White Rim On A White Bike

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
.
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Messages
1,016
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.
IMG_2027.JPG

After checking road conditions at the Visitors Center we were ready to go.
DSCN2345.JPG


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.
IMG_2034.JPG

IMG_2035.JPG


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.
IMG_2037.JPG


After the group was back together, again we were on our way . . .
IMG_2038.JPG


Then it was a stop at Musselman Arch, named for Ross S. Musselman and not for . . .
IMG_2041.JPG


"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.
IMG_2061.JPG


We had more bike issues in the first 10 miles than we did the whole rest of the week.
IMG_2050.JPG


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.
IMG_2075.JPG


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.
IMG_2087.JPG



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.
IMG_2099.JPG

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.
IMG_2100.JPG


We stopped at Buck Canyon which had some good views and then here at Monument Basin for lunch.
This was pretty awesome.
IMG_2118.JPG


After leaving Monument Basin the road leaves the canyon rim and it's a lot of nothing.
IMG_2123.JPG

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.
IMG_2140.JPG


Leaving White Crack. Destination: Murphy Hogback.
IMG_2141.JPG


The canyon views just don't stop and they don't get any less amazing.
IMG_2143.JPG


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
IMG_2190.JPG


Looking down
IMG_2188.JPG


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.
IMG_2220.JPG


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)
IMG_2227.JPG


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.
IMG_2229.JPG




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.
IMG_2230.JPG


Candlestick Tower
IMG_2246.JPG


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 . . . .


Well, it's been 18 months, but having not finished this TR has been nagging at me ever since . . .

One thing I did mention. When we arrived at the Murphy Hogback camp, one of our vehicles left for non emergency reasons, planning to be back that night. Well, plans, as I've discovered don't go as planned.

In their attempts to get back to the Visitors Center their truck got two flat tires. One guy was able to hitch a ride out with someone who drove by. Once he got out he called for help. The other guy stayed with his truck. Around 11:00 that night the Moab tow service arrived with a spare tire. He uses his spare and the tow service spare and drives out to Moab, sleeps in the tire shop parking lot and gets new tires first thing.

I mention this only because if you look on the Canyonlands NP site they say to come prepared because if you need to be towed costs will be $900 or more. To bring the spare, no towing involved, no changing of the tire, just bringing the spare, an even $1000 bucks. I definitely went into the wrong business.

So it made for a nice little reunion when we ran into him driving towards us just before reaching Potato Bottom.

Here's the Potato Bottom site and Brian telling us all about his experience the night before.
IMG_2277.JPG


The good thing about this spot is its got a tree and so there is natural shade. Hallelujah!
The bad thing about his spot is its only 30 yards from the river so the bugs were bad!

We did find a nice rock that made for a good ramp and having a jumping contest all evening.
IMG_2310.JPG


The bike from Potato Bottom to Labyrinth had the side trip I was most excited about - Fort Ruin and the Outlaw Cabin.

The path to the ruin is well marked and easily seen from the road.

Here we are hiking towards the ruin. The path is going to take us to the back side of the this butte and then we'll work out way to the top.
white-rim-trail_26857721774_o.jpg


Here we are working our way up onto the top of the butte.
white-rim-trail_27187120210_o.jpg


Fort Ruin
white-rim-trail_26861714793_o.jpg


The top of the butte gave some great views of the river.
white-rim-trail_27433783146_o.jpg
white-rim-trail_27427988136_o.jpg


Then we got down off the butte and hiked over to the river and the Outlaw Cabin.
white-rim-trail_26859606294_o.jpg

white-rim-trail_27190324750_o.jpg


The rest of the bike to labyrinth camp site was uneventful.

When planning I was hoping to get Labyrinth A, which is right above the river with a beautiful view.
After our experience at Potato Bottom though, I was happy to be away from the river.

Some decided to do an extra ride up towards Upheaval Dome from here. I'd stayed and enjoyed some shade.

Escaping the desert heat at Labyrinth campsite B.
white-rim-trail_26891321503_o.jpg


Hiking around Labyrinth campsite.
white-rim-trail_26860081514_o.jpg
white-rim-trail_27205589100_o.jpg
white-rim-trail_27462625715_o.jpg

Saturday morning we were up early, breaking camp.
white-rim-trail_26861481443_o.jpg


The canyon and river are at their very best first thing in the morning.
white-rim-trail_27192187840_o.jpg


Starting up the switch backs
white-rim-trail_27456895146_o.jpg


white-rim-trail_26868945043_o.jpg

Top of the canyon.
white-rim-trail_27434680386_o.jpg


You need not be a biker, I'm not by any means, but if you're a fan of the Utah desert, you need to seriously consider, not driving, but biking, the White Rim Trail. It's an experience not to be missed.
 

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Last edited:

Artemus

I walk
.
Joined
Jun 25, 2012
Messages
4,414
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.
View attachment 46110
After checking road conditions at the Visitors Center we were ready to go.
View attachment 46107

We did a clockwise route of the trail and I highly recommend going that direction because 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.
View attachment 46108
View attachment 46109

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.
View attachment 46111

After the group getting back together, again we were on our way . . .
View attachment 46112

Then it was a stop at Musselman Arch, named for Ross S. Musselman and not for . . .
View attachment 46113

"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 think he'd approve.

After leaving the arch we start to get out first views of the canyons below us.
View attachment 46115

We had more bike issues in the first 10 miles than we did the whole rest of the week.
View attachment 46114

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 if you
have a bike that is close to being a mountain bike, you can do it, and I suggest you do.

Finally our 1st campsite was within view. Airport Tower.
View attachment 46116

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 was not a good road. It was terrible for biking too. Regardless, boys, mud and water always equals fun.
View attachment 46126


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.
View attachment 46120
Day 2 had us go by Washer Woman. I had rode past without even thinking to take a picture. Here it is from across the canyon. It's the spires on the right.
View attachment 46121

We stopped at Buck Canyon which had some good views and then here at Monument Basin for lunch.
This was pretty awesome.
View attachment 46122

After leaving Monument Basin the road leaves the canyon rim and it's a lot of nothing.
View attachment 46128
The pay off for making it through the desert is reaching White Crack and it's amazing
canyon views.
View attachment 46124 View attachment 46125

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 among us.

I am inspired by desert flowers that seem to grow and bloom in spite of such harsh conditions.
View attachment 46129

Leaving White Crack. Destination: Murphy Hogback.
View attachment 46137

The canyon views just don't stop and they don't get any less amazing.
View attachment 46131

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.View attachment 46132

Looking up Murphy Hogback
View attachment 46138

Looking down
View attachment 46139

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.
View attachment 46140 View attachment 46142 View attachment 46141

Thursday the sun rose opposite our canyon view, but as always it was a sublime desert morning.
View attachment 46144

Here's my bike - 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)
View attachment 46145

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.
View attachment 46146



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.
View attachment 46147

Candlestick Tower
View attachment 46148

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 kinda stuff.
View attachment 46149 View attachment 46159 View attachment 46161
To be continued . . . .
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:

Dave

Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
.
Joined
May 5, 2012
Messages
1,722
Yes! All of your planning really paid off.
 

Mike K

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2012
Messages
844
Looks like great fun. I'm sure those boys will remember that trip forever!
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
.
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Messages
1,016
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.

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.
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
.
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Messages
1,016
Yes! All of your planning really paid off.
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.
 

Glasterpiece

Member
.
Joined
Mar 19, 2014
Messages
546
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.
 
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