ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
Ilana ([personal profile] ilanarama) wrote2016-05-24 07:00 pm
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White Rim 2016

Uh, hi! Remember me? I used to do stuff and post about it!

Last week we joined friends for a White Rim bike trip. This is the same trip we did three years ago (and look, I wrote about it here!) and it was organized by the same couple, though this year it was mostly a different cast of characters, and also in the opposite direction. And also, I have a new bicycle!

Ilana and new bike

(For those of you who care about such things, it is a Pivot Mach 4 Carbon 27.5", with carbon fiber wheels and 1x11 gearing. Britt bought one as well - actually, he researched and then bought both of them, which I think was a ploy because he really wanted a new bike and figured I'd squawk less if he got me one too - and if you add the prices together they cost more than our (admittedly, used) pickup truck did.)

The ride was to start Wednesday, but Britt had a meeting he couldn't miss and would come later, so I got a lift to the start with some of the other riders. We had lunch at the top of the Mineral Bottom switchbacks and then rode the ~10 miles to the Hardscrabble campground. The road between the bottom of the switchbacks and the camp is often very sandy, which makes for hard riding; due to recent heavy rainfall, it was instead nicely packed, with occasional mud that was mostly avoidable by choosing a path wisely (or briefly leaving the road). Britt rolled in sometime around 8 pm, which was still well before sunset.

In addition to the mud, the rain had made the desert bloom. We rode by orange globe mallow and blue blanketflower, by the pinks and yellows of flowering prickly pear cactus. (Photo by Ryan)

Cactus flower (by Ryan)

In the morning, we headed up the steep climb out of Hardscrabble to a fine view of the Green River. After an even steeper descent, we hit the true White Rim - the hard layer of white sandstone that acts as a caprock over the softer layers below - and contoured around to the swirled-rock entrance to Holeman Slot, where we huddled in the shade of the rock - it was very sunny and hot - waiting for the rest of the group, in particular, the truck with our lunches and beer!

Green River from road above Hardscrabble Holeman Slot

After lunch, we scrambled down the tight slot canyon, but the storms had left standing water in places and so I didn't bring my camera/phone, and I bailed early to head back when the footing made me nervous. Several of the guys continued on, though, and Brendan got this great picture of Britt:

Britt in Holeman Slot (by Brendan)

Farther on we came to the Black Crack, which is a very dramatic and very deep (can't see the bottom) fault across a rock shelf. If you are brave enough to jump across it, you are rewarded with a dramatic view of the Green River from the far side.

Black Crack Green River

It was a long day to Murphy Hogback, which is a camp at the top of another very steep climb. I made most of it, resting on the flat bits, but the final bit was too much for me. In fact, I don't think anybody made it all the way on their bike, though several people got much farther than I did. Off to the side of the final climb was evidence that an earlier truck driver hadn't made it all the way either - scattered car parts showed where the truck had bounced off the road and slid down the gully earlier this month (there was a small sign by the roadside, I guess so people wouldn't report it as a new wreck). But the nice thing about having a big climb to camp is that there were great views.

Murphy camp

In the morning I took a short trail run, 5.6 miles roundtrip on the Murphy Trail which traverses along the hogback to a gully where one can make a scrambling ascent to the Island in the Sky mesa far above, if one so chooses, which I did not. Then I hopped in one of the trucks to drive it to our lunch spot at White Crack, another dramatic rock formation with a view toward the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. (What goes steeply up must crawl down in 4-low; I was very happy I had Brendan's truck to follow down the narrow, rocky descent off Murphy Hogback.) After lunch I traded the wheel for handlebars, and we rode past canyons thick with standing pillars on our way to Airport Camp.

Britt on the rim

The next day we rode over similar terrain until the road turned away from the river and up the switchbacks of the Shafer Trail away from the rim, back to the Island in the Sky. The wind had picked up over the last two days, and it was a bit scary to feel myself being blown toward the edge of the road as I pushed hard in my lowest gear. But eventually we all made it up the serpentine road and out of the park, where we drank celebratory beers, traded hugs, and headed homeward.

All 15 of my photos at Flickr (the ones in this post, plus a few more)

Brendan's photos, which are better than mine, at Google Photos
traveller42: (Default)

[personal profile] traveller42 2016-05-25 01:08 am (UTC)(link)
Great report, as always.

Glad you got out there and congrats on the new bike!
yhlee: recreational (peaceful) tank (recreational tank)

[personal profile] yhlee 2016-05-25 02:18 am (UTC)(link)
Yay bike! That looks fabulous, and thanks for sharing the photos. The Black Crack looks terrifying! (I am scareda heights. :p)
blnchflr: Captain America Civil War (Runner-in-spe)

[personal profile] blnchflr 2016-05-26 06:44 pm (UTC)(link)
It may not be wide, but looking at that picture and thinking about somehow slipping and going down D:

But awesome pictures otherwise :)

(Anonymous) 2016-05-25 03:06 am (UTC)(link)
Breath taking pics and hope you like the new wheels. What kind of beer was the reward?

(Anonymous) 2016-05-25 03:22 am (UTC)(link)
Breath taking pics and hope you like the new wheels. What kind of beer was the reward?

Ps I can't get Open ID to work on the phone

From Greenlee!

(Anonymous) 2016-05-26 06:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Your photos and adventures always amaze me. This trip looks phenomenal!