On the Way....April 10thI had to put the trip off a day for two reasons...first, I was in the middle of closing on a new house and that never happens on schedule and second, we were hoping that the weather would improve if we waited one more day. It turned out that waiting a day paid off in regards to weather!
We were on the road by 9:30 in the morning and made a mockery of the 8 hours and 45 minutes that Google Maps told me it would take to get to Moab. So, 7 hours and 25 minutes later, we pulled into Moab.
We had a reservation at a certain campground in town...and when we found it, we quickly decided that there was a reason that the place was the cheapest one in town (I won't use any names). We scooted out of there and headed back closer to the center of town to the Canyonlands Campground where we got a nice tent site and set up camp.
The first night....
It was cold. Real cold. I brought an air mattress, a thermarest, and my summertime lightweight sleeping bag. My buddy was using my winter sleeping bag that I acquired from the Marine Corps and we decided to put the extra summer bag in the tent in between us and whoever got cold first got to double up with that bag. I won...and it only took 15 minutes. It was down around 27 degrees that night. Turned out that camping in a tent in the middle of town isn't the best idea for a light sleeper either...the jeepwash next door was running until 11:00 at night and the street was a little noisy for my liking! Oh well.......I get to ride in the morning!
Our plan was to start easy with Sovereign Trail, then ride the more strenuous Slickrock the next day, and finish with the mostly downhill Porcupine Rim on the third day since our legs would be getting tired.
Sovereign Trail....April 11th
It was partly cloudy and a very cold breeze was blowing...but otherwise it was a nice day. As long as I kept the heart rate up I stayed warm enough to not be miserable!
We rode the trail from south to north. Starting at the trailhead located on Willow Springs Road, we rode north toward the slickrock area and Dalton Well Road. Immediately I could tell that the trail had lived up to its classification as a Classic Moab Trail. We wound our way through sand, slickrock, and cactus stopping on a very regular basis for photo ops. Coming from the mountains of Montana and Idaho, I was awestruck by the scenery that was totally alien to us.
The trail was an easy ride on the technical and physical level with very few ups and downs and the few steep climbs that are included in the trail are short enough to be considered easy. Once we got to the slickrock, my buddy didn't click out of his pedal in time and he fell over...it was the first fall of the trip!
We rode up the slickrock and after looking at the map, I think we may have accidentally crossed the border into Arches National Park for a short distance. Oops! Riding up the slickrock we had a nasty cold headwind...and I saw about 10 little flurries of snow blow by my face. Yes, I was kicking myself for not wearing long sleeves and leg warmers!
While at the slickrock, we played around for a while then turned around and headed back the way that we came back to my pickup at the trailhead. We could have ridden in a loop, but that would have included riding on some gravel road and ATV trail...we figured if the singletrack was so fun in one direction, it'll be just as fun in the other direction. We were right!
Sixteen miles and 3 hours later, we were back at the pickup with the heater on! Lots of photo breaks and a nice eeeaaasssyyy pace made this into a longer ride.
That night, we just re-fueled for the next day and tried to get a little better sleep...which didn't happen when Pete and Re-Pete (that's what we named them) moved in to the tent site next to us. They showed up at 10:00 and the two fat shits sat up until 12:30 talking...loudly. We weren't fond of Pete and Re-Pete.
Slickrock Bike Trail....April 12th
Turned out that the we didn't find the trail to be nearly as technical as we had expected. Yes, the short steeps were tough, but as long as you have the power in your legs to make it up them, your pretty much good to go. He definitely took some of the obstacles slower than I did and he walked several of them, but he was certainly able to ride the trail.
After riding the practice loop, we headed off on the trail to where the 4X4 trail crossed the bike trail where we sat for a while and watched some jeeps climb a rock that didn't look possible. After watching that, we rode on and chose to go the "Easy Way" to the left.
We took almost every scenic offshoot from the main trail to include the white dots that take you to Mountain View Cave.
The rollercoaster ride of the trail was phenomenal and every short steep that I climbed amazed me that the traction allowed me to make it up to the top without spinning out.
About 3/4 of the way through the trail, the short steeps were starting to take a toll on my legs and the climbs were gettin a little more difficult! Just before the end, I felt like a got a second wind and cruised up the last few hills before I got back to where the practice loop hooks back into the trail...before I knew it, the ride was over.
With the practice loop, all the scenic offshoots, photo breaks, and several snack stops, we finished the ride in about 14 miles and 4.5 hours. The after ride beer was well deserved and tasted AMAZING (Big Sky Brewery - Honey Ale).
That night, we re-fueled with a burger and then hung out the rest of the evening with a couple girls that moved in a couple tent sites down. They were pretty cool...they made us drinks, smores, and cooked us some dinner. The only downfall was that they wanted to go to the bar (Woody's)...and all I wanted to do was go to sleep! But, you can't say no to something like that. By 12:30 I finally got to bed with a little worry in my mind about being so tired for the next days ride.
Porcupine Rim Trail....April 13thIt was finally warm enough to sleep in until the sun came up! I got up around 7:30, made some coffee and had some breakfast...I could definitely tell I had been at the bar the night before and I was hoping that it wouldn't take away from the ride that day.
We caught the Coyote Shuttle's pink VW van at 9:00 in the morning at Moab Cycles. Fifteen dollars took us all the way up to the upper LPS Trail which cut out the first 3 or 4 mile climb on the typical Porcupine Rim route. The LPS trail is all single track with one hike a bike section that was still muddy and icy...Of course I was the one who slipped and fell...and slid in the mud for about 30 feet. Yes, I was pissed.
After about 2 to 3 miles of fun singletrack on the LPS Trail with great views of Castle Valley, we intersected with Porcupine Rim Trial where those who ride up from the stock tanks reach the top of their climb.
The jeep road was a fun, fast ride with a few fairly technical climbs. Shortly before the jeep trail ended and the single track began, we came across a guy who face planted into some slickrock. Left a nice bit of blood on the rock, but other than a cut above his eye, a scratch on his chin, and a fracture to his pride, he was doing just fine.
The singletrack was a blast for the first mile or so...then it got much more technical and required a lot of getting off and walking. The majority of the singletrack is rideable, but I did have to get off and carry my bike up or down several sections.
Finally, we were back down to the Colorado River and basked in the sun for a few minutes before heading back down the highway toward Moab.
Again, we took our time so about 3.5 hours and 20 miles later, we were back at our campsite. A quick bite and a little discussion and we decided to drive back to Boise that afternoon rather than sleeping in that noisy campground another night.
In Summary...and Lessons LearnedThree days of riding, 50 miles, lots of pictures, and not a single night of good sleep...not a bad trip! Most amazingly, I didn't injure myself at all! This is very unusual for me...I'm usually the one bleeding! Maybe I'm getting better...???...
Our plan to start easy and end with a downhill turned out perfectly for our skill and physical levels. If I would have stayed for another day of riding, my legs would have objected, but the way we planned and rode the three days couldn't have been better.
We rode three classic Moab trails and had a great time. I've already decided that from now on, I will be making a spring and a fall trip every year. I've also learned that I will either stay out of town on some public land where it'll be quiet, or spring for a hotel room next time. I also want to go back and ride these same trails at a little faster pace next time...fewer photos stops = more adrenaline!
Can't wait to get back...................