Still feeling a bit groggy from the great american holiday of overeating, Rachel, Jordan and I headed out early last Friday morning for a long weekend in the desert. After a pit stop for supplies in Grand Junction, we were happily eating lunch under the warm desert sun by 12:30.
After lunch we checked out the Klondike Bluffs trail network on our bikes. Hoping to grab a campsite before the hordes arrived, we were a bit limited on time, but we still managed to ride Dino-Flow, EKG, Baby Steps North, and Megasteps. Unfortunately, as we did not ride the Klondike Bluffs jeep road we missed the dinosaur tracks imprinted in the rock along the road. Next time, I'd like to check those out. Overall, Klondike Bluffs is a far cry from some of our favorite rides in Colorado where continuous, long climbs are followed by screaming descents. The elevation change at Klondike Bluffs is minimal, making it a great place to go if you are not into suffering through long climbs. At the same time, the terrain is just technical enough so that anyone can have fun without having to walk their bike much. What I really like about Klondike Bluffs is the great views of the La Sals which rise out of the desert to the southeast. After riding both, I'd recommend the Magnificent 7 trails, which we rode back in October over the Bluffs - they provide similar technicality with more flow and even better views.
Rachel on EKG:
One of the more technical sections of Klondike Bluffs:
With a little light left, we hurried down to Moab, finding a great campspot at Williams Bottom. I'd highly recommend this campsite for winter camping - located along the river it faces southeast, providing awesome warm early morning light.
Saturday morning we spent the day checking out Canyonland's Island in the Sky. A day, let alone a lifetime, isn't enough time to see the incredible detail, beauty, and variety of Canyonlands, but we packed in many short hikes to see as many places as possible. Some of our favorites are below.
White Rime Overlook:
All the sites we visited were amazing and easily accessed; I'd recommend all of them. I can't wait to get back and spend more time in Island in the Sky!
The next day we were up and at em early with plans to check out Arches National Park and then squeeze in a ride. With only a few hours to work with we saw only a few of Arches' plethora of sites. Arches is a juxtaposition of scales: Each arch is filled with infinite fingerprint sized detail, yet you have to crane your head back to see the top of the towering arch, and on top of that, the arch is dwarfed by the La Sal mountains rising out of the desert.
After the sprint through Arches, we piled in the car and headed to one of our favorite trail networks: Fruita's Kokopelli Loops at Loma. I'd easily rate Loma as one of my top 5 rides: its technical, exposed, fast, and downright beautiful. There are few things like riding a bike on the edge of a 400 foot cliff that overlooking the Colorado River. I've done a writeup of this ride before, so I'll just share a couple pictures of how amazing winter in the desert is: