Je bekijkt de reis...
16 november 2016
I was doubting if we would ever leave Utah, but it happened. We found the state absolutely amazing, and hope to see much more of it in the future.
Part of Utah is on the Colorado Plateau. We started by biking up it, quite a lot of work. In South-West Utah, the plateau is a gigantic staircase. So, once up the highest steps, you can only go down… Well, there always seems to be ups, which sounds positive, unless your biking with a lot of luggage... Anyway, the different steps are different types of rocks in different colors that are layered and slowly erode. We started in Cedar Breaks and Bryce Canyon, where you have red colored hoodoos, pillars that have (or had) a strong type of rock on top (the hat), around and under which the softer rock layers are and have been eroding. In Bryce they made hiking trails through these pillars, so you can immerse in this super strange landscape.
To get down another step on the stairs we could have taken the most obvious road, be we found an off-road route that looked to be more direct and a lot quieter. It was beautiful indeed, we were all alone in a wonderful valley (though it did include sneaking out the national park on some service road that felt a little illegal and included opening a fence). Getting off the staircase step was quite steep and we had to hike/drag most of it on a road that was meant for hikers, bikers and horses, but not really maintained too well after it was designed in the 80s. Once down after a 2 day struggle that was not good for our daily average distance, we found the other roads on the map following the steep part just to be cow trails and more dragging commenced. The reason for that became obvious when we hit a big fence with lots of signs to explain that we should not go any further because someone started mining coal there 8 years ago. We were not planning on reversing our route (and we had ran out of water at this point), so we followed the fence around it and ran into cowboys who were taking their cows to the winter grounds on the Northern rim of the Grand Canyon (or as they say, the Big Ditch). We told them about some cows we saw earlier and they invited us to help catch them and bring them back to their ranch. So, with Sentinel under me instead of my usual aluminum companion, I had a great and easy time riding back through the land we struggled on before, catching some cows in a beautiful sunset. They also told us how we could get back into civilization, which was great.
We arrived at Zion at some point, another step down on the staircase. This National park has mainly white rocks. It's a climbers paradise which made it seem a little wasteful to not do anything with a rope. So we did, we used one to go canyoneering for a day, which was fun and amazing. This area is full of slot canyons. Super beautiful to be in, but if it rains 40 km further upstream (which can happen without you realizing), all the water arrives in the slot canyon at once, and you get a flush flood, which is not good if you are in that canyon.
From Zion we biked in the direction of Las Vegas, into the desert (more about desert biking in the next story). We exited Utah close to the lowest point of Utah, which was still over 2000 feet. This was one of the most amazing rides so far. The ride up was not that special, we rode up a mountain for a couple of hours, through canyons, near rocks, not very amazing views, even some needles and broken bottles on the ground as we drove through a reserve, sweating like we were trying to cause a flush flood ourselves. At around 3 pm we got at the highest point and our view opened super wide, we could look into Arizona and Nevada, mountain ranges at the horizon and desert around us. We glided down through a Joshua tree forest for about 20 km before we had to do another paddle stroke, truly amazing. The Joshua tree forests are the best for big view enthusiasts like myself, because these trees are so far apart and don’t branch out too much, so that you still can see the horizon everywhere.
The bike needed some new parts, which we found in St. George. For example, the front rack broke somewhere in Montana. At the time I got Woody, a certified airplane welder, to weld it back together, but it broke again some days later in even more pieces, so that when Leigh arrived Duc tape was holding it together at 5 different spots. And somehow, he didn’t think that was acceptable..
So in short, we are still having a great time exploring this part of the world. We meet lots of friendly people and get in all kind of little adventures. We enjoy being in the parks, because everything is very organized. In both Bryce and Zion there were buses, so we didn’t have to bike and could hike from point A to B without having to hitchhike (though they do it to reduce traffic in the park I think). In Zion we realized that while we really enjoyed having a coffee shop nearby with some internet and sat there most evenings, most other people on our campground where building fires at night and looking at the stars. I guess we have so many nights like that that having access to enmities is for us a way to catch up on life. But we enjoy the unknown of being on the way and figuring out where to go, where to sleep, and how to get enough water and food. And, I must admit, not being too much aware of the news is quite relaxing.
Foto's bij verslag (7)
16 november 2016 22:28 | Door: sijmentje
wow wat een mooi verhaal en erg mooie foto s ook als je je bedenkt dat de werkelijkheid dan nog veel mooier is bedankt voor het meereizen.
18 november 2016 03:36 | Door: Tobias
Geweldig om je verhalen weer te lezen! Het avond uur is echt wat voor jou en het landschap klinkt super. Veel plezier met het vervoer!