Canyonlands National Park

Today we biked to beautiful Canyonlands National Park. Formed by erosion from the Colorado River and its tributaries, the landscape is filled with amazing overlooks of colorful canyons, mesas and buttes.   A newly paved bike path took us back to Moab after leaving Canyonlands.  We plan to celebrate our accomplishments with our final dinner at a local steakhouse tonight.  After breakfast tomorrow morning, we say our good-byes until our next adventure.   Total mileage today = 67 miles.

Entrance to the park.

Entrance to the park.

 

Amazing views along the way.

Amazing views along the way.

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Mesa Arch

Mesa Arch

Mesa Arch

Mesa Arch

Mesa Arch

Mesa Arch

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Last dinner together.

Last dinner together.

 

 

Canyoneering

We had a day off from cycling today to do whatever we wanted.  I was the only one interested in doing some canyoneering, so I ventured off on my own and hooked up with a canyoneering tour group.  It was a total blast!

On the hike to our first rappelling site.

On the hike to our first rappelling site.

First rappelling site.

First rappelling site.

Two sisters from Denver, Colorado

Two sisters from Denver, Colorado

After a short hike from the trailhead we reached  a deep vertical shaft of sandstone creating the first drop. After a few minutes of discussing gear and technique, we clipped into the rope and rappelled down into a cool, dark canyon.

Geared up for rappelling

Geared up for rappelling

One.

One.

Two.

Two.

Three.

Three.

Four.

Four.

Five and then a long drop into a canyon.

Five and then a long drop into a canyon.

At the bottom of the canyon.

At the bottom of the canyon.

After we all made it to the bottom of the first canyon, we hiked along until we got to the massive Morning Glory Arch.  It is the sixth longest arch in the world and it is discreetly shoehorned into the canyon so that our hike brought us level with the top of the 243′ long span. The canyon floor plummets 100 feet below.  This rappel site is one of the most spectacular in the Moab area. We walked out onto the middle of the arch, draped the rope over the arch and, with a partner, we simultaneously rappelled off opposite sides of the arch, counterweighting one another!  It’s an amazing rappel in a truly spectacular setting.

Counter-balance rappelling from an arch.  Me on left.

Counter-balance rappelling from an arch. Me on left.

Very exciting!

Very exciting!

Picture taken from another angle.  Me on the right.

Picture taken from another angle. Me on the right.

Almost to the ground.

Almost to the ground.

Liz showing off her rope burned shoulder.  If you get too close to the rope it will bite you!

Liz showing off her rope burned shoulder. If you get too close to the rope it will bite you!

Our rappelling group at the end of our tour.

Our rappelling group at the end of our tour.

Arches National Park

Our ride today took us to Arches National Park, a preservation for more than 2000 natural sandstone arches. We started the day with a 3 mile hike to the Delicate Arch.  The scenery was breath-taking!  After our hike, we rode our bikes through the park which consisted of many long uphills and downhills.  It was an awesome day and we stopped often to take in the views and take pictures.

At the start of the hike to Delicate Arch

At the start of the hike to Delicate Arch

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On the way up to Delicate Arch

On the way up to Delicate Arch

Yuki and Diana resting along the way

Yuki and Diana resting along the way

On the way to Delicate Arch

On the way to Delicate Arch

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At the top.  Delicate Arch in the background

At the top. Delicate Arch in the background

Ellen and Diana

Ellen and Diana

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

I shared my granola bar with a chipmunk at the top.  Apparently its illegal to feed the animals.....sorry!

I shared my granola bar with a chipmunk at the top. Apparently its illegal to feed the animals…..sorry!

On the road through Arches National Park

On the road through Arches National Park

La Sal Mountains

La Sal Mountains

Indian Jones was filmed here.

Indian Jones was filmed here.

Windows Arches in background

Windows Arches in background

Sue and me at Windows Arches

Sue and me at Windows Arches

Balanced Rock formation

Balanced Rock formation

Yuki at the end of the ride...we were all really tired and looking forward to dinner!

Yuki at the end of the ride…we were all really tired and looking forward to dinner!

Resting spot 6 miles from the motel

Resting spot 6 miles from the motel

End of today's ride....Life is Good!

End of today’s ride….Life is Good!

Castle Valley

Today we biked out to Castle Valley for a special treat – a feast at our guide Patty’s home.  We had a two mile uphill climb to her house so we were all very hungry when we got there.  Patty loves animals….she has 3 dogs (all rescue dogs), 2 cats (one is 19 years old) and 3 horses.  After enjoying Patty’s hospitality, we biked north along the Colorado River and by Red Cliffs Lodge where we stopped to do some wine tasting and we checked out the small museum highlighting the movies filmed in the area.   One of my favorites, Thelma and Louise, was filmed here.  It was all down hill with a tailwind back to Moab in the afternoon.  45 miles total.

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Diana and me resting before our 2 mile climb to Patty's house.

Diana and me resting before our 2 mile climb to Patty’s house.

Patty's 19 year old cat.

Patty’s 19 year old cat.

Yuki resting after our feast at Patty's house.

Yuki resting after our feast at Patty’s house.

Me with John Wayne

Me with John Wayne

Wine tasting

Wine tasting

The road back to the motel

The road back to the motel

Corona Arch

Our first day of riding took us south along the Colorado River.  No rain today but quite chilly.  We biked past soaring red rock cliffs all day.  After a picnic lunch, we went for a 3 mile hike to see the Bow Tie – a pothole arch on the edge of a cliff rim, and Corona – a handle arch seemingly carved from the sandstone.  After our hike, we cycled back to our motel.  We cycled 41 miles through spectacular scenery!  We are 4000 ft above sea level.  I noticed that I was breathing a little heavier and tiring more easily today, but they say that after a day or two your body acclimates to the higher elevation.  It was a great day and I KNOW I will sleep well tonight!

My cycling buddy Diana, crossing over the Colorado River.

My cycling buddy Diana, crossing over the Colorado River.

Spectacular cliffs along the way.

Spectacular cliffs along the way.

 

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Stopped here for picnic lunch

Stopped here for picnic lunch

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Our 3 mile hike

Our 3 mile hike

Corona Archway

Corona Arch

gathering before dinner

gathering before dinner

dinner at Mexican Restaurant.  Great margaritas!

dinner at Mexican Restaurant. Great margaritas!

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Moab

I flew into Grand Junction, Colorado this morning.  It was cold and rainy…not good cycling weather!  I drove two hours to Moab, Utah from Grand Junction.  The temperature dropped to 34F and it rained and sleeted part of the way.  I thought “this is going to be a very interesting bike trip”!  I am in Moab now and the sun is out but it is still chilly.  I’m glad I packed for cool weather.  My bike arrived in Moab a few days before I did.  It was in pretty good shape even though the box had been damaged inside.  I re-assembled my bike and took it for a spin in the motel parking lot….seems to be shifting ok and the tires are true enough, so all should be ok.  We’ll see tomorrow.  We are planning to ride 41 miles.

Bicycle sculpture in Grand Junction

Bicycle sculpture in Grand Junction

 

My bike box

My bike box

 

My re-assembled bike.

My re-assembled bike.