Thursday, November 5, 2009

Zion

Alright, I know it's been forever since I've been on a computer. In order to keep my sanity and not sit here forever, I'm going to try and go in phases for this last section. I'm in Holbrook, AZ at the moment, but I wrote a section for Zion over a week ago. So, we'll start there and see how far I get.

As I attempted to ride out of St George, I was plagued by more thorns. After patching what I thought were all the punctures, I found out a few blocks later I'd missed some. Wanting to get to Zion, I decided that my rear tire had had enough, after ~2,200 miles it was time to retire it. So, one tire down, I rode into Zion.


Road into Zion area

Canyon Country is spectacular! I spent two days hiking in Zion. Although I'd made a brief trip here before, in my teenage angst I had for some reason decided not to enjoy it. SO, this time I had to redeem myself.


Sunrise the first morning, wish the colors had come out better. Sunrises and sets were unbelievable here!



Bike trail up the canyon

The first day I hiked to Emerald Pools, along the West Rim, and to Angel's Landing to get an overlook of the canyon. Angels Landing was a fun little hike/scramble with a spectacular view. My legs were tired though and I loved slowly all day.


Emerald Pools


Valley


View from Angels Landing area


The next day, I hiked explored canyons. First, Hidden Canyon, as I waited for the weather to warm. Then into the Narrows. This canyon mainly consists of river walking, especially as the canyon narrows. As I put on my Chaco flips and started up river, I noticed that everyone else had on waterproof pants, booties, and walking sticks rented from a guide service. As first, I laughed to myself thinking they're all the REI-type crowd; then after wading waist deep at times in the freezing river, I wished I had their gear. After sticking it out for about an hour of slow wading, I couldn't stop shaking and had to turn back. Once I got out of the canyon it took hours of sitting in the sun to warm up again, should have gotten the booties. This made me think seriously about the coming days as a storm was coming through.



Hidden Canyon


Narrows


Narrows

The original plan was to take a rest day in Zion, then ride up to Bryce and Capital Reef NPs. However, with snow and temps in the teens for the next few days, I decided 8,000 ft was not where I wanted to be. So, no rest day for me as I hurried out of Zion to try and get a little more favorable weather back in Arizona. I'll admit, I'm a fair-weather biker.

The ride out of Zion was fantastic, just wish I had more time to enjoy as the clouds threatening overhead kept me moving.


Outside the mile long tunnel in Zion (no bikes allowed, got a ride after half an hour wait)

From Zion I rode through the southern section of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Flat terrain with nice views, though the cold had arrived.


Grand Staircase-Escalante NM


Stopped for a little walk to the Toadstools in G-E NM

Crossing back into AZ, I made it to Glen Canyon National Rec Area. As I looked out at the Dam and reservoir I dreamt of Abbey and Hayduke and his houseboat (I'd actually been thinking of Abbey all week, but this was prime dream time). Glen Canyon sure is beautiful and it made me sad to think about all that was lost with Lake Powell, especially with all of the propaganda at the visitors center.


Glen Canyon Dam

In Page, the snow flurries began and I debated whether or not to continue riding. However, as much as I don't like the cold, I can only sit around for so long, so off into the snow I rode to camp just outside of town.

From Page, I was mainly on the Navajo Reservation for the next week, weaving back and forth between Utah and Arizona. I went to Natural Bridges NM, then down to Canyon De Chelly. I just left Petrified Forest NP and am headed towards Prescott. Then I'm very much looking forward to seeing a few friendly faces in Phoenix and Tucson! I'll try and write a little for these section and post pictures soon.

2 comments:

  1. Wow Robin. Great pictures! I have been to Mesquite and St. George, but never to Zion. I envy you on your trip and we wish you the best.

    Tom and Anne, Modesto

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  2. Robin:

    I am posting (hopefully) a link to the blog of a couple of folks who are doing similar to what you are doing right now and have had some tire problems. You might find this interesting:

    http://rwsb.blogspot.com/2009/10/central-ca.html

    If you are at all interested in the Schwalbe tires, here is a link to a source that most people feel is excellent:

    http://www.wallbike.com/tires.html#tire

    I use the Marathon Plus tires on the bike I commute to work on. I have had no flats in about 1 and 1/2 years of use.

    For your tour, I would recommend the Marathon XR tires. Spendy, I know. But it would cut down or eliminate your thorn problems.

    Good luck!

    Tom and Anne, Modesto

    ReplyDelete