Up much too early to fit yesterday's rained off ride in before leaving Moab & heading down towards the Four Corners area. Porcupine Rim is another one of those classic Moab rides that one must do - apparently. I was awake a lot of the night with nervous excitement - I probably shouldn't read too many reviews of trails that are beside the top of big cliffs & really technical. I managed to get Valerie out of bed to shuttle me up past the Slickrock Trail & further to LPS - an extra bit of singletrack that cuts out a three mile climb. The drive up in the dawn was absolutely beautiful & the road was quite interesting. As I'd only heard about LPS the day before & there wasn't anything to be readily found on the interwebs as to the trailhead (well not all that accurate) it was a bit of a mission. We gave up eventually, but then met a F-150 loaded with six bikes coming the other way - these guys showed me where to go. (For the record, the LPS trail head is directly to the left [NE-ish] of the cattle-guard that is the boundary of the state park & is signposted about five metres back from the road.)
It was a perfect morning for a ride, crisp & clear. Hitting the singletrack it was level & through trees for a while & eventually came out near the canyon edge. There was a few steep tight switchbacks that I walked for a little while, & then it was back to quite manageable trail near the top of the canyon. This wasn't nearly as bad as I had been led to believe - mostly the trail went towards the edge & then turned back, you were never riding along the side of the big precipice. The views out to the east were good, but I've been a little spoilt the last few days so I wasn't overawed.
Most of the rest of the trail was more of the same rocky doubletrack that was quite manageable. Only when the final descent to the Colorado River began did some singletrack appear. This was for the most part rideable by me, with the odd bit of walking - I'm still conscious of not wrecking myself with only three weeks of a three month riding vacation over. The final plunge to the Colorado looked like it would be steep & gnarly, but it wasn't really. I got through the 21 km distance & 1000m descent in about ninety minutes of riding time with no real risk & not really pushing it. All that was left was a pleasant big-ring push back to the motel at the other end of town. I wasn't overwhelmed - I'm still rating the Magnificient 7 ride I did two days ago as my Moab riding highlight, for scenery & singletrack.
Packed up, we headed south to check out another part of Canyonlands NP - the Needles area. The drive between the highway & the park was through a neat canyon with some good sights.
In the Needles area, there wasn't a lot you could see of the needles without a big hike or 4WD. Not quite as spectacular as some of the other grand vistas we have seen, the area nonetheless had its own charms. The variety & breadth of the mushroom formations was bewildering & we enjoyed a few short hikes around looking at these.
The La Sal mountains were also mostly visible (they looked stunning this morning when I was out riding) & Island in the Sky (where we had been yesterday in a thunderstorm) was also clear on the horizon.
Occasionally we could catch a glimpse of some needles off in the distance.
We spent the rest of our time looking at old cowboy camps & then grain storage that people eons ago had built. With only a couple hours' drive to Cortez (back in Colorado), it's been a relaxing evening planning tomorrow's trip to Mesa Verde NP & a bit of riding - I hear good things about the riding here in Cortez & nearby Dolores.
4 hours ago