The Laguna Mountains are one of my happy places. Nichol and I spent the July 4th holiday weekend (and then some) at the Laguna Meadow campground.
We really love this area not only for cool trails right from camp but also for it just being an awesome place to just to chill outdoors. One of the things we like about it during the July 4th weekend is the lack of fireworks. Within hearing distance of our home are several annual fireworks events that pretty much keeps are dogs traumatized for the bulk of the Independence Day evening. Life is just better for our dogs (and us) up here away from the boomage.
Did I mention trails? I already posted up about checking out Garnet Peak, but I hit most of the stuff in the area over the course of the trip.
The nice thing about camping here is that you don’t have to try and hit everything at once. Some trails in the morning. Some in the afternoon. Hell, why not a post-2nd breakfast ride?
Then of course there is hammock time. Yeah we had a great time!
Looking for something off the beaten path near Moab? Do you like eating your dessert before your vegetables? While I would not put Fisher Mesa on the must do list for the Moab area it is certainly worth a spin if you feel like you have already done all the marquee stuff in Moab. Fisher Mesa is two mesas east of Porcupine Rim and if you are taking the scenic way Fruita from Moab it is along the way. This video was shot in 2008 using a “bleeding edge” 1080i HD Camcorder with “new” tech such as optical stabilization.
This video was shot in 2008 using a “bleeding edge” 1080i HD Camcorder with some “new” tech such as optical stabilization. While it worked great in your hand it was pretty horrible in the Moab area terrain as it was always “catching” up and actually made things worse. It was still way better than GoPro options of the day where 384p resolution with the young YouTube offering video hosting at 480p max. So glad for the modern era tools to share.
The Navajo Lake Loop is an extremely picturesque trail around the lake that has a wonderful mix of aspens, pines, open meadows as well as a bit of old lava flows. I did about 3/4ths of the loop on before heading out on the Navajo Peak section of the Virgin River Rim Trail. Here is my Trailforks Ridelog for that day. Please note this loop includes an out and back to Cascade Falls as well as a longer firer road loop back to where I was camped. I did not include the Cascade Falls trail stuff in this video as it really did not “fit”. One thing is for certain, this was a very pretty outing out of the bike.
Here is some footage from the Blowhard trail near Brian Head Utah. This rounds out the big three shuttle run out of Brian Head resort area in Utah. The Blowhard Trail starts at 10,660 feet just south of Cedar Breaks National Monument and drops 3,700 feet over the course 7.7 miles and ends on Hwy 14 near Cedar City. The upper portion is the steepest and most technical with grades upwards of 22% in spots. It is much steeper than it looks in the video. Things mellow a bit in the middle section and below with even some short bits of climbing. Those short sections aside, throughout this trails is speed is easily gained and much more difficult to restrain. This is a fantastic trail and this will not be my time riding this trail.
One more video knocked off the remaster to-do list. The Portal Trail in Moab will most likely reset your scale for exposure and how the risk vs reward variables are computed in your head. The steeper than it looks moniker certainly applies here. I did some software stabilization but it still in the old-school shaky cam category. Here are some more thoughts on this trail as well as some pictures from that day. You can find stuff from the entire 2008 road trip here.
The second song used this video, Mad Life, by Dishwalla had some special meaning for me from that day. This video was shot in May of 2008 and back in the March, I had an OTB crash on the Goat Camp Trail that left me with about 40 stitches in my lip and mouth that really did a number on my mental game for riding technical trails. During the first three days of this trip I was starting to get the mojo back and the during the descent of the Portal trail the “I’m Back” switch was flipped on as that song started playing in my head. These lyrics in particular.
The Virgin River Rim Trail is a 32 mile long trail along the edge of the plateau above the Virgin River watershed. This video is from the eastern 10 miles of the trail between Strawberry Point and the Cascade Falls Trailhead. This is also known as the Pink Cliffs section.
This is a amazingly beautiful section of trail that was tough in many spots. It is definitely an XC trail but the the elevation, undulating grade mostly in the 9,000 feet range and trail thread all conspire to tax lungs and legs.
For me it is worth the price of admission for the experience, but if your value of “reward” is mostly based on fun, you may come to a different conclusion.
My Ridelog from this day on Trailforks Note that the last 3.1 miles on this route are not the trail but a couple of dirt roads that we used to get back to our campsite. The trails is the first 10 miles.
Thunder Mountain is considered a marquee/classic/bucket list type trail in many publications. I have to say it lives up to hype. This video is from Day 15 of the Summer MTB vacation which was our second crack at this trail. We got rained out for this ride on Day 13. We managed to catch a good weather window and for the most part we were rewarded some near hero dirt. But be warned, even if you “shuttle” it you will be spending plenty of time cranking the pedals. It is well worth every bit of grunting you have to do.
Getting out to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to ride the Rainbow Rim trail is not an easy feat. For just about everyone it will be a camping trip. This is from my August MTB vacation were we camped on Locust Point for a handful of days and enjoyed the views and the riding on this trails as well a bit of the Arizona Trail. The video really does not do the experience justice. You need to get there to enjoy it for yourself.
I had to put the videos on hold while I went down the rabbit hole of squaring away data storage and backup system. I came back from the August trip with just about a terabyte of video and photos which put my overall storage at near capacity. I now have a more robust system that should scale a lot better in the future.
For Day 5 of the August MTB Vacation I cut my wife some slack and we did a shuttle up to the top of Schultz pass. We then did the half of the loop I climbed on day 2 as a descent (Previous video). We did a snippet of Secret to the AZT. Then Lower Moto to Chimney and the the lower bit of Schultz Creek. She was most appreciative of not throwing a beat down on her out of the gate. Pretty much all green trail goodness.
Day 18 Bunker Creek. Coming off of Brianhead Peak this was a doozie. Starting just at 11,000 feet, you had long views, Alpine meadows, Aspens, Pines. Much of this area burned in 2017 and the trails have been rebuilt, improved and extended.
Day 19 VRRT – Navajo Peak. I started out with plans to do the Navajo Lake Loop, but half way around I chose to peel off and get my climb on. There was plenty of work to be done but much like the Strawberry Point segment the views were worth the effort.
On Day 20 I finished off the “Big 3” at Brianhead with the Blowhard Mountain Trail. I rode with a group of guys from the Giant Bicycle shop in Las Vegas. A great group of guys. The trail was every bit as technical as it was billed to be. Such good stuff.
My body decreed that today would be a rest day so for Day 21 I tooled around the countryside a bit which included a stop at Paragon Gap to check out the Indian Rock Art.
For Day 22, I ventured off the mountians to check out the Iron Hills trail system in Cedar City. This is an exceptional designed and built trail system which was a hoot. I did 14 miles and change with 1,700 feet of climbing. After spending much of my time over the last two weeks around 9,000 feet the thick oxygen rich air down at 6,000 feet was a real joy!
After camp near Navajo Lake since being in Utah, for Day 23 I felt the need to knock of Navajo Lake Loop proper since I had only done part of it.
Day 24 Time to head home. Ahh hell, time to go do some of that adult stuff. It has been a fabulous trip. I have gotten everything thing I needed and wanted out of this trip. I’m no sure what that need and want is exactly yet, but I found it out here. For now I’m looking forward to seeing both wife and dogs.
I have amassed nearly a terabyte of footage and photos to do stuff with that will take months to get through. I have melon full killer memories of this trip that I’m bringing back as well. I’ll share when I can.
For now, the RV’s shitter tank is not going to dump itself!