“Don’t step on the crypto, bro!!”
— This was a statement I’ve heard more than once and have now found myself saying to others. Referring to cryptobiotic soil, pictured above. This sandy/rocky soil composition is found all over central and southwest Utah, and is incredibly fragile. Since the plants have very little soil in this rocky desert environment on which to root through wind and rains, one footprint on it can prevent plants from growing in that spot indefinitely. So navigating through the rocks of Moab involves a constant awareness of this soil, given the high foot, bicycle and OHV (Off Highway Vehicle) traffic all through this area.
After taking a rest day from our epic Kokopelli ride into Moab, I got settled into my host Terriann’s home and pulled the bags off my bike for a stint of local riding around Moab. I started with an exploration of Arches National Park…
I guess people climb up these hoodoos… Looks fun!
Saw an artist drawing the landscape. I thought it was interesting to depict him depicting the land…
Requisite big arch shot with requisite gazillion tourists.
Big face looking up at little face.
Once I left Arches, I took a crazy rough dirt backroad from inside the park to an area of mountain bike trails known as Klonzo which connected to another area called Brand M trails. Fun, smooth flawy trails around here which are quite rare in my experience of riding Moab!
Paved bike trail all the way back to town from Arches. Moab really takes care of their bikers.
Following day, I rode up around the area called Amasa Back. Up Hymasa to ride out to Pothole Arch, then back to ride Upper and Lower Ahab. This and Porcupine were some of my favorite combination of fun terrain and insanely beautiful views in Moab.
Looking out from inside Pothole Arch
Later in the week after 4 great days of riding, my brother in law arrived in Moab with 6 of his friends for a men’s weekend of trail riding. We hit as much as we could in 3 fun filled days, starting with Slickrock trail, then Pipedream the first day.
Johnny perched atop some slick rock
Coming around the bend on Pipedream
Petey (who’s 50th birthday inspired this weekend’s festivities) coming through a rock tunnel
The crew on the way up to ride the Whole Enchilada in a shuttle. I had hoped to ride my bike up to meet them at the top, but it would’ve been a 6000′ climb to start a long day of riding, so I elected to hang with the group… you know, to keep the crew together 😉
Overlooking Castle Valley on the way down the Whole Enchilada
A few of us still had some energy left after the big descent, so we went and rode a quick repeat of the trails on Amasa Back.
Last day with the crew was on a series of trail known as the Magnificent 7. Super fun and beautiful, right on the edge of Canyonlands National Park.
My horrible attempt at bow pose (not stretching much these days) atop Gemini Bridges.
My final morning before pushing off from Moab at Terriann’s house. This woman is amazing. She hosted me this Spring when I came to Moab to do a Wilderness First Responder training, and took me in again. She is a huge advocate and host for touring cyclists through Moab, and an inspiring human in general. Her no-bullshit personality was intense and refreshing for me. We had one night of fantastic conversation together that I’ll never forget. So much love and appreciation to her for creating an amazing home of art and comfort and opening it to me and so many others!
All in all, I stayed in Moab for about 10 days, the longest stint in one location since leaving Seattle 4 1/2 months earlier. Indeed this is a special place, one i hope to return to many times in the future. These canyons speak a special silent language to me, and I’m excited to explore what it says to me as I progress into Southwest Utah from here…