After more than a year in close quarters and with two vehicles, it was time to take a break. I took the Jeep, bought a sleeping bag and tent and headed out from Golden for 10 days. Butch took the van and headed to Loveland.
Granby was my first stop. A day in Rocky Mountain National Park and spending the night with Odd and Sally, who moved our here from Mt Washington Valley two years ago.
Monday morning i rode two laps of the Granby Bike Park (the lifts closed the day before) and then headed to Steamboat. I got in an afternoon ride on Flash of Gold, met Bonnie at Pilates and spent the night at their home in Steamboat. Bonnie is from New Mexico and is a great southwestern style cook. She turned me on to Hatch’s Green chiles!! George and Bonnie moved from No Conway over 29 years ago, and are still enjoying life in CO.
The next morning Bonnie and I got out for a ride before I headed out to Eagle Co. Clouds gathered with a lite drizzle, so I opted to continue on to Buena Vista, the “ Banana Belt “ of Colorado. The drive led me through Leadville, Co—thought about Nancy and Tom!
Tuesday morning I awoke early to a rainbow (no rain) and headed over Monarch pass to Gunnison on Odd’s recommendation.
Hartman Rocks is a multi-use area, including motorcycles. So, in the past, this meant not-so-good riding, but it was surprisingly good. The trails are great, good views and the motos and bikes get along. Great campsites at the top of the area with 360 degree views.
The valleys between the mountains are so lush and green and seem so alien to what you might expect. Sometimes you come over a cold, cloudy pass and descend into sunshine, grazing cattle and sleeveless shirt weather.
With an early afternoon finish, I fit in a tourist ride through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison N. P., then on to a hot spring in Rico and camped by the Dolores River.
Up early again, Cortez, Escalante and Natural Bridges N. P. were next. It was an all day tourist thing.
I camped in Escalante in cooler weather and the next morning hiked a slot Canyon (Willis Creek), went to Mossy Fall and spent the rest of the day in Bryce, hiking the Peekaboo trail.
Bryce is spectacular, you are up on the plateau looking down into the Canyon of hoodoos. The hike was scenic, there is a lot of horseback riding in the park, I imagine it is one of the most visually beautiful places anywhere to ride a horse.
A teeny tiny cabin in Panguitch was my night stopover, hoping for a ride on the Thunder Mtn trail in the morning, but the weather did not cooperate. Cold, windy and rainy, I opted to head for St George.
On the way to St George, snow fell and my hopes of riding diminished. The top of the pass was a full on blizzard. Cutting through Zion on a rainy Saturday… what was I thinking? Hurricane had moderate showers was a good possibility.+ Got a chance to do my laundry and slept in a teepee that might.
Early the next morning, the cold (46) and wind make my ride in the Jem trail not as wonderful as it could have been. The forecast was for more precip and cold temps, so I headed south after finishing the ride.
The route wound its way through the Lake Mead National Recreation area. As I left Utah I drove through a beautiful steep walled canyon and the along the western shore of Lake Mead. Actually, the scenery was beautiful, but at that point there had been days and days of such amazing scenery, I was overloaded and only stopped to look at the warm springs (they had palm trees around them like an oasis) and one or two overlooks.
The Hoover Dam and Boulder City are at the south end of Lake Mead. I hiked into Arizona Hot Springs and camped at Kingman Wash-a four mile drive on jeep roads to the shore of Lake Mead. A gorgeous sunset and wild burros were on site.
Riding in Boulder City was such a change from the Colorado trails—they’re rocky—lava rocky—which meant sharp and angular. The city has a dedicated biking/hiking area complete with bathrooms, picnic area and showers. The center of town is old Spanish style houses and shops and very picturesque.
That night I camped in the Lake Mead Rec campground. Very nice tent sites on the lake. Up early the next day (primarily because a camper about 50 feet away got a 4:30 AM phone call from friends who weren’t aware of the time zone difference—and he was hard of hearing so he literally shouted into the cell phone for half an hour) and headed to Kingman AZ. It must have been lack of sleep, but I forgot to reread my friend’s suggested ride and rode just about the worst trail I have ever been on. This part of AZ had a deluge about ten days before and take a look at the pics to see what the trail was like.
From Kingman, the night’s stop was in Williams (outside of Flagstaff where I was meeting up with Butch the next day). It went from warm and balmy to 35 degrees and windy. I slept in a wool hat and socks, sweatpants and a down jacket inside my sleeping bag. Another not so good night’s sleep.
The morning was cloudy, dark and windy, so I headed to Flagstaff and made the decision to check out the Walnut Canyon National Monument to see if it would clear. The best option for riding nearby was the Walnut Rim trail/Flagstaff loop, Walnut Meadow ride—about 14 miles through interesting terrain. I got warm enough to take my jacket off for a bit, but mostly cool and windy. Late afternoon I met Butch at the Campground. The van was nice and warm!!