Michael, and Charlie, a little further back, giving them a little bit of space. The terrain is getting much rockier, and vegetation growth is getting sparse.
Line
Michael Here comes Michael. Now we're on our way downhill, and back into the trees.
Line
Stitch I'll take a panorama picture while I wait for Bob and Charlie.
Line
The downhill Looking back at the FAST downhill we just rode, and the riders currently descending.
Line
Short flim Clicking on this image will lead you to a short video slide show.

file type: swf (Flash)
size: 3.67 MB
Line
Charlie On the left, Charlie conquers a rocky uphill section of the trail. On the right, Michael is enjoying a downhill. Michael
Line
Downhill On the left is the view back up the hill I just came soaring down. At the bottom of the downhill is a sharp right hand corner, followed immediately by a bridge over the Silver Creek, shown on the right. Silver Creek
Line
Fruita girl This woman wasn't riding in our group, but she was the only one I was able to get a picture of riding over the bridge. Fruita girl
Line
If you saw last year's photos of this ride, you may remember me mentioning a particular section where the trail WAS the creek, but I had no pictures. This is that section.
BR rides the creek Charlie's not as successful Michael's alternate route
Bob successfully navigates his way down the creek. Charlie, you look frustrated. Michael thought he found an alternate route, but that turned out to be even more work.
Line
Shortly after the ride through the creek, we reached the final junction where we had to make a choice. Either we take the Rainbow Trail, which adds several more miles of singletrack with climbing, or bail out on the dirt road which is all downhill to the pavement. We decided to bail out, and it's a good thing we did, because the weather turned ugly pretty fast. We saw heavy rain, nearby lightning strikes, and even a little hail.
Line