Thursday, May 31, 2012

Memorial Day Moab Adventures

I spent Memorial Day weekend adventuring in Moab with friends and friends of friends. The weekend started kind of rough, as when we arrived early Saturday we were greeted by a massive windstorm, 40 MPH plus winds pelting us with sand, filling our tents, our eyes and ears... made for a fairly miserable afternoon climbing around on the nearby cliffs. But by night time the winds calmed down, ushering in beautiful weather for the rest of the holiday weekend.
The gang... ready to roll!

Mountain biking was on the weekend adventure. I have not done a ton of mountain biking. My bike is a 16 year old hardtail, bought when my kids were young so I could ride trails with my son. We did a few such rides with the kids but it has mostly been in recent years that my bike has been getting used as it should, mostly on moderate single track trails here in the Wasatch. This weekend was first attempt at Moab style mountain biking.

Gemini Bridges


The plan was to bike the Gemini Bridges trail, a 16 mile ride starting a short distance from our campground. That "short distance" proved not too short, it ended up being a bonus 4.6 miles, all up hill, to get the Gemini Bridges road. The trip to the bridges was fairly easy, downhill on a jeep road. Then the fun began, we did a few sections of the Magnificent 7 single track trail. This is were the real challenge started for me. I've never ridden slickrock, so I had no idea what obstacles where ride-able, and which would require a dismount. After a bit of riding I did start to get the feel for what I could do, and what the bike could tackle. I surprised myself by going up over rocks I never thought I could clear, and dropping over ledges and stairsteps. I have to say mountain biking the rocky single track had to be the most mentally exhausting sport I've ever done, I really had to concentrate on the rugged terrain, as I really didn't want to crash on the rocks.

Arths Corner Trail - follow the yellow slash trail!

After about 4 miles of the challenging for me slickrock single track, and a short slog through deep sand, we ended up back on the road, where toward the end we got challenged by a long steep upgrade, one where at every turn in the road you joyfully think "this must be it", only to find yet more hill ahead. I didn't make it quite to the top, at some point I had to do a little "hike-a-bike". After reaching the top, the trip down to the main road where our shuttle awaited proved to be equally challenging. It was steep and rocky enough that it required pretty constant braking and attention to rocks and gravel, so even though it seemed like it should be a coast, it was really work too.
It was quite a day for me. 20 challenging miles on the bike, amazing dessert scenery, and my first ever slickrock biking experience. I loved it ... there will be more!

Yeah, this was a killer hill, both up, and down!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The worlds longest art gallery

Last weekend I had a great adventure; a camping trip to Nine Mile Canyon, the worlds longest art gallery, featuring the amazing rock art work of the Fremont Indians. Having driven by a zillion times on trips to Moab, this canyon has been on my hit list forever, so I was thrilled to finally get there. I was not disappointed! A little bit of looking found petroglyphs everywhere; along the road, high on cliffs back in the canyons. It was fun to speculate about what they meant and what life was like there a thousand years ago. Since it's the worlds longest art gallery, this may be my longest post, because I couldn't pick just a few petroglyph pictures to share so here are most of them!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Spring Wild Flowers, Utah Style

I spent the weekend camping in the central Utah desert and found these lovely spring wild flowers! Thought I'd share a little color to brighten your Monday!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ticket to Paradise

Did a little adventuring in Cache Valley over the weekend. We'd hoped to drive from Cache valley over the dirt roads down into Ogden Valley, but alas, we found the winter gate still closed. We did get to take in some beautiful country side, find Porcupine Reservoir, meet a cow a cow on the road, and even, believe it or not, find Paradise. A lovely day!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Not too bugged!

One thing Antelope Island has is bugs. The brine flies along the lake shore can be found in big swarms, and at the right time of year the mosquitoes, biting flies and no-see-ums can be really obnoxious. Sunday was lovely day cool and breezy and we encountered none of the evil bugs. We did see lots of these funky little butterfly-ish things, as well as some big bumble bees enjoying the Indian Paintbrush. Clearly I need to do a little research as I do not know what the former really is. I did find some cool pages with links pictures of bugs and butterflies of Utah. When I have some time I will have to search for my mystery insect.

Edited to add... I love my world. It is so cool that when I want to know something I always have a great source.. the "beady people", my fellow beadmaking friends that I have 'met' through the lampworking forum. I 'know' beady people from all over the world with all sorts of different backgrounds, they truly are a great resource. This time I have to thank Ricky, AKA "bugnerd", lampworker in Arkansas, who is also an entomologist. I sent him a picture and he responded that my mystery bug was indeed a butterfly, a skipper butterfly. Problem is there are more than 50 images to click through to further identify my little flier. Enter comments from my friend Rose, a "beady" friend from Ohio, that I've been lucky enough to meet several times in real life. She sent me to a cool link, Bug Guide where you can actually upload a picture and ask for help identifying a bug! What a perfect resource for a nerd like me. I'm now registered and submitted, we'll see if I get a response. Thanks so much Ricky and Rose!