Saturday morning was foggy, early afternoon was rainy, late afternoon was sunny; a late starter's gift. I drove up to Buffalo Creek for a ride when it cleared up.
This time I rode past Baldy on the Buffalo Creek doubletrack (FR 543), seeking any other trail (I didn't have my map or even this) that would take me to the upper plateau and link up with Miller Gulch and Sandy Wash like last time.
If I didn't find a trail I could do a ripping backtrack on the road.
I kept leap-frogging other riders on the service road as we each stopped, a couple at a junction asking if I "needed another two" as I flew by without slowing. Too late. As usual, I was enjoying the focus and freedom of solitude. And speed.
Taking the road was also a more gradual climb than the trails along the way.
I rode to where the closed road dumps out onto FR 550 near the CO trail, and took a right thinking that was the general direction I needed to go.
After 15 minutes more with the assistance of the map at the CO Trail's Buffalo TH (not to be confused with the "Buffalo Creek TH" on 126) and some fairly good signage, I found the Gashouse Gulch TH on spur 550d.
I had driven through this area in the middle of the night coming home from the Sangres recently, and had seen the signs for the TH so I knew it was there somewhere.
In the location below, there is also a trail to the left and a branch of Gashouse Gulch off to the right, and I had to choose which one to follow. Straight ahead seemed right...
Except for a couple of rugged sections, including some rocks that I strained to haul my bike over, the trail ascends the gulch at a moderate slope.
After a couple of miles, the trail linked up with the ones I had ridden a couple of weeks ago. Yay! This downhill on Sandy Wash is by far the best part of the ride.
I managed to ride the whole thing with stopping for any obstacle, including a crazy narrow banked "S" through some boulders, and more banked, narrow rollers than you can shake a stick at. I did alright.
Distance was 15.82 miles, time 2:06 (moving 1:41), elevation gain/loss 1,593 feet, avg. speed 7.5 mph, and max speed 20.6 mph.
That is some fine riding down there.