It was a long downhill and flowed well. I’d ridden it before and knew that even though we were going down the valley toward Lost Park, I would need to pedal most of the way to be able to keep my speed fast enough to move smoothly. The section of the Colorado Trail we were riding drops slowly and steadily for miles as it winds its way down the Craig Creek drainage. It’s a fast, fun, and mostly effortless ride. Sure, there are plenty of obstacles along the way, such as unfortunately positioned rocks, encroaching Potentilla bushes, and washed-out ruts. But the only really tricky spots occur where side creeks, thick with willows, come in from the sides. While most of the trail can successfully be ridden by using a combination of vigilance and solid riding technique, the creek crossings generally require something a little more. And with all of their mud, roots, and big rocks, those parts often end up being walked. Despite the downsides, it’s mountain biking in the wilds of Colorado at its best.
It was music to our eyes. A horizontal mine shaft that a mountain bike could be ridden into. The official-looking opening into the Porfirio Diaz Tunnel was stuck onto a hillside in the middle of Batopilas, Mexico. Sure, it’d been abandoned for 70 or 80 years, but that wasn’t really of any consequence to us at the time. The entrance was circular and at about 12 feet in diameter, a little bigger than we’d each envisioned as we’d contemplated the place previously. A flat dirt roadway- perfect for mountain bikes– led into the darkness. Even though it had the ominous appearance of almost being eaten by the solid rock, it ‘s beckoning call was persistent and ultimately won us over.
It was Christmas break of my sophomore year in high school when Jake and I took off from Denton, Texas in his parent’s VW Camper-van bound for Mexico with a stop in Douglas, Arizona en route. The plan was to meet up with a more mature person, whom I sort of knew who lived in Douglas and then travel from there down to Guaymas, Mexico. Once down in the Mexican town, we’d have some quality beach time and experience all of the neat adventure stuff that could be had in the area. (Note- I’m not entirely sure how the parental permission thing was worked out, since we were only 16, although I remember that it was a good thing that we were going to be under the supervision of someone older). In the van, there was scuba gear packed away under one of the seats in cardboard boxes, places to sleep, and we must have had some food. We simply planned to beach camp, swim, and dive in the surf and enjoy some tropical weather while it was cold and windy in North Texas.