Category Archives: moab

Gold Bar Rim to Portal

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We decided to do the epic Gold Bar Rim to the Portal Trail. This ride is a point to point ride, so we left a car a few mile up Potash Road, at the end of the Portal Trail and drove the truck to the start of the ride on the other side of the rim. It has been a few years since Kevin and I rode the trail, guided by “Dirty Bill”, but as we started much of what we encountered was extremely familiar. Mike had his new GPS so he could map the route out and have it for future reference. The beginning of the ride is a jeep road for a number of miles before you reach the backside of the rim to start the climb. Once you start to climb, it’s pretty much climbing constantly. We took a break in the shade a rock ledge, a quick snack and off we went to the rim. We checked out the awesome view for a few minutes, then proceeded to ride the rim towards the Portal Trail. We had planned on eating lunch in Pin Hole Arch, a very small arch right on the rim, very visible from the highway below, but almost impossible to see when riding. We had made some reference points to the arch from landmarks near the highway while traveling to the start of the ride, so we were pretty certain that we would find it. Good planning led us right to the arch and we took a few pictures and ate our food. Now that we had eaten the next portion of the ride is to follow the rim all the way to the Portal Trail. This is where the trail is difficult to follow, but there were a lot of cairns to guide us and eventually we reached a jeep road that both myself and Kevin recognized went to the Portal Trail. This trail is on the edge of a cliff and has some scary exposure to the river below, it is not for the faint of heart. The trail is short and in no time we were at the bottom to our car, so we could drive it back to get our truck that was left at the start of the ride. We took a little side trip down the road to see some petroglyphs and then headed back to town. An awesome epic ride. — John

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Sovereign Trail and Bartlett Wash

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We started out to Willow Springs road instead of Dalton Wells around 8 am to ride the Sovereign Trail in the opposite way in which I have ridden it before. Jill and Mike knew where the starting point was, so there weren’t any issues with the start of the ride. Kevin, Jill and myself took a bit of time for our lungs to adjust to Moab’s altitude, where Mike seemed to not notice the lack of oxygen at all. The ride in reverse was awesome and we were all having a great time and took us probably less than an hour, so we decided to extend the ride once we reached the turn around point at Dalton Wells. There were clues that we should have turned around soon after we started riding the new single track, such as the sandy washes we were riding in and the loose climbs, but we continued anyway. Big mistake….the sand got worse… the trail got worse, hike-a-biking, the temperature climbed and all the little bits of fun we were having on the new single track was offset by all the not so fun stuff. Three hours later we all were wishing that we had turned back before dropping into the new single track. We kept going forward until finally we reached a large wash that we followed back to Dalton Wells. We then took the pave road back to Willow Springs and decided never, ever would we do that single track ever again (you have been warned!). After getting more water and trying to forget about the nasty ride we just finished, we decided to go to Bartlett Wash, a huge freeform slickrock playground that is not too physically challenging, but is unbelievable in it’s vistas and tilted, rolling terrain. We did a bit of filming and picture taking, all the while having a great time. A great finish to the day! — John

Salt Lake to Moab

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Kevin, Jill, Mike and myself flew into Salt Lake City on the same flight. Kevin took a smaller plane into Moab and rented a pickup truck there, while we rented a car (Chevy Cobalt) in Salt Lake for shuttling and Jill drove us into Moab. What is it with Utah and Wendy’s? We saw a million Wendy’s on our way out of Salt Lake…every exit! When we got to Moab we met up with Kevin at the Gonzo Inn, where we are staying, got our rooms and headed off to the supermarket to get our supplies. We ended up renting four different bikes from two different shops. Chile Pepper Bike Shop had Kevin’s Santa Cruz Blur LT (nearly brand new with only one ride on it so far). While at Chile Pepper we ran into our old friend Jimi, a great mountain bike guide and mechanic (he also made a cameo appearance on a television show about the Great National Parks of the Southwest). We then headed over to Rim Cyclery to get Jill’s Specialized Stumpjumper, Mike’s Specialized Enduro and my Specialized Epic. All the rentals went without a hitch and the bikes seem to be in great shape. We ate a delicious dinner at out traditional “first night at Moab” restaurant, Pasta Jay’s, discussed which rides we would like to do the following day, then headed back to the Gonzo Inn to setup the bikes for tomorrow’s adventure. — John