Friday, July 8, 2016

Bryce Canyon and nearby

We woke, excited to explore.  I snapped a couple photos of our cooking set up... There was a very bold robin that would take tortillas right out of the bowl or your hand.  And, we noticed we'd had a little rodent visitor in the night.  

We went across the street to talk to the ORV experts.  They gave us a map, and off we went.  After a while, we realized that our map did not have a scale. In my mind, since Bryce Canyon was so close, the ridge on the map was going to be about 10 miles away.  We rode and rode, then we came back to the highway, rode up a little more, and found more trails.  We were in the Pansagunt Rim Pines Loop trail system.

We super enjoyed watching the little ground hogs popping their heads out!  

Things were starting to get prettier.  When we had choices about which way to go, I'd just say "up."  

The picture of the reservoir does not do it justice.  It was gorgeous.

I tried to remember grabbing photos of signs and markers so we could tell people where we'd been.  At this point, I believe we went toward Proctor Canyon/Badger Creek.

Lots of easy gravel.... We were still looking for the more challenging trails.  We pulled off for granola bars... Luckily we had food and water, even though I thought this would be a ten mile ride, because we were about 25 miles in at this point.

We set off, and were treated to the ever climbing roads.  Mostly easy service roads, but some trails as well.  We thought we were on our way to the top... beautiful view, lovely trail, when suddenly, the road ended.  

Snazzy little rock loop around the tree.

I loved the contrast of the green trees and the red mountains.

This was a super fun corner to come down... And next, we were treated to a magnificent view!

I was in the back, enjoying stopping and getting photos.

See the shadows under the trees below?  As the trail turned, the shadows covered more of the road... Many of the trees had windfall under them.  After this fun corner and fabulous view, I had my sights set on catching up with Nathan. 

A bit down the road from the above photo, there was a great left hand corner.  I was looking right through it, riding in the shade of some trees, when suddenly, I felt my bike hit something, had time to think uh oh, and was on the ground!  Startled, I extricated myself from my bike, and looked around.  Big old windfall that didn't stand out from the shadows while I was looking through my next corner.  

Damage report... hmmm... well, my entire right side hurt, except my elbow and knee (yay for D3O armor.)  The bike looked ok, but I wasn't crazy about the idea of lifting it while I was still assessing my body for damage.  I tried honking the horn a few times.  No response from the speedy Nathan.  I moved my arms and legs some, and decided I was ok.  I picked the bike up, looked it over, and decided it was rideable. And off I went.  

When I caught up with Nathan, he straightened my forks.  He asked if I was ok. I asked how much a broken bone would hurt; he said it would be unimaginable pain, so I decided I was fine.  He thought it would be prudent to turn back, and I thought we were this far already, may as well keep heading to the top!

We ran into some forest service guys, and confirmed that we were more or less on the right trail.  They pulled out their official map, and I decided that would be a good map to have next time we did an adventure.  We confirmed our location and route, and continued on.  There are a lot more photos... It definitely got even more beautiful, but I admit, I slowed down a bit after my crash.

One part of Utah I didn't know about but fell in love with was the many groves of aspen trees.  They were in different states of bloom (or not) based on the elevation we were at.  Aspens all grow from a single seedling.  They benefit from forest fire and clear cutting, as they cannot grow in shade.  

We were on our way back. One photo I wish I had gotten was the creek that ran along the road, into this reservoir.  There was deep grasses, a little house, and a man fishing... It looked like a picture from a story book.  I was so immersed in the moment, I didn't stop to pull out my camera.

I did stop here, however, to take one last photo of the beautiful reservoir, before we headed back to Bryce.  100 off road miles so far.  No lunch (didn't pack it for our 10 mile ride) so we were HUNGRY!!!

Grabbed some photos of our super dirty dirt bikes.

I was so ready to go to Bryce Canyon, and Nathan may have thought I was a little nuts. After all, Bryce Canyon was the place that inspired this trip for me.  Nathan pointed out that we had already had a big riding day. We compromised; we went back, and he took a little nap, then we headed to the official Bryce Canyon National Park.

Nothing like a National Park Sign to bring out a little of Nathan's goofiness.

Bryce was different from Zion in that you had to get off the bike/ out of your vehicle to see the canyons.  The road through is actually pretty uninspiring if you have been to the forest before.... It was kind of a scraggly forest.

But the Canyons...

And the arches....

Were incredible.  As we reached the edge of the park, my weariness had caught up with me finally.  We turned around, and were chatting on the intercoms.

Kris "Oh look, Fairyland Canyon. I can't believe I'm riding past that."
Nathan "We should stop." 
Kris "But we're tired."
Nathan "We should still stop."  

Well, Kris doesn't need much arm twisting to see red rock formations, even in states of extreme exhaustion.  So we parked.

New Conversation:
Kris "Wow, look at that trail.  That's amazing."
Nathan "We should hike a bit."
Kris "But we're tired."
Nathan "We should do it anyway."

The trail was on the ridge between two Canyons, full of rock formations.

Setting up the timer on the camera on a hill of loose rocks and running to Nathan's side was a challenge... I tend to forget I am injured until it slows me down.
Nathan "Do you want me to do that?"
Kris "No, I got it."

Kris (goes back to check the photo) "ok.  Maybe you should do it."  

Check out the trail!  Isn't it amazing?  We kept saying "we'll just go to that next high point" and then there would be another one in the distance.

He looks very daring in these photos :) 

I was clearly tired... I took a "boob shot" of the rocks.  You can't unsee that, now can you.

We headed back to camp.  We had come up with a way to choose our dinners (since we had 17 varieties for the trip.)  Reach in the bag, and eat what you pull, unless it's a breakfast.  Tonight was Chicken and Mashed Potatoes.  

We open the bag, and seeing freeze dried chicken tickled me enough to take a picture.  Oh, and you can see my useless phone in the background as well. 

Hey, our rodent was back!  Left a couple of gifts again. Oh, the joys of camping.  

If you are wondering, the Chicken and Mashed Potatoes were some of my favorite camping foods.  Full Belly, Full Day, Good Night.  Tomorrow, the adventure moves east!

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