Diary Gallery Kit
Thursday 3rd July - Moab Utah Previous Top End Next
The Manti La Sal National Forest in the La Sal mountains

We had only a short days ride of 80 miles over the lower range of La Sal mountains to complete our days run. Our intention was to leave the 'bikes for a service and tune up with Fred Hink of Arrowhead motorsports and take a day off riding and see what Moab had to offer. The 4th of July was coming and we fully expected to see some serious fireworks, events, parties. We were ready for a break.

Our days riding was beautiful as we wound through alpine tree filled pastures and butterfly filled trails. The sun warmed up the air to a balmy 70 degrees and we stopped frequently aware that our 80 miles would take us only four hours at most. We crested the final rise of the pass still encased in pine forests and happy to be making such great progress. As we dropped out of the trees on the far side of the mountains an awesome site met us. A break in the trees showed a surreal view of the Utah Canyonlands framed in vivid green. It seemed as if we were riding toward the end of the world, the view ahead of nothing but yellow/red sandy rock twisted into huge towering buttresses and deep dark valleys. The contrast to the forest we were riding was so dramatic that I stopped shocked. I knew the desert had to start somewhere but I was expecting a slightly more gradual transition.

Within 20 minutes we were all baking. The temperature rose to over 100 degrees and the green of the mountains became a dream of the past we were not going to see again until Oregon in over a weeks time. Stef's exhaust dropping off gave me time to shelter behind a rock and do a little bouldering to pass the time. In the shade the temperature was almost bearable... Stef and Jon hunted for bolts to remount the pipe whilst I sweated and drank most of my mornings water.

The ride down to Moab was shocking. The scenery was so dramatically different and the heat so intense that we were all caught off guard. Huge rock mounds blotted out the sun and spires soared upward looking like frail old men about to totter over. The predominant colour of the landscape changed from the green our eyes had adjusted to, to a muddy yellow glow and a heat haze shimmer which covered everything. I rode the 30 remaining miles of the days route to Moab in wonder and was pleased to note that far from the highlight of the trip being over it seemed likely that it was just beginning.

Once in Moab, we organised a room for the night at the Red Rock Lodge. Compared to most of the places we had been, this was the height of luxury with a bed for everyone and all at an entirely reasonable price right in the centre of town. We then set off to take the bikes to Fred straight away only to find that he was out when we arrived, so we came back again and set about lunch and similar such. We were acutely aware that we were going to have a day with no transport, so decided that we needed to find some form of entertainment. The options boiled down to 4x4 driving around the desert trails (the car had to have air con' or we weren't playing), and going white water rafting on the Colorado river. After some phone calls, we were set for an early morning start and a day getting wet...

Downtown Moab, just before we took the bikes to Fred

We delivered our bikes to Fred later that evening and were amazed to find that he had travelled to the UK and knew some of our highly localised climbing haunts in North Wales. We sat drinking Arrowhead Spring Water long after the sun had gone down discussing the merits of Welsh climbing huts and looking at faded photos of Chester and the summit of Snowdon. The bikes were in good hands and it was time for us to take a break...

Thursday 3rd July - Moab Utah Previous Top End Next