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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Rails to Trails

~Saturday, May 7, 2022~

Day 692

I don’t think we’ve been to a campground where there were this many dogs (all friendly by the way). They’re all having fun checking eachother out. While enjoying my morning brew and writing time, I could hear some kids playing outside, with a few tossing around their LaCrosse balls (there is a LaCross team tournament this weekend). And then, a loud “pop” sound, with the ball hitting our trailer. My first concern was that the large front window on the trailer was hit, which would be a small fortune to fix, let alone months out to book a replacement. Luckily, it appeared there was no damage. Maybe the trailer has a dent in it? Nothing. Believe me…I did a thorough investigation so that if there was any damage, we’d settle things then and there with whoever was responsible. What I did see were a few guilty looking teenagers likely regretting their decision to play in that part of the RV park; not the best judgment call 😤. Since I didn’t see any damage, I decided not to say anything.

Following the damage inspection, and my hubby sleeping through it all, Sadie and I took a nice morning walk alongside the Roaring Fork River passing a few cyclists and walkers along the way. The morning air, invigorating.

Our camp host had mentioned 2 must do’s in Carbondale….cycling the Rio Grande Trail and hiking the Mushroom Rock Trail. Hoping to do both, we decided to start with the bike trail since our cycling opportunities are far and few between. It was nice we could just pick up the trail right from our RV park at around mile marker 12 from the Glenwood Springs area (the 40-mile paved scenic bike trail connects Aspen and Glenwood Springs). We weren’t going to have enough time to do the entire trail, which evidently takes about 16 hours. So we elected to bike to the historic section of Carbondale, then head reverse towards Glenwood Springs. The Rio Grande Trail is a Rails to Trails trail, which means exactly as it states…..from train operations to recreation. Between 1960 and the mid 1990’s, train operations by the Colorado Midland Railroad ceased in phases, subsequently having grown and blossomed into a treasure for locals and visitors alike.

At the onset of our bike ride, we spotted a very intriguing bridge so had to, of course, get a closer look. Thanks to the interpretive signs nearby, we learned quite a bit about it. The Satank Bridge

dates back to the earliest period of wagon bridge construction, built in 1900 and used until the 1980’s. What stood out to us was its pastoral setting with views of the scenic corridor and majestic Mount Sopris. However, in 2010, locals recognized the need for renovating such an important part of history, seeking grants and permission to restore the bridge. Unfortunately, the cost was higher than originally expected due to the want of adding pedestrian access on the bridge. It didn’t take much convincing when grants totaling $300,000 were issued in support of the cause. The renovation was completed in 2011. It is the longest span timber truss in the state and is listed on the State Register of Historic Places.

We learned that the Roaring Fork Valley which Carbondale is a part of, encompasses a total of 48,104 feet of elevation, 9 wilderness areas, 41 music and film festivals, 44 performing art venues, 10 art centers, a national park and a national monument. In the few hours of touring the area, we could certainly tell it was an artsy

community with the many sculptures and paintings in town and on the trail. Again, I think we missed the mark by a few weeks, lacking the energy we’d prefer; especially on a Saturday. It was eerily quiet. But there were a few shops and restaurants open with tourists and locals enjoying the Springtime weather. We managed to find a brewery in town called the Carbondale Beer Works, with outdoor seating and dog friendly. Too bad we didn’t have Sadie with us. Savoring a few good beers, and enjoying light conversation, it was nice to relax and enjoy the lovely afternoon. With a light rain and getting late in the day, we didn’t quite make it all the way to Glenwood Springs (about 6 miles shy), but enjoyed the amazing scenery and the fairly level bike ride itself. No Mushroom Rock Trail today, but there’s always next time.

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