It was Ryan’s year to plan the surprise wedding anniversary trip. With the 4Runner and cooler stuffed to the brim, we began driving west.
Four hours later we were still driving west when I convinced Ryan to divulge the plan – a 4 day weekend road trip to do some desert mountain biking and National Park exploration in Southwest Colorado, a uniquely beautiful Mountain Standard region.
We toured the Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde, visiting both Cliff Palace and Balcony House. Neither of us are touristy people but we truly enjoyed climbing the ladders, squeezing through tunnels, and learning about the historical and cultural significance of this spectacular place.
Next up was flossing the squiggly singletrack of Phil’s World, Colorado’s top rated mountain bike ride. After 25 miles of fast, fun riding and post-ride brews, we headed toward Telluride to find a campsite.
We took a chance on driving a forest service road that was new to us and were elated that we took a chance on something fresh. We found a gorgeous spot for the tent and spent the evening and next morning soaking in the views of stunning Wilson Peak.
Continuing on with the road trip, we drove north to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison where we lucked out and found the only remaining campsite in the park. We hiked all the trails on the South Rim that evening and caught the sun on its way out at Sunset Point, a beautiful lookout peering over the Colorado River.
A trip to the Western slope wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Fruita for some laps along the Bookcliffs at 18 Road. With trail names like Chutes and Ladders, Zippity Do Da, MoJoe, and PBR (pumps, bumps, and rollers), the singletrack fun is endless. We found a great private campsite and soaked in the quiet, open, desert vista.
Camp breakfast is one of life’s greatest pleasures so we were stoked to try a few pouches of Mountain Standard’s Power On Pancakes. The batter is easy to prep – just add 8 ounces of water and mix in pouch for easy cleanup (fill your Mountain Standard camp mug up to the third row of glyphs for the perfect amount of agua).
The blueberries rehydrate beautifully and the hotcakes cook up nice and fluffy. We enjoyed them plain with a little maple syrup drizzle one morning and candied them up a bit with chocolate chips and bananas the next morning. Made with whole grains, quinoa, and hemp and packed with 22 grams of protein per serving, these flapjacks were substantive and provided energy all morning long so we could power on while biking, hiking, and camping around gorgeous Colorado.