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 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.
Once on the bench, I face delectable singletrack and sandstone riding.
Lots of sand, rock and stone steps keep me on my toes.
Riding along the bench can be smooth and quick in places.
Not everything is easy rolling. Some hike-a-biking exists as well.
I especially don't want to miss any turns because I may turn into a living scab.
Farther up from the river, riding is sandier and smoother.
A pinion/juniper landscape dominates this corner of the world. Mary's Loop traverses the edge of the sandstone cliff directly above me.
As the sun wanes, it highlights the tilted, northern terminus of the Colorado Plateau.
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.