Its become an annual pilgrimage of sorts to head to the red rock country of southern Utah in the spring at the conclusion to ski season. It was a long, busy winter this year. Colorado had an incredible snow year and the skiing was great. We had been daydreaming of our spring trip since December. Originally hoping for something bigger and longer, when the time came, reality set in and due to work we only had a week to take advantage of. Thus far we have managed a couple bike outings in Fruita and some road biking in Glenwood Canyon but this was going to be a quest to unplug, get some mountain biking in, see some great backcountry, and unwind a bit. No firm itinerary, no obligations, just a loaded vehicle and a head full of ideas.
To prove how badly we wanted to get out of town, we actually departed on a Thursday evening after Julie got off work. We set off west from Minturn and made it west of Grand Junction, finding a secluded place to camp in Rabbit Valley near the Colorado River. We were bound for Hurricane, Utah to start the trip. A pretty good stretch of highway laid between us and Hurricane so getting a couple of hundred miles in the first night was great.
Morning 1 at Rabbit Valley. As always, I shot the trip on my iphone, so sometimes the quality is poor, sometimes I luck out and get some better shots.
The Swell. Part of the brutality of our route was burning up freeway getting to the extreme southwest corner of Utah knowingly passing all these amazing areas. We pressed on, into a rugged headwind the entirety of the drive. Our destination was Gooseberry Mesa. A large mesa just east of Hurricane that is accessible via dirt road. On top of the mesa is a large network of mountain bike singletrack and a variety of cool options to camp. Its become more popular each year and looks like by next year there will be pay camping and organized campsites. A victim of its own success. With that said though there are still some hidden gems for riding and camping in the area that are a bit more undiscovered.
Since we have our little guy with us these days, the key to Jules and I riding comes from the ability to take turns watching Kruz while the other rides. This is a great area for that. With a network of singletrack spider webbed across the mesa, it is easy to lap from camp.
Camp set up, a relaxing afternoon ensues. To our pleasure the wind had died down by the time we arrived.
Flip flops on our feet, smiles on our faces.