Staff Blog: Mt. Boreas

Mt. Boreas
by Ashton Lambie
“Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.”


The weight conscious part of me thinks it is way too much work to take a Whitman poetry book and a flask of whiskey up to the continental divide for a bikepacking overnight, but it is easy to justify once you get up there. Although I go bikepacking, hiking, and general outdoor sleeping as often as possible, Boreas Pass provided one of the best sub-24 hour overnights (S24O) that I have had in a long time. The grade was nearly Kansas-level flat, albeit far longer than any climb for miles around. The plan was to head up to the pass, camp at the continental divide, summit Mt. Boreas the next morning, then hike/ride back down into town in the afternoon.


The air was crisp; even though it was hot, the dry air (or lack thereof) made it feel cooler than it would be with Lawrence humidity. After riding through Breckenridge, the climb up to Boreas pass is a single, steady uphill that turns to gravel halfway through. Anyone who has ever ridden with me knows how much I hate climbing, but this wasn't too bad. After getting to the pass, I settled in to watch the sunset with a simple dinner of Cup O' Noodles and tea, followed by some whiskey and Whitman for the star-watching half of the evening. Truly, a million dollar view, and all the better for having it to myself.


Colorado nights are great for sleeping, but cold nights mean wet tents. After a quick breakfast of pb&j wraps and tea, I was off to the summit by 8:00, just in time to watch the sun sliding down the mountains. There wasn't much of a trail, so I resigned myself to pacing myself up a scree field to the top, followed by a rocky walk along the saddle. Lo and behold, a fellow traveler had left a full, perfectly chilled, bottle of water at the top! Full of trail mix and extra water, I slid back down the scree field to the campsite. The ride back down was warmer as the day went on, and thankfully uneventful. An ideal S24O!


Although this is about as picturesque as a bikepacking trip can get, anywhere I can sleep outside with some minor creature comforts is a good location in my book. The key is simply to get out wherever and whenever your schedule and budget allows. It doesn't have a to be a week-long excursion in Scotland, you don't have to have a bikepacking-specific bike, and it doesn't really require much equipment. Take a backpack, your mountain bike, the basic necessities, and you are set.


“Allons! the road is before us!
It is safe—I have tried it—my own feet have tried it well—be not detain’d!”


Get out there!


August 17, 2015 by Andrew White