Moab Trip 2008

By Mark McEachran at 10:28 am on Friday, June 20, 2008

Porcupine Pine Rim Viewpoint

Four years have passed since we all were here.  It seems that Moab changed a bit more than we did.

We arrived in Moab on Sunday and went almost immediately to our old camp site.  Unfortunately a fire within the last four years kinda decimated all the folliage, leaving the camp site very exposed and quite unappealing.

The campsite at Goose Island, burned.

These guys may look like a new alternative band, but they’re really just sad campers.  We asked the camp host about the fire, he was pretty stoned and didn’t yield any useful information except to say that it was from natural causes.

We ended up choosing a site nearby which had some good coverage and a lot of company from the camp hosts mostly homeless friends.  They did enjoy the whiskey and cigars and offered us as much firewood as we wanted.  Sleep was at a premium that night and I awoke in less that stellar shape.Who left the blinds open?

Coffee was the first order of business, followed by a bagel and some more coffee.

Top Of The World

We rented a Jeep on Monday and hit the trails ever so gently.  We were heading out on a trail called Top Of The World which by most accounts was too rough for Adam’s 4Runner.

Jeep on Top

The Jeep and Falke’s motorcycle fared pretty well on the trail.  At the end of the trail are great views and lots of bugs.  Day 1 was complete, injury count 0!  Good start to our trip!

The Whole Enchilada

After returning the Jeep we checked into our beloved Super 8.  The plan was to hit a 30 mile trail on our bicycles on Tuesday and we needed to store our gear at the hotel.  Our ride would start at Burro Pass, right about 10,500 feet up.

Adam and Falke at the fork in the road.

Climbing up to the pass was not easy.  It was uphill terrain and very tough on my lungs and heart.  I had to stop several times to catch my breath and let my heart slow down.

Once on top we all thought it was going to be a nice ride through the forest until we got to the next segment of our ride.  Unfortunately we were met with a trail half covered with remnants of winter.

At first it was fun to ride a bit and then hit the snow bank at full speed, letting our bikes crunch into the snow before coming to a standstill, upright as if we were riding still.  This got old and the snow exacerbated the fatigue that already plagued us.  Well, Falke was okay.  I was doggin’ it.  Adam was still mostly okay.

By the end of Burro Pass I had a pounding headache.  We spent four hours going four miles, we had 26 miles to go and not all of them were pretty.Hazard Trail

But some of them were pretty.  This is Hazard Trail.  It’s a moderate climb up at first and then a long desent down to La Sal Loop Road where we took Kokopelli to continue the ride.  Before beginning that next segment we reloaded on water and pain pills from some locals in a blue Honda Fit.  They passed us on the trail and were nice enough to wait at the bottom to deliver much needed supplies.

It was at this point that Adam and I decided to cut our trail riding short after the next segment.  We rode down Kokopelli Trail, which was a wide, truck rutted trail with some artificial ramps and nice views.

We reached the bottom of the trail and started down Sand Flats Road, with my headache diminishing I thought we’d be okay.  But Adam had started to show signs he was not doing well with the heat.  Although the road was mostly downhill it had already been too much for him and we had to stop and wait for some assistance from a passerby.

Suddenly Wayne came by on his motorcycle and we procured Adam a ride to the facilities at Slick Rock.  We didn’t know Wayne but we figured if he decided to steal Adam at least we’d have a spare bicycle on hand.  Long story short (yeah, I’m actually saying that now after telling you a long story) we managed to get everyone back to the hotel and cooled off.  Later Falke and Adam went back up to Burro Pass to retrieve the 4Runner while I fell asleep at the hotel.  Day 2, injuries 0.5.

White Rim

White Rim is a 100 mile off-road vehicle trail that navigates around the Colorado and Green Rivers in the Canyonlands area.  Apparently you can bike this trail if you have a support vehicle and three or four days.  We used motorized vehicles and managed to do it in two days.

White Rim

See how the background in this photo isn’t clear?  That’s because it’s really, really far away.  One of the toughest things about taking pictures in this area is capturing the sense of scale.  Everything here is really massive.  The above photo was taken near our campsite.

Before we set up camp we took a lot of photos and videos.  Our subjects included: canyons, Falkes, Adams, hummingbirds, ants, a lizard, Mark and a blackbird who loved apples.

The next day we played around on some rocks.  That’s a major passtime for residents of Moab.Everything is large

Days 3 and 4 yeilded some injuries to Falke.  He managed to crash his bike into the soft sand, tearing off his windshield and applying some nice road rash to the right side of his body.  Leslie’s first aid kit proved its worth in cleaning him up.  Day 4, injuries 1.5.

Porcupine Rim

My nemesis, my beloved.  I have never enjoyed a trail so much as this one.  Four years ago, the first time I rode it, I hurt myself.  I flipped my bicycle and strained my arm from my finger tips to the middle of my back.

It’s a 14 mile trail if you cut out a little chunk of uphill stuff at the beginning.  We learned this the last time we were up here.  As I rode I kept an eye out for the place where I hurt my arm the last time.  After several misleading similar spot I ended up finding the place.  At that point I slowed to a stop and fell over scraping up my other arm on the rocks.  From hell’s heart I stab at thee!

The injury was minor and we all carried on without too much pain from the trail beyond.  Toward the end of the trail you get into the area that looks more dangerious on film.

Scary cliff on the porcupine rim trail

So at the end of Day 5 I’ll give our injury total 2.0.  So ultimately that’s 1 injury every 2.5 days.  That’s not too bad.  No broken bones and Falke managed to not run over himself this time.

Our last night in Moab was spent in the Arches taking some night photos.  Adam was employing an old technique called light painting to bring out the arches in the stars.  He’ll probably have the photos up on his website.  And there are more photos here:

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