It has been eight years since I visited Moab. Not that I haven’t tried, but things always came up that prevented the trips that I conjured in my mind. This year, it was get to Moab or burst. I finally managed to get a group of friends together and we went out to explore the new trails, the amazing vibe and other worldly desert. If you have never been to this tiny town in Utah, put it on your bucket list. Hiking, biking, motor sports, rafting, scenery… there is something for everyone here. As for my crew, we were there to ride bikes of the mountain variety.
This sign was a two minute walk from the campground. Slickrock is on of the most unique places to ride in the world, and for four fantastic days it was in our front yard.
Day one: Amasa Back
Capt. Ahab is one of the newer single tracks to open up in Moab. It was highly recommended by the shop where we booked our shuttle for the next day. I had ridden Amasa Back the last time I was in town, and liked it even though it was mostly a jeep road. The single track miles are beautifully crafted. Hug a trail builder today!
Taking a break in Moab is dangerous for bikes. Gusts of wind can knock down a bike balanced on rocks. This is the best way to leave your bike when you are not on it: drive train up with tires, pedal and handlebars touching the ground. This saves you from sand saturated shifting and scratched shocks.
Every where you take the time to stop is surrounded by a view that your camera cannot quite capture.
The crazy patterns on the rock faces indicate that this desert was once a sea bed.
Following the line is a bit different in these parts. You are somewhat freed to try different things. Beware however, as inattentiveness can kill in the form of sharp drop offs.
I love how none of the lines are parallel. Moab has a crazy way of affecting how you perceive time. Erosion and upheavals from eons ago present themselves at every turn.
An active imagination finds faces, shapes and animals all over.
Of course with a name like Ahab, you have to keep your eyes peeled for the great whale. Fortunately she remained out of harpoon range.
A nice sized ride, ridden as a warm up as my companions were from sea level. What it lacks in long milage and huge ascents is made up for by general steepness and technical lines that beg to be tried until completed.
Day Two: Most of the Whole Enchilada
This is the shuttle ride to do. We used Coyote tours, which departs from the Chili Pepper bike shop in Utah. Great people in the shop that are willing to go the extra mile to get you on an enjoyable ride. So many shops can get burned out on tourist’s bike needs. These guys know you are on vacation and that their knowledge and time are valuable, and want to share it with you.
The road to Burro Pass was under construction, so we rolled with the punches and took the shuttle to Hazard County. I could see these mountains from the campsite and knowing that we were going to ride here made me giddy.
Desert one minute, aspens the next. I love riding trails covered in golden leaves.
Castle Valley in the distance. Nice flowy, bermed trails up in the high country.
Scrub oak added a little more orange to the scenery.
Rock and roll is here to stay.
Further down the trail, the bermed dirt is replaced by sand and rock.
One of the more popular overlooks from the Porcupine Rim trail.
Yee Haw! Everyone wants to be a Duke of Hazard.
Day 3: Slickrock
Oh Slickrock. When wet, this trail is almost impassable as the rock offers no purchase. When dry, the name is a misnomer. One is always learning the limits of what is able to be ridden. Short, ridiculously steep climbs abound. Dig deep and keep pedaling and you can top out almost everything. The other thing about Slickrock: it is internationally known. People come from around the world to do this loop, and you are talking to Belgians one moment, taking pictures of Germans the next and smiling with French-Pacifac Islanders at the top of the ridge.
The white dots are the real yellow brick road.
Being a raven in Moab must be amazing. These two were playing in the updrafts.
Moisture is rare here, so seeing all of the temporary ponds is a treat. Seeing tadpoles in them was even cooler, knowing that when they become toads that they will have to dig deep to survive until the next rainy season.
Life is filled with ups and downs.
Post ride refreshments at the Moab Brewery.
The last sunset was spectacular.
The final campfire before leaving was bittersweet. Good friends, good times. I wish both to you!
I had a contest on the Cruiser Boutique Facebook page to see who could guess closest to my total mileage. Adding up the rides above takes us to 44.3. I also rode the practice loop on Slickrock in each direction, and a mile long spin to the ranger office, for an additional 7. Total milage for the week comes to 51.3. I was hoping for a few more, but what was lacked in distance was made up for in quality. Rob Landauer, come collect your prize!