Middle Cottonwood to Bridger Foothills Trail

I woke up, wrote down my itinerary for the day, and said goodbye to a sleepy Mo. My plans were to to ride up Middle Cottonwood and then North on the Bridger Foothills Trail. From there I would come out at Truman Gulch. The ride to the trailhead was wet and it looked like storms were moving in.  I was optimistic as I headed up Middle Cottonwood because it appeared that it was going to clear.

As the trail turned upward it started to hail … then snow.  I was riding with a new device to hold food.  One of the goals were to see how easy it would be to eat from this thing. I found it difficult but it is not the bag’s fault. The side hill single-track was so exposed and steep I was consistently getting vertigo. Scary stuff … but tremendously fun. I encountered a half dozen ultra runners who told me I was in the wrong place.  I suggested that I was indeed at the right place. The last runner by said the “Bostwick” was impassable.

Then I went up into the clouds. It was 7500 feet and 35 degrees so the occasional pushes were welcome to warm me back up. I tried to save my warm gear for the delicious bike ride down but I discovered that I was so cold that if I didn’t put them on I would be jeopardizing the plan. It was now full out snow so I wasn’t getting any wetter except for the sweating part.

The views and terrain just kept getting better and better. The clouds were ripping through the trees and snow stuck to their appendages.  It was quite a surreal sight.

As I topped out at a saddle a couple ultra runners named “Bostwick” I thought I saw the trail curl up the ridge. Later I would discover that this trail I saw was off my usual plan.  But at the time I figured I was still on the Foothills trail. It went up … straight up. I packed my bike on my back and schemed that I could do this on the actual Great Divide Trail in the wilderness areas.

At 8500 feet I am abandoned plan & turned around. The snow was picking up and a new friends arrived. High Winds.  It was time to go home. Besides all that I had a date at noon.

As I hiked the bike down I stopped a couple times to regain balance. The drops on the South side of the ridge was dizzying with the clouds rolling up the slopes and a eerie black and white near vertical landscape looked more like a crater on Mars.

As soon as I mounted the bike I was in my element.  On any other bike maybe I would have been sketched out by some of the steep rocky and muddy sections but with the 29er Salsa I felt more centered and felt really comfortable coming down off any drop.  The bike is awesome.

As the clouds broke I could see sun in the valley. My spirits already lifted with the excitement of the decent topped out at a very high grin inducing level. I rode through gorges, past waterfalls, and around steep slopes. Green alpine meadows greeted me with budding flowers and a unreal immense green.

Descending 4000 feet is fun. Period.

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