We woke up and unzipped our tent. Looming above us a towering mountain sits, misty and cold in the morning light. It’s shear rock face of pink granite and green algae plummets into the rock field we had hopped through last night. Granite chunks as big as cars, tumbled and piled into a vertical maze.
I lay on my back and stared up at the rock scape through blue spruce. We snuggled in our sleeping bags until Jason had the coffee going. He also had a crackling fire burning. We were abive 10,000 feet and it was a chilly morning. Our voices echoed in the cathedral of mountains around us.
The La Sal mountains are out here all by themselves in the middle of the flat desert. We had spent much of the previous day’s ride watching them slowly get closer and now here we were, just below tree line.
We broke camp and rode the rolling, pot holed doubletrack back to the TAT and up and over Geyser Pass. Once on the other side the forest opened up into a meadow and we got our first view of the canyon lands below.
After two days of camping in the middle of nowhere Moab was a shock to the senses. The poor little town that’s loved to death. We pass billboards, hotels, motels, McDonalds and filling stations, T shirt shops and bike shops and more bike shops. You can rent a dirt bike, a quad, a mtn. bike or a raft. There’s tours on Hummers and tours in riverboats.
After a quick lunch at Pasta Jays we start looking for a campsite. First we try up the Colorado River. The ride along the river is awesome. Huge canyon walls hem us in and then open in slot canyons that dump cool air into the river corridor. We notice adventure bikes. A few in town and now a parade if KTM’s and BMW’s. We are waving so often it’s tough to ride. Later we find out we are a few days early for an adventure bike rally here in Moab.
The camping on the river looks crowded and close to the highway so we double back and head north out of town. I have an idea we’ll take the trail to Gemini Bridges and camp in the backcountry, far from the crowds. As we break off the highway and start the climb it’s much tougher than I remember. We get to a section on the side of the Mesa that’s a series of steep rock climbs and decide to bag it. It’s too late in the day for this kind of riding. We finally find a site back on the river that’s tucked down a sandy slope behind some small oaks that hide us from campers and the highway.
We swim in the river and pitch our tents. The ride back to town for dinner is warm. Its a beautiful night for a ride, with a warm breeze and a giant rising moon. We leave our rainfly off and fall asleep under the stars.