Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Klondike Bluffs

After six nights of boondocking in the Scamp, and two weeks total traveling, I was ready for a couple of nights in civilization -- restaurants, laundromats, grocery stores, liquor stores, the whole nine yards. Also, one of my hiking shoes was blowing apart after many miles of use, so I had some shopping to do. The weather was deteriorating as well, so it was excellent timing to be a townie for a day or two.

I headed for Moab and signed in for 2 nights at the Canyonlands Campground. It's a well-kept RV park right in town, practically across the street from the brewpub and a few blocks walk to any of the downtown restaurants and bars; perfect. Their rates are a few dollars higher than the places on the edge of town, but I thought the location was worth the premium.

After an afternoon of retail therapy and watching the clothes go round, the next day I was ready to get outside. This being Moab, the only self-respecting option was to go mountain biking. Jill mentioned the Klondike Bluffs trail, said she had really enjoyed it; that was recommendation enough for me.

The trailhead for Klondike Bluffs is about 15 miles north of town, just short of the airport. The (very old) bike trail guide that I had made it sound like the turn off the highway was a bit tricky to find. Well, not anymore; there are huge signs on the highway for the Klondike Bluffs trailhead as well as the other popular trailheads in the area. There is a parking area right at the highway, but the real trailhead is about 2.5 miles east on a dirt road. The weather was still cool and scattered showery, when I got to the trailhead I sat in the truck and waited out one squall. The skies looked reasonable behind that one, so I unloaded the bike and started pedaling.

The trail is about 10 miles out-and-back, much of it on easy-to-intermediate slickrock. I hadn't done any slickrock riding to speak of, so this was a new adventure and quite a treat. I was really enjoying having a full-suspension bike!

The pot of gold at the end of this rainbow is a short hike (no bikes) inside the Arches NP boundary to a nice overlook of the north end of the park.

By the time I got back to the truck, the next rain squall held off just long enough for me to stow the bike and the rest of my gear; perfect timing. Back to Moab, and I felt like I'd earned pizza and beer for dinner.

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