Saturday, May 4, 2013

Kondike Bluffs

For our ninth and final riding day of the trip, Dave and I decided to hit the Klondike Bluffs trail system just north of Moab. It looked big enough to get 4-5hrs riding time out of it without repeating anything. There were already many cars in multiple parking lots at our late morning start.

We parked by the highway rather than taking the small rental SUV off-road on potentially rough surface to the closer-in trailhead parking lot. Might as well get a warm up in those three miles instead of going not much faster sitting in the car.

We went out on Dino Flow, described at a "flow" trail, 95% on dirt. It was exactly that. You'd never know Dave had been riding nine days straight by how he took off on this trail. It was wicked fun and polar opposite from the Captain Ahab trail we rode the day before.

At the far end of the trail system, we reversed direction on a parallel trail called EKG. It didn't take long to learn why it was thus named. It travelled much higher up on the bluff and was almost entirely on white slickrock. It carved sizeable chunks of vertical up and down while working in a southerly direction. Deep digs were required every 2-3 minutes for the next half hour. Not good for weary legs.

Back near the main trailhead, we took 4WD track Klondike Bluffs up to the height of land. This started as dirt but soon gave way to 100% slickrock. I think we gained over 400ft on white slickrock. Near the top was a spur out the bluffs viewing trail. We had to ditch the bikes at the boundary to Arches National Park, as bikes are not allowed off-road in the park. This was far from paved tourist road and the arches, but national park land nonetheless.

A half-mile hike brought us to a good vantage point. Seems other riders had the same idea, as about 20 bikes were ditched at the park boundary. Interesting rock formations. We hung out there for a while, ate, and just enjoyed being outside in ideal conditions.

Back on the bike, we worked our way over to a trail called UFO. Marvelously fun. Lots of speed. Some more doubletrack climbing brought us back up to the ridge line where we picked up Mega Steps. This trail traversed the ridge for a while before beginning a ruckus multi-mile plummet back to the bottom, much of it on slickrock. Nothing very frightening here, although a mistake at speed would come with severe consequences. Here's a photo dump in no particular order.

4WD track up to Klondike Bluffs. Many riders heading up.

Myself on EKG

Dave and others further up on Klondike Bluffs track. All slickrock, steep at times.

Boundary of Arches. Dave entertaining which high-end bike he wanted to ride back down.

The Bluffs with La Sal's in background

Dave on the Bluffs from further back on the ridge

UFO trail

Jasper Trail. Very barren area. Reminded me of Haleakala.

Back at the bottom, we snaked around a bit on Agate and Jasper trails, all on gravelly surface, buff and fast. I was out of water and needed to rap up the ride with over four hours moving time already on the Garmin. We finished with 38.2 miles, 3900ft, 4.4hrs moving time on the Garmin. This included the hike out to the bluffs.

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