RSVP and help punch in the loop!
by Than Acuff
It’s time to rally once again as a community and throw your backs into some work in our backyard as the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA) hosts its annual trail work overnighter, Saturday and Sunday, August 26-27.
This one is special as CBMBA is tackling the “eagerly awaited, long overdue, much anticipated” Baxter Gulch trail to punch in the final three miles that would create a 12-mile loop heading up Baxter Gulch, slipping through the saddle between Whetstone Mountain and Mt. Axtel before connecting to the Carbon Creek trail and the Green Lake trail back to town.
“We’re in John Denver country up there. It’s freakin’ gorgeous,” says CBMBA executive director Dave Ochs. “Extreme views, extreme elevation with a wilderness quality right out the back door, or the front door. Pick a door. You could leave out the front door and come back in the back door.”
The Baxter Gulch trail has been in the works for several years thanks to the efforts and cooperation of numerous individuals, municipalities, government agencies and local non-profits. The town of Crested Butte and the Land Trust secured funding for much of the early work and the Western Colorado Conservation Corps, with additional financial help from the state of Colorado, jumped in getting the first 3.6 miles done to reach the National Forest boundary. 1% for Open Space teamed up with the town of Crested Butte to preserve the Zipper parcel along the route at a critical moment in the process, furthering the project and the United States Forest Service (USFS) has been in the mix from the start to help see the trail come to fruition.
“We are so grateful for the USFS–Gunnison Ranger District for their years of dedication and efforts on the Baxter Gulch Trail,” says Ochs. “We at CBMBA are so proud to partner with the USFS.”
Now CBMBA is rallying the troops to put in the final three miles, or as much as humanly possible, this weekend.
“There’s downed trees, rocks, you name it,” says Ochs. “There’s a lot of work to be done to maintain a decent alignment. We’re going through a war zone to make this happen.”
Close to 80 people showed up for the overnighter last summer to put in the Crystal Peak trail realignment and CBMBA is looking to exceed that number for this effort.
“We just need mad people up there,” says Ochs. “We need 80-plus if we want to put a dent in this.”
This effort is unique in that the base of operations is four miles in. Thanks to the cooperation of the Hidden Mine Homeowners Association, they’re allowing CBMBA to get a couple support vehicles into the campsite.
“The camping is beautiful on these kettle ponds on the Hidden Mine property and [the Hidden Mine HOA are] being very generous,” says Ochs.
Due to the remoteness of the location, CBMBA has a plan. They will provide transport for everyone’s camping gear to the site as long as volunteers drop gear off at the chamber of commerce building at the Four-way Stop by Friday, August 25. Then all you need to do is hike or bike in on the Baxter Gulch trail on Saturday morning. The trail starts by the county shops at the top of the hill leaving town. Ochs estimates it should take people a little over an hour to get into the trail work headquarters.
The work starts Saturday at 10 a.m. and will last as long as people can go on Saturday and then continue as long as possible on Sunday.
To make it work, and this is critical, CBMBA asks that everyone RSVP at cbmba.org so CBMBA knows how much gear will need to be transported and how much food and beer will be needed.
Rim Tours will provide the food for dinner Saturday night as well as breakfast and lunch on Sunday and CBMBA will have plenty of libations to last the weekend.
“We’ll have the tools, the water, the food, the beer, we’ll have everything,” says Ochs.
As always, the raffle and prizes will be “off the hook” with plenty of stuff to hand out to volunteers, which makes the incentive to help out that much sweeter.
“We’re looking for huge community support so we can get as far as we can,” says Ochs. “It’s a really unique place and it’ll be an incredible amenity to our trail system.”
For more information and to RSVP go to cbmba.org.