Saturday, March 31, 2007

Up onto Gooseberry Mesa

After saying goodbye to my brother-out-law Jim and his happy, beautiful daughters I headed out of St. George to Hurricane, UT. I hit a grocery store then turned onto highway 59 which winds up onto the plateau east of the town. I was headed for Gooseberry Mesa, a great riding place and a cool place to be part of Utah. Jim and I camped there 3 years ago and had a great time. I remembered the road into it being pretty hard, so I doubted that I’d be able to get the POD up into it as far as we had gone with just our trucks, but I figured I might be able to at least get to BLM land where I could park it for free.

I was pleasantly surprised by the condition of the road. The final bit onto the mesa from the east was a little bumpy, but I took it slow and got the POD in right to the edge of the trail system. I set up, leveled the rig tolerably, parked the T100, and put on riding stuff and got out there. By around 12:30 I was pedaling toward the trails on a sandy doubletrack.

I tried to ride every trail out there that Saturday afternoon. I had to retrace my routes a few times, but I got every one except for a trail I had remembered called Hidden Canyon.
Gooseberry is an exercise in explosive effort. It’s full of really short, really steep slickrock climbs and descents. A great place to test traction and to see if you have enough pressure in your air shocks. I had a ball, and the weather was perfect. Sun was shining, but the air still had a hint of chill from the weather system that moved through during the last week of March.

I was on the bike for nearly four hours and by the time I got back to the POD to make dinner the sun was getting low and it was cooling off. I discovered that the juniper gnats were pretty bad. It seemed a little early for gnats, but since the previous year had been so wet I guessed they were a bumper crop. So much for lounging around in a camp chair into the evening—thank goodness for the POD! Guess I’ll just have to ride myself silly every day and then go inside and eat and sleep.

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