Skip to main content

Riding on top of Button Rock

A Saturday morning ride with Duncan is bound to involve some hike-a-bike. Typically this means pushing bikes up a steep downhill trail. But yesterday’s ride acheived an entirely new level of transferring bikes along routes that cannot be ridden, we rode off the top of Button Rock. Maybe you’ve heard of Button Rock reservior, the Button Rock trail, or Button Rock mountain. Well, all of these are named because they are within sight of one giant hunk of granite that is the actual ‘Button Rock.’
  Six am is our normal start time for Saturdays, and this day found us bumping along a steep, rutted dirt road in the small town of Pinewood Springs. We had turned off of Highway 66, onto County Road 47 and were heading up to the Johnny Boy camping area. We parked at the trailhead and stepped out to the soothing sounds of a generator running outside a fifth-wheel camper. As the sounds of camping faded behind us we pedaled into the vast network of trails that make up this area.
   The Pinewood trails fall mostly in the category I would describe as ‘rolling.’ I trailed along behind Duncan and Brian, and I felt like I was never quite ready for what came around each corner. I would think we were settling into a downhill section. I’d drop my seat a little and grab a few gears, then just as I built up speed, we’d pull through a tight switchback and onto a technical hillclimb. I’d struggle to shift into a climbing gear, torque down on my pedals and slog up another short climb. When I’d reach the top I’d find myself dropped by the others who had already started into another fast downhill. The trails are a fun combination of pine forest singletrack and riding over big rock slabs.
  Riding without any flow or rhythm is a very inefficient way to burn a lot of energy. I can’t say I learned to predict when the trail was changing, but keeping my chain closer to the middle gears helped. Finally, we reached to top of the trail, or at least the top of the ridable trail. We pushed our bikes across the soft pine needles of the forest floor and arrived at a rock face. Here we each shouldered our bikes and began a challenging scramble over the rounded granite.                                                                         


We were all happy we were riding flat pedals and sneakers without cleats. Duncan was especially pleased with how well his 5.10 brand biking shoes gripped the rock. Go figure. The scramble wasn’t especially steep or technical, but we did climb past a climbing bolt.

Seriously, a climbing bolt.

The top of the rock has a nice flat rest area. A natural basin set in the stone was full of rainwater for a temporary pond complete with reeds and frogs. We sat for a while and enjoyed the view.




  Then it was time to get off the rock. We started riding along on the granite slab. The rock provided plenty of traction, right up to the point where gravity took over. Some of the rock faces were so steep, that our tires just skidded along towards the fall line. The best we could do was settle in over the back wheel and feather the brakes for a little bit of control.
  Once we came down out of the rocks we joined up with a trail that leads all the way down to the Pie Shop in Pinewood. The trail is in pretty rough shape. The floods of 2013 came pouring through the creek bed along side the trail. Deep ruts ran through some sections, while downed trees ensured some more hike-a-bike. A disheveled hiker with two tired dogs met us on his way up and asked how far to the rock.
Hiking along washed out and overgrown trail

  Between washouts and tree crossings, we got a taste of how the trail used to be. Curving singletrack weaved through thick forest at a nice pace. It was a fun cool down after the crazy path we had covered. Riding on top of Button Rock isn’t very easy or practical, but sometimes it’s just fun to put your tires off the beaten path.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

John Biro and the Dirt Bike (Not Bike Related)

  I knew John Biro. I was lucky to meet him early in my short time in that part of the mountains. At his service lots of people told great stories about him. Lots of people knew him better and new him longer. My Biro story is just a tiny scrap in the mountain of stories that could be told about him. But I want to tell it anyway, because I feel like one day his boys might be looking for new stories, little stories, everyday stories, about  their dad. I don’t want to tell a story about myself, I want to tell a story about Biro, but I just happen to be in it.   I first met Biro on his birthday in 1998. Shane and Marvelous Marvin led me up to his cabin. I had been sledding up Kebler before, and into Robinson basin. But I had always skirted around the townsite. The town site was forbidden, unless you had a reason to be there. I was excited to finally enter this mysterious place where smoke trickled from the chimney's of odd little cabins covered in snow. I stayed all day at the party a

LHC True Crime

   It was naive of me to think I could just sit down and throw together a post about murders in Left Hand Canyon. I'm not into true crime shows or podcasts. I don't know how those writers do it. With each new detail I read, the stories just became more sad and bleak. I felt like a ghoul as I uncovered each new tale of a life lost.   So why even bother? Shouldn't things in the past just stay in the past? The blood on the trail has long since faded into the dirt under our tires. When we go out in those woods on our mountain bikes we experience pure joy and happiness.  Should that be tainted by the notion that on the very same spot, some people experienced the brutal last moments of their lives?   I don't have any of these answers. But I started to feel that if we are going to dance on graves we should at least be aware that the graves are there. Ok, maybe not graves, but at least crime scenes. I'm not going to get into the details of each crime, you can click the l

Wheelie Masters and the Journey

  Last year, riding up the road from the parking lot to the trailhead, reminded me that I absolutely sucked at a riding wheelies. After decades on a bike,I could hold the front wheel up for 10 ft at most. Even back when freeride started several of my friends learned to manual, I still had nothin'.   Then a year ago, my friend Zane started making FB posts, declaring that he was going to learn manuals, by practicing 30-40 minutes a day, every day. By the end of the summer he posted an amazing video of an endless manual down a hill. This gnawed at the back of my mind, he's over 40, I'm over 40. Maybe it is possible. Maybe wheelie skills aren't something that only the gifted are born with.   So around Christmas I started messing around popping wheelies in front of my house. I wanted to follow Zane's technique of solid repetition. I've read Malcolm Gladwell, I believed in the 10,000 hour rule.   So I tried on my own in the culdesac and got nowhere. Then I watche