|Spaghetti at Escalante shared with tourists from Switzerland|
|Red Canyon Utah SR12|
|No wonder we couldn't find that camp ground.|
|Red Canyon Utah|
|Oh, if only the camera could capture the vista.|
This morning when we broke camp in Panguitch, UT, there was ice on the support vehicle so it was a chilly beginning.. Our hands, after packing away our camping gear, were pretty useless from the cold, but soon the work of biking, and a Western sun, started to warm things up. Also, I only stopped for a cup of coffee, planning to catch up on the uphill ahead.
About 7miles into the ride we took Hwy 12, entering Red Canyon, the prelude to Bryce Canyon and its myriad of rock formations and color. The Colorado River and its tributaries carved this landscape of rich colors, and also created shifting climates as elevations vary from 4,000 to 10,000 feet in southern Utah.
We are now in the land of canyons and benches, in contrast to the basins and ranges of Nevada. The one constant is the need to work hard, slowly pedaling up, then to coast down at high speed, keeping one’s hands on the brakes to avoid too fast a speed. For me too fast is slower than for Dave and Pete, who leave me far behind on the downhills. I must be more cautious than most, or maybe they are just more experienced bikers.
One never knows what to expect in such remote areas as we are now biking. We planned a stop at Henrieville for lunch, but discovered there was no food, no service there. So we improvised, or Phil did, finding a picnic table. We ate from our store of fruit and veggies. Next our route took us to Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument and more gorgeous scenery, but the riders often hardly noticed as they had their heads down, climbing from 5,000 feet to nearly 8,000 feet. I have to confess to twice getting off the bike as I approached the steep grade at the summit. I walked my bike for a short way...giving in to that little voice that said walking would be good.
Total today: 112 Kilometers. The end today was an 18 mile coast into Escalante. Tomorrow we will pay for that with a 3,500 climb first thing in the day.
Our plan is to stay tomorrow night in Torrey, and the next night in Hanksville. That will be my last night with the group. The next day, June 21, I hope to meet my wife Pat in Green River, UT.
Yesterday’s total was 93 kilometers, from Cedar City to Panguitch . The day was also filled with great views as we rode up 4,500 feet to Cedar Breaks National Monument. We were not sure the road and visitor center, at about 10,600 feet, would be open as the area still has deep snow. But they were, and we found great views, and interesting interpretations from rangers. Pete has said that he would like to study geology.
Yesterday ended with a downhill to Panguitch. The day before yesterday, from Milford to Cedar City, was our hardest yet, to our surprise. It was in part a psych deal; the mileage, 91 kilometers, and elevations had us thinking it was going to be nearly a rest day. But a strong wind, averaging above 20 mph and gusting into the 30’s right in our faces, had me stopping every couple of kilometers just to catch a breath and a drink…of water. In addition, early in the day, a colony of ants attacked me while replenishing water at roadside. First I felt a burning sensation on my legs, thought it was sunburn, then noticed the little buggers climbing up my legs like Lance Armstrong does - or did - a mountain. I am still discovering swellings, from feet to neck, were they took bites. (Last evening Phil, after consultation with his nurse wife Jan, provided some Benadryl that relieved much of the itch.)
Well, that is a summary of the last three days...from one perspective.