Grand Junction....I'd just gone out there a month ago for work and was not looking forward to the drive there and back in one day. A quick phone call and my thoughts immediately improved. My buddy Todd from Trailsoffroad.com
wanted to map a trail in Glenwood anyways, so instead of driving the four hours home, I'd go one hour west and do what we all enjoy. We'd camp just above Glenwood on the Transfer Trail and break up my drive home.
It was a bit late by the time I met up with Todd so I quickly aired down and off we went. There is a wonderful flat spot overlooking Glenwood a short ways up the trail, but someone already had claimed it...dang! Onward we pressed. We both were good with just running up the trail a little ways and finding a camp spot as it was getting late, but everywhere we looked, good flat established spots were taken and the other spots were at less than ideal angles. We finally rolled up onto a large flat rock section and figured since neither of us were ground camping, it would work perfect.
As Todd emptied his Jeep for sleeping, I got the mac and cheese and brisket cooking and raised my roof top tent. An hour later and bellies full, we just sat. The complete quiet was more than any conversation could offer. But alas, morning would arrive, so it wasn't long before we were off to bed.
I was awaken by what I could've sworn was Todd pulling a rolling suitcase the next morning. As I unzipped the door to tent to ask Todd what he was doing I saw a lone bicyclist ride by. Realizing now, that Todd was still asleep, I laid back down and got a few more z's. Seven thirty came quick though and we packed everything up and hit the road again. We had to backtrack a bit to restart the GPS tracks for his website, but that gave us an opportunity to check out a lake loop. Best idea ever!!!!
The Bowen loop went in a short ways, the split to a loop with the left line being heavily traveled and the right being not much more than two tracks...so right we went and were immediately greeted with a field full of wildflowers. I don't just mean a field with a bunch of wildflowers, I mean full! More wildflowers than I've ever seen in a field. We soaked it up and got pictures and headed into the trees, but before long, we were pulling out of the darkness and into another field full of flowers! Columbines were blooming all over the place, along with Indian Paintbrush and Lupin and Mountain Sunflowers, more flowers than I know. We were sure it would end, but as we drove through another patch of trees, were exited to be greeted by another field full of the colorful wildflowers. It just didn't end.
I'd thrown a couple of burritos on the menu, and we felt we could pick no better place to eat them then in the fourth field of wildflowers (or was it the fifth?). A half an hour later, we reluctantly packed up our stuff and headed down the road further. After a couple more fields and tight twisting tree patches, we came to one reason why people hadn't driven the trail. Three downed trees. Out came the bow saws, winch kits and what little muscles we had. As we were both working on sawing trunks, we felt a relaxing breeze blow up and heard a very unsettling creaking sound. A large live tree to the left of the trail was holding a precariously tipped dead tree.
As we finished up cutting and went through the winching process of clearing the trees, I would watch warily to make sure the tree wasn't coming down. Before it could do more than just threaten, we had the trees cut and pulled off to the side and we were down the road and on to the next field of flowers. We had been doing good avoiding the braided bypasses that people had created, but at one point, we found out why some of the bypasses were just as well traveled as the main routes as Todd managed to sink his Jeep off camber in the mud. We determined the easiest way to get it out was from the front so I took the bypass so he could winch off my beast and we continued the beautiful loop, soon coming out alongside Bowen Lake to see a lone fly-fisherman reeling in a fish.
From the lake, it's only a 1/4 mile back to the Transfer Trail and most of the trail while still beautiful paled in comparison to the loop road, toss in being low on fuel and wanting to get out to the highway and home and we bomb-canned much of the rest of the road, slowing only for the few obstacles. We didn't have any traffic on the trail and once we hit the main road, the only two vehicles in front of us were kind enough to pull over and let us past.
Near the end, there's an overlook to look over the Deep Creek and the Gore Mountain Range and we felt the urge to stop for a bit and stretch our legs. Good thing for one of the cars that had stopped to let us by earlier as they had a flat tire and couldn't figure out where the tools were to lower the spare. Todd and I made short work of getting their spare out for them and, after they assured us they were fine, we headed out to Coffee Pot Rd and back to civilization, both of us exhausted, dirty, sweaty, and thrilled with our little side trip.