San Juan Huts Day 5

The day we have all be waiting for…..the trip into Paradox Valley and a dinner prepared for us by the great folks at Paradox Produce Company.  It meant no cooking for us, no dirty dishes and a chance to get out of the baking sun!

Day 5 Wedding Bell Hut to Paradox Hut:

  • 31.43 miles
  • 2,064 elevation gain
  • 3,222 elevation loss
  • 6,920 max elevation

Spent the  previous night sitting outside after sunset and got to see a couple shooting stars.  It was also a bit cooler outside than in the hut and this would have been a good night to spread my sleeping bag out on the deck.

We got a pretty early start to today.  A few in the group were really feeling the fatigue today.  More or less all of the climbing for the day was right off the bat on some very rugged roads. This day, similar to yesterday, is famous for impassable conditions if it is muddy.  Luckily we had bone dry conditions, the downside to that is that it was HOT again today.  Low 90’s and just about no shade to be found.

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looking back at Wedding Bell hut, climbing right off the bat
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another car in a gully

Before we hit a nice downhill section into Paradox Valley, we had one heck of a climb to get over.  The last couple hundred meters were a real kicker too.  Not sure of the grade, but it was steep.  Dean broke a spoke at some point during this climb.  It was the only real mechanical of the whole trip.

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almost at the top

From the top of the climb we could see down into Paradox Valley.  It was a very sweet view and meant that we were more or less done climbing for the day.

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Paradox Valley
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Who knew?

Nick, Troy and I rode the next section together.  It was a nice long gradual downhill with a little flat.  We made very good time to the top of the famous (infamous) Catch-em-up Trail, where you loose 1,000 feet in roughly 1 mile.  Needless to say, it isn’t something you can ride.

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Nick survived a minor tumble, but broke his garmin mount.
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dropping 1K feet in 1 mile! Can you see Troy?
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Looking back up at Nick, Troy, Dean.  There is a trail in there somewhere

At times it was a process of walking down, having someone else hand you your bike and their bike too, then repeating this process.  Apparently this used to be a cattle trail to get them from the top of the plateau to the valley floor and vice versa.  It was slow going, but eventually we all made it down.  Troy had a little “issue” with a rock and some gravity and ended up with a pretty good bleeder above his right eye.  Luckily he was okay and nothing was broken.  More proof that head wounds bleed a lot!

There was a rumor that the famous Bedrock Store could be open and that we would have a chance for some ice cream.  Unfortunately it was closed, even though it was noon on Saturday.  We later found out that the new owners are planning on being open by the end of August.  Too bad it wasn’t today, ice cream would have been so nice.

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No sign of Thelma or Louise

We took a bit of time here to get out of the sun and take a bit of a rest.  Also found a working hose on the left side of the store and took the opportunity to clean up and get a lot of the dust and grit off the arms and legs.  Also sprayed down the helmet to try and wash out some of the sweat and salt that built up over the past several days.

It was only 7 miles to the Paradox Hut from here.  It was a bit of a drag to get there.  I think we all just wanted to be done now since we couldn’t get any ice cream.  The only goals for the rest of the day were to get done, get changed and fix Dean’s rear wheel.  Oh yes, enjoy a home cooked meal from Marty and Greg at Paradox Produce too.

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Not a lot of shade at Paradox Hut
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John was pretty wiped out

Greg and Marty stopped by to tell us they would pick us up for dinner around 5pm.  It was nice to not have to think about biking the 2 miles to their store.  It may not sound that far, but at this point in the journey a free ride was gladly received.

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Figuring out a fiber fix temporary spoke for Dean’s wheel
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Oso the cat. He was very friendly

Marty and Greg fed us like kings.  I was dubbed “Chicken Boy” for the evening (maybe for life…) because I was the only 1 out of 6 that doesn’t eat red meat.  Everyone else got these huge cheeseburgers, while I got a chicken burger.  We also had potato salad, kale salad, some sort of melon, ice cream, and lots of water!

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My only picture of dinner, I was too hungry to take any earlier

We had a nice chat with Marty and Greg, they were great hosts.  Got to hear some interesting stories of past visitors from the hut system and got some good advice about the upcoming day 6 (again, it was going to be very hard).  Also got to cleanup a bit and wash some clothes which was greatly appreciated.

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6 well fed and very content guys (Pete, John, Dave, Dean, Troy, Nick)

We got a ride back to the hut and everyone more or less hit the sack for the night.  Troy and I spent some time outside looking at stars.  Tonight was the best night for viewing, we even got to see the speckling of the milky way across the sky too.

All of the day 5 pictures here

Thanks for reading,

-Pete

 

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