|Thomas with Delicate Arch|
Now its almost unimaginable to think that just down the road from our snowy enclave in the mountains that you can find yourself in 30 degrees C weather, melting in the desert. But, that’s where we were headed, to Moab,Utah and some of the finest mountain biking on offer and with some crazy rocks too.
We got into town after a early start and set up camp to head off immediately into Arches National Park. With the sunshine on our necks and the unusual feeling of warm air surrounding us, we headed on the Delicate Arch walk. Shortly into the walk I myself found some wild source of energy from within. I was a man possessed. I was just running, jumping, climbing and exploring with such a spring in my step and a twinkle in my eye. I think I was just enchanted by the desert, and man was it fun. We posed with Delicate Arch and I ventured across a steep and narrow crossing to where no one else had ventured. Amy decided to follow, for some reason, and for a quick moment really found herself in a pickle of a situation. Amy sliding 30m down a rock face would have put a bit of a damper on the trip, but it didn’t quite come to that. A relaxing night cooking sausages on the camp fire, of course accompanied by a refreshing beverage or two.
Maybe the most famous mountain bike ride in North America, running from high in the mountains right back down into town in Moab is The Whole Enchilada. It’s a 20 mile descent across the most amazing red rocked desert. It starts so high in fact it would have been many more months till the snow cleared on the top section and it dried out, so we were only able to ride half of the Whole Enchilada. To make up for the half we were missing out on and to get the most of of the riding experience, to really earn it, we cycled the whole route of the Porcupine Rim from town and back. Featuring a 20km 3 hour uphill ascent followed but the remaining 3 hour descent and hour lap back into town. It was a fair journey and it was definitely me and John's most epic adventure together.
It was simply just a blast for the entire ride. Not at all discounting the arduous ride uphill, even that was a scenic spectacular. Passing through an environment so unlike anywhere else, it was quite easy to keep the pedals turning. Reaching the top felt like the achievement, but that was actually the easy part. If you're thinking we were just off on a casual roll down the hill from there, it was anything but. Fast undulating sections, steep chunky sections and sections where off to the side would send you over a 100m cliff. Our full suspension rental bikes were put through their paces but they didn't completely protect us from all those bumps. The ride had literally shaken us to pieces, so much in fact that I spent the following days cradling my hand because it felt as though it was broken, despite having not crashed. When we made it back down to the road section, we re-hydrated from a spring coming out of the side of a rock wall and headed back into town to meet Amy and then drove to a river to try and cool off. We were all melting, and this river was the only oasis in the desert, except that it was painfully cold, with snowmelt from the mountains, we could only dip our toes in. That night we treated ourselves to some BBQ, going to the same restaurant Amy and I dined at with her sister and mom back in 2012 during our road trip and we finished the night back at Arches, where we hiked to a lookout spot, watched the sunset and did some stargazing before sitting around with some cold beers by the campfire.
Feeling like we had achieved life's meaning and having conquered the desert, but our muscles were calling out that the desert had conquered us, we headed one last time into Arches on the way out of town to do an Amy guided journey through some more of the desert spacescapes. I limped from view to view taking advantage of every sitting opportunity or spot of shade. Not long before you know it, we were on our way back into the mountains, where the warm weather had followed us.