White Rim On A White Bike

Discussion in 'Everything Else' started by DrNed, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. DrNed

    DrNed The mountains are calling and I must go

    Thanks to @Nick , @Artemus & @Dave for answering a slew of miscellaneous questions
    as I prepared for this trip.

    Check out White Rim in a Wagon and Biking the White Rim Trail as the authoritative
    reviews of this trip.

    We set out for Canyonlands National Park early Monday May 28 - Memorial Day.
    After checking road conditions at the Visitors Center we were ready to go.

    We did a clockwise route of the trail and I highly recommend going that direction. You
    get more downhills and this is such an awesome view to start with that you can't help but get excited about what's to come.

    It only took a hundred yards or so before we had our first flat tire. So while that was being fixed the rest of us waited at the bottom of the hill.

    After the group was back together, again we were on our way . . .

    Then it was a stop at Musselman Arch, named for Ross S. Musselman and not for . . .

    "Musselman was an easterner who came west in 1932. He bought land southeast of Moab and established a guest ranch where he worked with problem children from the eastern U.S. He was a rancher, guide, youth counselor, and--with his wife--an Indian craft store operator."

    I hope he'd approve.

    After leaving the arch we start to get out first views of the canyons below us.

    We had more bike issues in the first 10 miles than we did the whole rest of the week.

    Mostly flat tires, jumped chains and even two broken pedals.

    Let me interject here that with this group of seven boys and five adults who biked,
    we had bikes from five year old Wal-Mart bikes to a top of the line Rockhopper
    and everything in between. And they all made it. So if you've wanted to do this
    trip but thought, "I don't have a good enough bike" let me assure you, you can do it, and I suggest you do.

    Finally our 1st campsite was within view. Airport Tower.

    After watching a couple of videos on YouTube, I thought we would be okay to drive down Lathrop Canyon to the Colorado. Well, once setting eyes on it, there was no way we were going to drive down it. It is not a good road.

    It was terrible for biking too. Regardless, boys, mud and water always equals fun.

    I love early mornings in the backcountry, but I have developed a certain fondness for early
    mornings in the desert. The colors are spectacular and my iPhone does not do them justice.
    Day 2 had us go by Washer Woman. I rode past without even thinking to take a picture. Here it is from across the canyon. It's the spires on the right.

    We stopped at Buck Canyon which had some good views and then here at Monument Basin for lunch.
    This was pretty awesome.

    After leaving Monument Basin the road leaves the canyon rim and it's a lot of nothing.
    The pay off for making it through the desert is reaching White Crack and it's amazing
    canyon views.
    IMG_2127.JPG IMG_2134.JPG

    The intention was to get up early Wednesday and bike to the old miners camp before hitting the road to Murphy Hogback.

    Again, with reality in front of us there was no way a bike was going to make it down from the canyon rim. Not because it was too steep, but because from the canyon rim there isn't much of a trail. It's all boulders. Very large boulders. I debated carrying bikes down and then biking, but our experience in Lathrop the night before was enough to dissuade even the most ambitious bikers among us.

    I am inspired by desert flowers that seem to grow and bloom in spite of such harsh conditions.

    Leaving White Crack. Destination: Murphy Hogback.

    The canyon views just don't stop and they don't get any less amazing.

    There are a lot of ups and downs throughout the road, but two hills are so nasty they've been named.

    The first is Murphy Hogback. From the bottom you can see the road cut into the side of the hill. IMG_2182.JPG

    Looking up Murphy Hogback

    Looking down

    Without doing the miner's camp this morning this turned out to be a short day of biking - only six miles. That left a lot of day to rest and just knock around.

    Most of us chose to enjoy the shade and nap.

    Later in the day we did some exploring around the canyon rim.
    IMG_2208.JPG IMG_2213.JPG IMG_2212.JPG

    Thursday the sun rose opposite our canyon view, but as always it was a sublime desert morning.

    Here's my bike - a Specialized Pitch. I bought two of them. It is an entry level bike but Ive found it to be a very reliable and capable bike. (Now I just need to take off all the reflectors)

    The back side of Murphy turned out to be a challenge in its own right. Not so much for the bikers but for our support vehicles. We filled in a bunch of rocks there on the right to reduce that drop off. It took some maneuvering and slow going but everybody made it down okay.

    The same can't be said for this truck. Later we found out that this was the sanitation truck, which explains, at least partly, why the bathrooms were so nasty. They hadn't been serviced in a month.

    Candlestick Tower

    Then came our highlight of the day Holeman Slot Canyon. I really need to check into some beginning canyonering because my boy just loves this stuff.
    IMG_2249.JPG IMG_2267.JPG IMG_2269.JPG
    To be continued . . . .
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016
    Curt, danger02ward, piper01 and 10 others like this.
  2. Vegan.Hiker

    Vegan.Hiker TR or it didn't happen

    Mahwah, NJ
    This is fantastic! Thanks Dr. Ned. Looking forward to more.
    DrNed likes this.
  3. Artemus

    Artemus I walk

    better off outside
    Great, Doctor! Glad you had fun. Whoa on the wreck. Did anyone get injured did you hear. Must have been a park service employee.

    Did anyone clean Murphy's Hogback? That term means riding it top to bottom without stopping or touching a foot down. We all aspire to clean all the cruxes.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
    DrNed likes this.
  4. Dave

    Dave Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"

    Yes! All of your planning really paid off.
  5. Mike K

    Mike K Member

    Looks like great fun. I'm sure those boys will remember that trip forever!
  6. DrNed

    DrNed The mountains are calling and I must go

    There was a note at the road above the accident stating that the accident had been reported and that the driver had been air lifted out. Later we learned from a ranger we met on the road that the driver had been "impaired" and went over the edge.

    My friend Jerry cleaned all the hills, including Murphy and Hardscrabble. When we go backpacking he's referred to as Sasquatch because he can hike for days at twice the speed as everyone else. On this trip I called him Three Times because he did three times the mileage as everyone else. He would go out with the head of the line and then go all the way back to the last person and go with them to the finish.
    Mike K and Artemus like this.
  7. DrNed

    DrNed The mountains are calling and I must go

    That was the plan!

    . . . And, hopefully, install reverence for the outdoors and wild places.

    Nick and Artemus like this.
  8. DrNed

    DrNed The mountains are calling and I must go

    I think so.

    I love the planning and the anticipation of a trip.

    As it turned out we didn't do the miner's camp, even so your advice
    was greatly appreciated and I look forward doing it in the future.
    Artemus likes this.
  9. Glasterpiece

    Glasterpiece Member

    North Salt Lake, Utah
    Thank you. That brings back so many memories. I haven't been on the White Rim since 1982. Holeman Spring Canyon was always a must stop.
    Mike K and DrNed like this.