Monday, May 14, 2007

Utah Picture Book

Have returned home after a great vacation in Utah. Here's an overview of the highlights with many great pictures.

Friday, May 4th: Run 7 miles, Hike 5 miles
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Headed south from Salt Lake a little later than planned but once we were on our way our first stop was Diamond Fork Hot Springs:
it

Jill hiking up to the hot springs. So green, and no snow. clearly not in Alaska anymore.

Jen and Mike soaking in the hot spring

Later that night we met up in Green River with Dave Nice who had come out from Denver, as well as several old friends from Utah. In all our group was up to 9. We opted for a couple motel rooms because the weather was cool and damp, but for some reason I just couldn't sleep. Think I got about 3 hours of sleep that night. I guess I was just too excited to be on vacation.

Saturday, May 5th: Mt. Bike 14 miles

The plan was to hike a slot canyon this day but the forecast was way too sketchy for that. Instead we headed down toward Moab and Jill, Bryan, Dave, and I got in a nice mellow ride on the Sovereign Trail. It was really strange at first to be riding on rock and dirt again. It took me a little while to adjust to the amount of traction you can get on Utah slickrock, but once I regained my confidence in this I felt like I never missed a beat from all of the riding of this type that I used to do when I lived in Utah:

Dave and his rigid fixie setup. Amazing watching the ease with which he rides very technical terrain on this bike.

It wasn't the greatest weather ever but the rain held off and it was perfect for biking

Dave negotiates one of many short drops on the Sovereign Singletrack Trail

Later that night the temperature dropped down near freezing. Here's Dave and Jill getting a fire going that kept us warm in the evening:

Sunday, May 6th: Mt. Bike 104 miles

On Sunday, Jill, Dave, Bryan, and I got up before sunrise to meet up with Pete Basinger at the White Rim trailhead. Just as planned Pete was more or less ready to ride when we met him and we were off by 6:15. Bryan and Jill only rode the first 10 miles (bryan was coming off sickness and Jill's knee is still too sore to think about doing a 100 mile ride) then Pete, Dave, and I continued on along one of the most scenic routes you could ever ride:

Dave (above) and Pete (below) loosening up (or waking up) on the short paved stretch that begins the White Rim ride.


Dropping down off of the mesa and onto the White Rim.

Enjoying one of many short breaks along the ride

Again, perfect weather for riding: overcast and in the upper 50's.

These pictures don't come close to capturing the real beauty

Pete making his way up Murphy's Hogback

More great scenery

This ride turned out to be a lot easier for me than I expected. I had never rode more than 50 miles on a mountain bike in one day so I really didn't know how I would handle going over 100. We really took our time though and it was so enjoyable just to be out there in the desert that I never even felt like I pushed myself too much at all. It was great to ride with such experienced endurance riders as Dave and Pete. We had some great conversations and I probably learned more tidbits about endurance cycling in 13 hours than I had learned in my entire life up to that point. Thanks guys. Hope to ride with you again soon.

Monday-Wednesday, May 7-9: Backpack/Hike 23 miles

Sunday night Pete and Dave made their way back to Colorado and I hooked back up with Jill, Jen, Mike, Monika, Paul, and Chris and we headed south to Natural Bridges National Monument to begin a 3 day backpacking trip in White Canyon. We met up with Anna, Nate, Dane, and Jess Monday morning and hiked down canyon for 3 days:

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Mike, Jen, and Paul

Mike's dog Keira enjoying a swim. I'm not much of a dog person but Keira was the most mellow dog I have ever been around. Most of the time I didn't even know she was there. That's my kind of dog.

Lots of great swimming holes.

Lots of vegetation for the desert

Yes, these really are bear tracks! I've never seen bear tracks in the Utah desert. These were very fresh too.

Jill taking a dip

Monika checking out a side canyon

Jill, Paul, Monika, and Mike

Log left behind after a flood

Most of the group taking a little break

Cactus in full bloom


Making our way slowly down canyon

Anna in Fry Canyon Narrows

Fry Canyon
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This was a pretty mellow 3 days but perhaps not as much so as I had expected. There was a good amount of scrambling up and over boulders and with a little side hiking and some extra mileage when we got a bit "lost" the last day it ended up being a decent 3 days of exercise. This portion of my trip had nothing to do with getting exercise though. It was all about being out in the desert with great friends. I couldn't imagine a group of people that I would rather spend time out in the wilderness with. You guys rock. Thanks for the good times. Can't wait to see you all again someday soon.

Thursday and Friday, May 10+11: Raft ~20 miles

We headed back up to Moab to start a Westwater Canyon rafting trip on Thursday morning. Jill, Anna, and Nate took off and our friend Leigh drove down from Salt Lake to meet the rest of us for 2 days of warm sun, some exciting whitewater, and lots of partying:
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Dane, Jess, Mike, Chris, Leigh, and Jen getting ready for dinner on the river

Monika and Leigh having a little too much fun?

River camp just after sunrise

Paul, Jess, Dane, and Monika relaxing just after running the rapids

Leigh, Mike, Chris, and Jen

Leigh, Chris, Mike, Jen, Paul, and Monika after some beer, wine, and whiskey
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Saturday, May 12: Mt. Bike 9 miles
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Got in an hour long ride on the Sovereign trail Saturday morning before heading back up to Salt Lake for a flight on Sunday morning.

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Sunday, May 13th: Run 11 miles

Nice 90 minute trail run before hopping on the plane back to Juneau


25 comments:

bluecolnago said...

wow! looks like you guys had a great time!

Mallie said...

Sounds like you had a fantastic trip. Can't wait to hear how you dive into training for that 24 Hour.

WynnMan said...

Geoff! these are some awesome pictures. What a great adventure. If only more people would wake up and smell the coffee and stop living such robotic lifestyles they would see and experience the things we do.

I love the images of the white rim, canyon and swimming holes. Where in Utah is that located and does it get snow all year round there or is it somewhat temperate like Flagstaff?

Looks like you got in some great training in all different forms.
WynnMan

Jonah said...

Beautiful trip. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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