Philip Benningfield
Great Divide
Carnero Pass and Places Certain sections of the GDR have particular places that give us a sense of security and comfort. On the southern side of Carnero Pass is a perfectly situated Forest Guard Station. I have never stayed there but roamed around the seemingly well-groomed grounds and filled up with water after a bout with Mother Nature.

Huddling under a measly stand of aspens, with thunder and lightning approaching the pass, lends a sense of comfort while waiting to get the wheels rolling again.

To find a respectable shelter, not an ineffectual set of trees, sets the mind at ease and allows the psyche time to realize that all is well again. Better yet is water, a beautiful setting in sporadic aspen groves, and a cooler with tasty libations, which had been left under the small porch cover.

Could it get any better? Yes, because the miles afterward are downhill, fast, and lead to the rolling pavement beside the Penitente rock climbing and mountain biking area. Better still is the La Garita store: an oasis on the western side of the San Luis Valley.


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Philip Benningfield

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Philip Benningfield
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? Have your traveled by bike in the past? My motivation comes from some instinctual need to see what lies over the next mountain pass, to see a pristine meadow flushed with wildflowers or filled with stoic elk, or follow a never-ending ranch fence line in as obscure a place as possible.
  • What is your goal for the route? What do you hope to get out of this journey? Any undertaking along the GDR is tempered with as little expectations as possible. I find no need to try and experience the trip beforehand as the actual ride far surpasses any expectation. The goal each and every time is to get away from the busy world and witness, with as minimal a kit as I can survive with, the peace found out in the middle of nowhere!


  • Tattered warm Pearlizumi gloves
  • Sleeping Bag Feathered Friends Hummingbird 20-degree sleeping bag
  • Marmot 650-fill down coat
  • Jagged Edge skullcap

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