Saturday morning about 9 am, I headed off to Silverado Canyon in my trusty pick-up truck. Precisely one hour later, I pulled into the Maple Springs Visitor Center’s parking lot. There was one spot left to park in a lot that has only five or so spaces. (The rest of the people park throughout the canyon).
I decided to go up The Motorway (aka, The Silverado Motorway, Silverado Trail or Bedford Trail) to Bedford Peak for an out-and-back. I thought this was a perfect way to break in my brand new Adventure Parking Pass. Plus, I haven’t been up this trail in its entirety since the fires that closed it down in 2014. For those of you who don’t know the trail, it’s the first one off to the left up Maple Springs Road (less than a quarter mile in), and it goes for 3 miles at a tremendous climb. A tremendous climb! About 2,000 feet of gain in those 3 miles.
Here, I’m about a half mile in, looking back at the canyon from where I started:
The hills were covered in green on Saturday, and also spring flowers, and lots of tiny landslides. Aside from the beauty though, it was a pretty miserable trek. I breathed the words, “Oh lord,” many times, and ran very little on the way up this switchback single track. On the way, I saw lots of other hikers, no runners, and a couple of dozen mountain bikers. I saw deer tracks here and there. I searched for, but noticed no other significant tracks. There was plenty of coyote scat however, and lots of dark lizards scurrying about.
Some of the flowers:
Finally reaching The Main Divide came as a great relief. That relief was so great in fact, it made the whole difficult trip worth it. “This is why,” I thought . . . “This is why.”
I turned right on The Main Divide, ran for about a half mile until I came to the trail to Bedford Peak. It’s not marked, but is obvious. Anyway, I found Gary’s bench at the end of the trail (which is now marked “Gary’s Bench,” otherwise, I would not have known it was Gary’s). The old bench that I had sat on before was on the ground, partially burnt, possibly from the 2014 fire. And in the time since I had been there, Gary had died. His family left a new bench in his remembrance and a journal for visitors to write in (which I did).
I sat a while on Gary’s bench, taking in the mountains both close and afar as I listened to the surrounding silence. Then after about ten, maybe fifteen minutes, I ran all the way to the truck. It was a treacherous trot, as I stumbled more than once. And when the cliff was steep and the trail rocky, I hiked, so that if I did fall I wouldn’t plummet to my death.
It was a very difficult 7.87 miles (totaling 2,323’ of gain). All of it, very much well worth it.