Old Turq – The 2023 Yeti Gathering

I love my Yeti SB150. It was originally purchased as a bike I could keep in Colorado, with the other rides living in California. But we moved to Durango in January, so this bike has turned into my primary ride. It is perfect for the rugged, dusty terrain that surrounds our awesome town. 

As a proud Yeti owner, I learned of the Yeti Gathering. The “Yeti Fest” is held once each year. It’s always in Colorado, and it’s always fun! The guys in Golden put together a weekend festival celebrating all things turquoise with music, games, great food, great people, and an uncountable collection of bikes both modern and vintage. 

This year was slated to take place in Rico, but it was moved due to snow to the small town of Mancos, which is located about a half hour west of Durango! Why wouldn’t I attend?!?!

The weather was occasionally threatening in the days running up to the event, but it ended up being absolutely beautiful and even a bit hot! The drive out to the event was easy and smooth. I decided to sleep in my bed rather than deal with setting up a camp. 

Rolling in on Friday, I found a parking spot and sat myself down at a dining table. I was there solo, so I started talking to anyone I could find. It didn’t take long to strike up a conversation with other cool riders who were visiting from locations as close as Durango and as far away as New Zeland! 

The day of the ride was a busy and tricky one. This course was one of the easier ones compared to recent years, but it was still a force to be reckoned with. 

It all starts at the camp site. We left on the Rim Trail and headed up to the Aspen Loop Trail, an access road that helps get riders up near the top of Burro Mountain. At that point, we split off and took the “intermediate” route through the second half of the course. This is where the mellow climbs stopped and the hard work started.

The North Fork trail was an awkward path that led through the trees. From there, the West Mancos trail dropped us down over 1000 feet of elevation where we jumped onto Owen’s Basin. 

The Box Canyon trail closed the loop, ending just one mile shy of the finish. It led across the meadows and through the trees until it took an abrupt drop into, well, Box Canyon. We crossed the Mancos River and climbed a grueling 500 foot, rocky half mile trail back up the canyon. The speedy last mile was fun and great payback for the hard climb. 

It was a hard ride, but it was a great day. I finished in just over 4 hours, which is pretty amazing for me! This ride was filled with great people, lookouts, and challenges. It was well worth the effort.

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