Nearly everyone in mountain biking knows about the boyfriend/girlfriend ride. That's the ride you take your boyfriend/girlfriend on and you can be pretty sure you still have one when you get back to the car. Next weekend, I'm going to go on what my club has dubbed the Easiest Boyfriend/Girlfriend Epic Mountain Bike Ride (Okay, I dubbed it that) and would like to offer the ride to the Mountain-Plains group. This is a true plains ride south of La Junta in the far southeastern corner of the state. But it is by no means a flat ride! This ride is to the Picket Wire Canyon area that may soon be off limits to us due to the military's expansion of the Pinon Canyon area.
The ride is in the canyons of the Purgatory River and it winds through areas that have been occupied by humans for almost 10,000 years. Evidence of that occupation is everywhere from old ranch houses to Hispanic settlements to Native American petroglyphs. But the main attraction is the evidence of occupants that are far older than that...by 250 million years. The Purgatory Canyon has the longest dinosaur track way in the US with over 1200 foot prints from 100 individual dinosaurs. Here's a few pictures of what to expect.
A little climbing
And, of course, the tracks.
I'm going down on Friday and camping on the canyon rim Friday night under skies filled with stars and plains alive with the call of wilderness. Saturday, we'll drop down into the canyon for a ride that I've done more than a dozen times and I find new things every time I go. The ride itself is only 17 miles but I've often taken 6 to 7 hours to complete it because there is so much to see.