From camp we rode the Galloping Goose Trail out and back. The ride was 31 miles with 3,106′ of climbing. It follows segments of the historic Rio Grande Southern Railway. In 1931 the railroad was bankrupt so to cut costs they converted old automobiles into railcars. Galloping Goose was the nickname of the hybrid car. It was chilly when we started which was unfortunate because it’s largely downhill for 15 miles and then, obviously, mostly uphill on the way back.
We started out riding around Trout Lake and stopped to check out the cool old trestle bridge. The singletrack curved through the aspens and hugged the side of the mountain before dropping through a tunnel and crossing the highway. This next section of trail runs alongside the old railroad trestles with a steep dropoff to the side.
After stopping to explore a waterfall, we descended down to Vance Junction Coal Chutes. Built in 1890, the row of eight pocket chutes was designed to dump premeasured amounts of coal quickly into waiting coal cars.
Loading the chutes with coal was very labor intensive. Workers called “coal heavers” loaded the coal into the chutes manually and were paid just 15 cents per ton, according to an information panel.
The climb all the way back was actually easier then I thought it would be and we had plenty of time to relax and recover.