29 October 2014

Stardate 2014.827

Ruby Canyon, Colorado River, Horsethief Bench, Fruita, Colorado

Gimme Some Slickrock

It's a warm Thursday afternoon in October. Several miles to the east sits my hometown of Grand Junction, Colorado. Snowcatcher and I are on Day One of a multiday mountain bike getaway. We've just completed a 4-hour drive through the mountains, and it's time to ride! The high desert is getting me all giddy.

I decide to ride a portion of Mary's Loop, Horsethief Bench and a segment of the Wrangler trail. Snowcatcher plans to tackle Rustler's Loop. These trails make up the east end of the 140-mile Kokopelli Trail that travels between Loma, Colorado, and Moab, Utah. I take most of the day's photos along Horsethief Bench. However, these shots are representative of the riding along Mary's Loop as well.

The difficult drop from Mary's Loop down onto Horsethief Bench

The gonzo drop onto Horsethief Bench is reached after a short ride along Mary's trail. The drop onto the bench was much easier in 1987 when the route was first built. In its current condition, there probably is a small percentage of riders who can ride down it; I'm not one of them. For scale, there is a 3-foot-high sign and its shadow in the upper left of the photo.

Horsethief Bench, Fruita, Colorado

Once on the bench, I face delectable singletrack and sandstone riding.

Stone steps along Horsethief Bench, Fruita, Colorado

Lots of sand, rock and stone steps keep me on my toes.

Smooth flagstone sailing on Horsethief Bench, Fruita, Colorado

Riding along the bench can be smooth and quick in places.

Large stone step, Horsethief Bench, Fruita, Colorado

Not everything is easy rolling. Some hike-a-biking exists as well.

Ruby Canyon, Colorado River, Colorado

I especially don't want to miss any turns because I may turn into a living scab.

Horsethief Bench, Fruita, Colorado

Farther up from the river, riding is sandier and smoother.

Pinion/juniper ecosystem, Horsethief Bench, Fruita, Colorado

A pinion/juniper landscape dominates this corner of the world. Mary's Loop traverses the edge of the sandstone cliff directly above me.

Northern terminus of the Colorado Plateau

As the sun wanes, it highlights the tilted, northern terminus of the Colorado Plateau.

Old, narrow, two-track makes up some segments of the Wrangler Loop.

This very old, narrow, two-track, comprising a segment of Wranglers Loop, may have begun as a jeep road for uranium hunters. As usual, the ride was over too soon, and the Wrangler trail spits me back onto lower Mary's for the short pedal back to the car.

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  1. Some of those trails make me shudder. But all of those trails and all of that scenery make me drool, too. You've taken me on the most incredible adventures! Thank you!

  2. ¡Ay caramba! That drop ... I assume you walked down it? (Gulp.)

    So much beauty and solitude. I can see why you love those trails so much.


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