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yellow
05-30-2007, 10:00 PM
Weekend before last, as I was attempting to keep up with my new running pal on the ascent of Black Mountain, she asked me in passing if I wanted to go mountain bike the White Rim with her family and some friends over Memorial Day. I didn’t think much of the offer at the time since I was focused on just making it up the mountain at that moment but called her the next day and accepted.

The best trips are often those that just kind of happen like that.

The plan was to ride the White Rim in 3 days, Sunday through Tuesday. The entire White Rim Road is about 100 miles, give a few more depending upon where you camp along the way. The White Rim is in Canyonlands National Park in southern Utah, on the Colorado Plateau. Red rock, lots of scenery, and a real yee-haw 4-wheelin’ backcountry experience. I recruited my good friend Martha to go with me. We did the Costco run on Friday and headed to Moab on Saturday to do a little riding on Baby Steps and Klondike Bluffs:

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1/tasdan/Rides/White%20Rim/Martha_BabySteps2.jpg


After a peaceful night out in the middle o’ nowhere (off some side road), we met the group at the National Park. After shuttling vehicles and consolidating everything into 2 trucks, we were off.

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1/tasdan/Rides/White%20Rim/TheRoadDown.jpg


Why 2 trucks? Because we also brought along 5 kids, ages 1 to 5. What an adventure!

The first day we rode about 27 miles to our first campsite at Taylor. The campsite was beautiful, which was good because we were all pretty beat up from riding on the 5 miles of sand to get there.

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1/tasdan/Rides/White%20Rim/CrummyCampsite.jpg


It was hot here (probably about 85), but we created some shade and just hung out. The 2 year old twin boys’ mom brought along squirt guns, which we were all thankful for. Once they learned how to use the guns, we all stayed pretty refreshed.

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1/tasdan/Rides/White%20Rim/CoolingSquad.jpg


I was voted “best toes in camp”.

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1/tasdan/Rides/White%20Rim/BestToes.jpg


The next day we adopted a pretty leisurely pace to our next camp 32 miles farther along at Murphy’s Hogback. We all took turns driving, which means we all took turns singing songs and goofing around with the kids. Along the way we came very close to the Green River and had some fun and easy riding (me ready to jump in).

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1/tasdan/Rides/White%20Rim/GreenJump.jpg


We got the only flat of the trip this day, but it was one of the trucks, not a bike! After the flat and some more fun easy riding, we had a pretty good climb up to camp, with a final hill that no one rode clean. No matter. We quickly set up camp and eagerly embraced our cold beer. Life is so rough.

The view from this site was spectacular. You could see south to the where the Green and Colorado Rivers collide (though you could not see the actual confluence). We spent a lot of time hiking around, admiring the many blooming flowers, and goofing off. We drank wine. We ate burritos.

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1/tasdan/Rides/White%20Rim/MoreCrummyScenery.jpg


Our last day was the biggest day, 43 miles, with a pretty long climb at the end. But inbetween the drop from Murphys to the Shafer “neck”, we had miles of fun, fast riding all along the white rim, which is a white layer of sandstone that in many places is the “top” of the canyon du jour.

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1/tasdan/Rides/White%20Rim/OffWeRide.jpg

We stopped and ate sandwiches and did yoga on the rim and played around on Musselman Arch for a bit.

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1/tasdan/Rides/White%20Rim/MM_arch.jpg


The climb out was long but not too brutal. It was granny gear zen riding. View from the top AFTER the climb:

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1/tasdan/Rides/White%20Rim/ShaferNeck.jpg


Along the climb we saw a little vehicle that had no business in the canyon broken down because it lost its oil pan (duh!), some beautiful BMW enduro motorcycles, and a few other mountain bikers coming down. At the very top we were greeted with a mighty headwind and a grand total of 102 miles. We were all tired and dirty but happy. It was a great group, all compatible riders. A fine trip indeed! When's the next one??? :D

SadieKate
05-30-2007, 10:56 PM
I forgot to ask: were you a good girl and will be invited back? :D

Veronica
05-31-2007, 04:13 AM
Cool trip! Sounds like you had a great time.

V.

AuntieK
05-31-2007, 11:35 AM
Fabulous pictures! And great tan lines! :D Those toes do look pretty fancy on that red dirt.
Sounds like you had a lot of fun!

maillotpois
05-31-2007, 11:42 AM
Wow - what a great trip!! Those photos are terrific.

spokewench
05-31-2007, 11:55 AM
A group of my girlfriends and I have been talking about doing that ride for years. We really need to get off our collective a/*es and do this. That's looks beautiful.

HappyAnika
05-31-2007, 02:47 PM
Great photos, thanks for sharing. We spent a week in Utah a couple of years ago, I could spend many, many more weeks there exploring . . .

Scarlet
05-31-2007, 03:11 PM
THIS IS AWESOME
niceone
and thanks for sharing
great pics
and
love the water guns

scarlet x

yellow
05-31-2007, 05:30 PM
I forgot to ask: were you a good girl and will be invited back? :D
OF COURSE I was good! :rolleyes: I even cooked a meal and made strawberry shortcakes!


A group of my girlfriends and I have been talking about doing that ride for years. We really need to get off our collective a/*es and do this. That's looks beautiful.
I guess it's not that easy to get a permit. The people I went with ended up buying someone else's permit. Just apply and then if you get it you have no choice but to go (or to sell your permit to me :p ...I have a friend with a Trooper that would love to go ride the White Rim...)

emily_in_nc
05-31-2007, 06:02 PM
That looks like SUCH fun mountain biking! My DH and I hiked in the Needles district of Canyonlands last spring and absolutely fell in love with it -- it was our favorite of the 6 national parks we visited on that trip. I'm envious!

Emily

Trekhawk
06-01-2007, 10:27 AM
WOW Yellow what a great batch of pics. Im so jealous I love Utah.

Shiraz
06-02-2007, 08:47 AM
Love the pictures Yellow. Sounds like a great trip. Amazing country! Nice work on the strawberry short cakes :D

han-grrl
06-02-2007, 06:10 PM
we just got back from Moab...sigh...

Pedal Wench
06-02-2007, 06:30 PM
We hiked to Murphy's Hogback a few years ago and enjoyed watching the vehicles try to climb it - can't imagine riding it! Seriously, we talked about riding the whole thing. I'm a beginner mtb'er, but endurance road rider. I know I can do the mileage, but worried about how technical the trail is. How would you rate it? I always thought that if a vehicle could do it, it can't be too technical. What do you think after doing it?

yellow
06-02-2007, 09:20 PM
We hiked to Murphy's Hogback a few years ago and enjoyed watching the vehicles try to climb it - can't imagine riding it! Seriously, we talked about riding the whole thing. I'm a beginner mtb'er, but endurance road rider. I know I can do the mileage, but worried about how technical the trail is. How would you rate it? I always thought that if a vehicle could do it, it can't be too technical. What do you think after doing it?

Murphy's was not the toughest climb, though none of us (even the very talented folks that we were with) rode the very last pitch clean (we rode counterclockwise, so we came at it from the west). It's super steep.

It's not a technical ride but a couple of the climbs are stiff. There is some some sand that most people walk through (not a lot) and a few other little technical spots that I walked (I'm not the greatest mountain biker). Water is an issue, and the crazies that do it in 1 day plan on begging water from those doing it at a more leisurely pace (so expect to be asked for water). I'd say 2 days is doable by most in-shape folks, but another day is nice so you can spend some time sight seeing and playing around (we did 3 days). I don't think I would have had as much fun if we'd had to hammer it out in 2 days. Most people ride clockwise, but I'm glad we didn't as that climb up Hardscrabble looked brutal. :eek: (Coming down it was spooky at times because it has so steep in a few places that you couldn't see what was beyond the hill or corner.)

You should just do it! :D