Engineer Mountain Trail
Engineer Mountain Trail is typically done as a shuttle but without that option, we rode it as an out and back. It’s pretty straightforward, you climb for 9.2 miles and 3,624′ and then turn around and descend. The switchbacks start pretty close to the beginning and you wind your way up through aspen forests, across hillsides, up through some dark alpine pine forests, and around above treeline to the base of Engineer Mtn. Wow! The top opens up and offers expansive views of the Needles Mountains and Animas Valley.
Engineer Mountain was sculpted by a 2,000-foot wall of ice sliding south during the Pleistocene epoch. When I stopped to put my wind vest on, I could see climbers way up on a rocky chimney and it looked scary. We kept going. The beauty of out and backs is you get to see the fun you’re going to experience when you finally turn around. Fun it was! On a weekday there was only one hiker coming up as we were bombing back down and oh what a blast.
Our exBend friends Dana and Brad are camping in the area and Dana took the day off to shuttle Hermosa Creek with us. This ride starts up past Purgatory Resort. The whole rail is 18.6 miles and generally descends, although there is still 1,182′ of climbing even with the shuttle.
The trail begins high up in alpine forest and then drops along the creek with some rocky sections. Somewhere about 8 miles in, Dana broke a part on her bike and after several unsuccessful attempts to fix it, she had to walk, hike, coast out without a chain on her bike. Derek and I went on ahead to finish the ride and get the shuttle vehicle we left at the top of the Trail. It was a bummer for her but thankfully it was a beautiful day and she still had fun outside.
Little ol Mancos has a brewery! We met Dana and Brad there one evening for a drink. Mancos Brewery is a nano-brewery, brewing small batches in 2 to 7 barrel runs. When we were there they were out of the Extra Dizzy IPA which I wanted to try. I had the Pagan Porter and thought it was a bit thin. For my second beer I chose a bottle from their selection. It was called Slap Happy IPA…also from Mancos Brewery. I liked this beer, very light and refreshing. It definitely isn’t as good as the Cortez Wild Edge Coop we went to in the area a few months ago.