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Trip Dispatch #52: Saturday, July 9: Turquoise Lake to Tennessee Pass Tunnel: I’ve Been Working on the Railroad

We started out on the paved road that lead to the aqueduct, then rode over it. The horses had no problem with the noisy gushing water, which splashed up onto the road. We continued on through a busy campground at the east end Turquoise Lake. The trail reminded me of riding alongside Twin Lakes—it was rock strewn, and there were short up and down sections. The one difference was that this trail was heavily trafficked. Bicyclists, runners, hikers, boaters, everyone was out and about. We stopped and talked for a while with Mike and Tina, who live outside of Denver. Tina once lived in Alaska, and gave birth at the old Palmer Hospital.

Railroad highway crossing
Railroad highway crossing

We arrived at the old railroad grade shortly after lunch. I wrongly assumed that there’d be a clearly defined path alongside the old tracks. So we alternated riding along side and between the tracks, doing our best to avoid the debris. This portion of our ride was not without its eventful moments. One hour into it, Rainbow ran off to the far side of a swamp, slowly distancing herself from us. We needn’t have worried. She eventually worked her way back over to the barbed wire that paralleled the tracks, and slipped through the strands. Next, Signy saw a herd of mules and threw a fit. She’d never before been bothered by any kind of livestock, so this took us all by surprise.

We continued on under increasingly darkening skies. In short order, sprinkles turned to heavy rain. We hurriedly set up camp at the only grassy spot in the area, the base of a hill near the railroad tracks. I went for a walk and determined that it would be unsafe to go through the Tennessee Pass Tunnel. I would have thought differently had I been able to see the far side. So the plan is to instead go up and over it.

Next: Trip Dispatch #53: New Friends