Our final day of the weekend trip had me waking up to stiff legs.
We both desired to get back home at a reasonable time, so we opted for something efficient and fun. After breaking camp we parked at the JEM trailhead at the base of Gooseberry Mesa.
The last time I rode your when doing this as part of the Hurricane Rim Loop that consists of the Goulds Rim, JEM and Hurricane Cliffs trail. Since then there has been a lot if trails added in this area, it is now its on system.
We ended up riding JEM, More Cowbell, Dead Ringer, Goosebumps, Cryptobionic, and some of the JEM Loop Route. (Not in that order) What a fun time we had. After a celebratory beer it was time to get back to the land of playing working stiff. It was another great adventure in Utah!
Day Three took us out to Grafton Mesa which I had heard lots of awesome stuff about but had never been out on.
Grafton did not disappoint.
We also did the Pigs In Space and Meanderthal trails along with a portion of Reach Around.
You know you are some good trails when they come with exfoliation services.
We did not take the techno-gnarly trail off the mesa as we had not made any shuttle arrangments and were not feeling up for major dirt road grindage to get back up on the mesa. Clearly I will have to go back!
Day Two had out at one of my all time favorites in the area, Little Creek Mesa. Sean had ridden one of the loops out here, but had not been out to the point so I was more than happen to do some showing around.
We started out in the main loop and worked out way out the the western rim of the mesa.
We then worked out way out the North Point.
From the North Point we continued on around and hooked up with Magic Carpet Ride.
Back at camp we enjoyed tasty beers before working on some bourbon while solving world hunger. Well maybe not world hunger, but may have put a dent in the bikes in wilderness issues. Ugh maybe it was which sections of the Pacific Crest Trail should be open to bike.
One thing we certainly did figure out. It did not suck to be us on this day.
Man did I have great weekend near Hurricane Utah. Sean was out on an excursion in Utah with RV, his dirt bike and some MTB action on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We set Apple Valley as our rally point and we were soon off to Gooseberry Mesa to find a place to park the RV for the weekend.
After setting up the RV we had enough time left in the day for a ride so we hit up nearby Wire Mesa.
The Wire Mesa trail does lots of bobbing and weaving right along the rim of the mesa. The trail seems longer than it actually is. The views are just great.
We pretty much used all of the remainder of the day. It was a great opener ride.
I woke up to the sounds of Coyotes yipping it up with all of their friends in the wee hours of the morning. One of the coyotes sounded like he was right outside of tent. I could hear the other end of the conversation way off in the distance, so evidently the fellow near me had to put a little extra spank on his call to get there. It was still dark out and after Mr. Coyote moved on, I got another hour or two of shuteye before getting up for good. Here was the view of Casa Del Bill for the weekend.
After seeing a few “new-to-us” forks in the trail and cairn stacks yesterday we decided that we would ride a second day here instead of hitting up a different location. It certainly made the logistics easier by not having to break camp and pack up before heading out for a ride. Cook up some breakfast and hit some trails straight out of camp was the plan.
Little Creek Mesa once again did not disappoint. We found our way over to the stuff we had seen the day before and we were soon on some nice stuff not on our map.
I later did find the trails on some other maps where it was listed as something along the lines of “The Alternate Loop”. It is a fantastic alternate.
I like the way the photo above came out as I think it captures one of cool aspects of riding on the huge sections of rock on the mesa. You are routinely scanning for the route, looking and chasing rock and looking for lines across and through the fields of slick rock. It is a form mental engagement with the trail that is hard to come by on different forms of topology.
While scoping along our route, we came across sizable rock overhang that required an assessment of its chilling out worthiness. Oh its most worthy! This area we were was marked with cairns but was to later not be found on any of the maps/resources I have.
Talk about a tough way to make a living. This small pine tree is literally between a rock and a hard place. You see this often out on the mesa and it pretty to cool to see how life is going to find a way.
One of the section of the mesa we were on was quite fun and required quite a bit of route finding as we went along. The picture above is looking back at the direction we came from. We realized we would have more ups than downs on the way back.
This was the view off the edge of the mesa we had ridden down to. The view did not suck. From here we would trace our way back to camp and start getting packed up for the return trip home. I pulled back into the garage at home at roughly 10pm. This was a pretty easy there and back kind of weekend with some quality trail time from sure. I tend to forget just how accessible this area from San Diego. I need to make more trips here.
Day two of the quick Utah weekender started off by waking up on Little Creek Mesa. Both Bill and I are Scotch and Bourbon fans so we both brought some offering from our collections to share around the campfire. I was clearly too enthusiastic with the barrel aged goodness that night and I found myself having a rough go of getting started in the morning. Luckily it was a short commute to the trailhead 🙂
I love this mesa, the slick rock, the vistas, single track, it just sooooo good.
One of the first spots along the main loop that comes out onto the western rim of the mesa.
Good stuff and good views along the main loop. There are a few spots where you don’t want to wildly blow a turn.
At the junction of the north loops and the main loops, a flash gathering of the Yeti tribe happened. The two Santa Cruz riders in the group took the pictures.
Cruising along out near the North Point.
I dig how this rock formation looks like some kind of ape skull with the way the light is on it.
More slick rock awesomeness. While on our way back to camp we saw a few lines of cairns heading off in directions we had not been before. We decided then and there we would come back and check that out tomorrow vice dealing with additional logistics of going someplace else and bringing down camp.
After the main ride for the day, we did some poking around at other spots on the mesa. We came across this “Waterglyph”. According to my readings, these were made by the Anasazi inhabitants in the timeframe of 900-1200AD. While most like they have nothing to do with water, there are some interesting theories on their use. Solstice markers, prayer shrines and bird of prey snares were just some of the more intriguing theories. There seems to be plenty of debate among the theories. You can find some the resources used at Waterglyphs.org and Dixie Rock Art. I think next time I head out here I’m going chase down an archeology/rock art enthusiast with a MTB problem or a Mountainbiker with a archeology/rock art problem to show us around.
Once back at camp, we were devising plans for the following day, eating huge tasty camp burgers and enjoying tasty spirits.
Our last day of the Utah weekend found us rolling out of the hotel at a pretty descent time and headed out to Little Creek Mesa with a pit-stop at River Rock Roasters for some caffeine and sandwiches for a mesa-top lunch. I have ridden Little Creek several times before and this place is just great. It has pretty much everything I want in a trail. There is plenty flowing singletrack with technical goodies. Huge vistas that start right at your feet , rock slabs to play on with features big and small, and nature’s beauty all around you. It also has a feel of being far and away and the route finding you have to do (even with the aid of a GPS) offers a kind of mental engagement that I love in a trail.
We started out on the main loop and soon found ourselves playing on rock slabs with Zion National Park in the background.
With all of the rain over the last handful of days there was plenty of water pooled up in the depressions in the rocks. The big rock slabs gave way to forested single track that was just awesome with the fresh scent of moisture.
I was not expecting to see snow on the mountains west of St George. I just don’t see how the views from this mesa could ever get old.
“The Hot Tub” along the western rim of Little Creek Mesa. This was one helluva spot for snacks.
The rain had lots the cacti blooming.
Better to look than to touch.
The main loop took out to the fork for the North Point loops. There are some sweet bits of single track goodness as you head out to the North Point with Gooseberry Mesa typically in the background.
I had ridden this thing a couple of times before but failed to notice the gap this slab went across until this trip. I guess I was too focused on where I was going.
The same gap after it opens up a bit. What an amazingly gorgeous day! Once back out to the main mesa we enjoyed a bit of route finding as there seemed to be cairns here, there and sometimes seemingly no where. You could play out here all day.
Our playing around eventually took us to “The Waterfall”, one of the iconic features of the mesa. This was my first time doing the waterfall with actual water around. I dug how the water showed the line I took. The dark line on the slab is the rear tire while the much fainter line to the right of it is the front wheel. Here is a shot from a previous trip that shows the led in. We took the Magic Carpet Ride trail back to the trailhead. After leisurely enjoying some refreshments and more snacks we had to lament about the reality of still having day jobs and the continual puzzle of how to grow old without growing up. Considering that we spent that last few days playing in the dirt and riding bicycles we had scored points for neither growing old or growing up this weekend. That shit would have to wait until tomorrow.
I have a mountain of pictures to sort through from this past weekend of camping and riding near Hurricane Utah. Here are a few I’m working on.
Friday we drove from Socal to Gooseberry Mesa where we setup camp and got in an near sunset ride out on the North Rim Trail.
Saturday we did the Hurricane Cliffs Trail System Loop of Goulds Rim, JEM and the Huricane Rim Trail
It was a great loop of about 21.5 miles in length and with a surprisingly sizable amount of climbing. We had plans for a late afteroon ride on Gooseberry as well but ending up enjoying tasty beers at camp instead.
Sunday we went over to Little Creek Mesa. I had only ridden the Main Loop on a previous trip so we had plans to hit up some of the other goods out there. We ended up doing the main loop and then getting out ot the North Point.
After the North Point we worked our way over to the Magic Carpet Ride trail to get back to the trailhead. We had plans to hit up a bit of Gooseberry before sunset but tasty beverages and semi-done legs dicated chilling at camp.
Monday morning we got fairly early, grabbed some breakfast and headed out from camp.
We hit up the South Rim trail
As well as the Hidden Canyon trail in both directions. I finished up the ride with nothing left in the tank and the legs completely shot. A great way to finish off a long weekend of riding. We soon had packed up camp and were making our way back to SoCal. More to follow….