We've been getting a lot of emails asking how the trails are holding up to the relentless round of storms rolling through. If the camp was this weekend we'd be in trouble - next weekend it would likely be good to go based on the 7 day forecast (sunny and 50's).
Yesterday we even ran into muck on Prospector trail (just north of Church Rocks). That opened the door for riding the Bracken's loop, a trail that I never considered would be rideable. OK it wasn't for the most part, but lots of it was frozen sand full of deep horse prints. Fun in a bizarre way...and killer scenery.
The bottom line is we just don't know what conditions will be like in a month. They can improve - or deteriorate - quickly around here. A week of good weather and everything under 4k' will likely be good to go. We will call it the week before the camp. What we really don't want is to invite y'all here from all over the country and then ask you not to ride vulnerable trails when you get here.
Rant: The trails are kinda rideable when they are wet with a lot of slipping around and churning up the clay and dirt. This kind of riding is fun once in a while but trashes the trail, sometimes beyond repair. It is super tiresome to hear out of town folks say "I drove 400 miles to be here so I was gonna ride..." Then they go home with a mucky bike and we are left with crappy trails. That is so common. We do stay off the trails when they are mucky. We are riding the road today.
CL v1.0 vets will recall the windy Blakes climb of day 2. I'd estimate 2+ feet of snow up there right now. (!) We won't be riding Blakes, or Jem, or Gooseberry - those areas all got pretty hammered. Still a lot of options if the weather cooperates. Stay tuned.
3 GDR finishers (1 former record holder, one last year), 2 Alaskan smitten enduros, 1 stand-up comedian, lots of big wheels with big travel.
The riding was fun, the weather to die for.
But we didn't.
Then it was dinnertime. After the initial food bonk wore off the stories began to roll. MC, while doing his best to recruit LW and DH for some Alaskan adventure once again solidified our outright horror at the thought of doing the stuff he goes up there for.
But it was educational. There is a difference between -40F and -47F. At -50F you can toss a pan of boiling water straight up in the air and be pelted with falling ice cubes. Bicycle tubes blow their seams at somewhere around -55F and bring on 40 mile forced marches (with double flats) for 17 hour nights (and it is still -55F to -65F OMG).
Twinkling gleam in the eye notwithstanding, MC needs to work on his recruiting line a bit more.
Lime Kiln is a place in the Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument that has been calling for a while. The Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument is 30 miles south of St George and covers over a million acres. It is huge and remote. It has no food, supplies, camping, lodging, first aid etc. Nearest is St George. A bit far out there to venture solo but manageable duo these days.
The flowers in the desert are off the charts and this route went through the heart of them for 130 miles. End of the day we tallied about 16k feet of climbing - boy that turned out to be a big one.
It was a spur of the moment trip when we passed a poster ad on the road on the way home from a Smith Mesa/Jem Trail lap that said Casablanca Casino Mesquite $29.99 for room and buffet. Now that is a deal and to make it more of a deal we figured riding our bikes all the way there would maximize the buffet trip...Sleep then ride home. Luxury bike overnighting.
The route took us out of St George, up Lowe Mountain and to the Cedar Pockets overlook.
Big ol' road grader.
Then over towards Mt Bangs. Instead of the fast route down Elbow Canyon to Mesquite we continued on down Hatchet Valley. About here was new territory for us both.
Tom and Cull Canyon - love those crazy names.
Soft and spiky flora
The pointy mountain in the distance is Mount Bangs. We came over the saddle on the right a few hours back. These rocks were awsome. Called Red Pockets.
Here is just above Mud Crossing. We turned up and West towards Lime Kiln Canyon and Mesquite. Down and East towards Hidden Rim in the distance looked uber attractive - must go back...must go further...what is around the next corner???
Top of Lime Kiln Canyon looking East. Hazy day. Windy windy too. Headwind for about 80 miles today.
Wonder why it is called Lime Kiln Canyon?
A spare dress is easy to carry in a Camelbak but the Casino buffet saw 2 pairs of dusty cycling shoes. LW dazzled in her dress while DH repelled in his stinky jersey. Yin and Yang.