Day 66: The Scenery on This Bike Ride Was The G.O.A.T.s
August 5, 2022
Bryce Canyon Pines Campground, UT to Cedar City, UT
74 miles and 4,110 ft elevation gain.
The scenery we saw on this day was the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time). We passed by hoodoos, caves, slot canyons, and actual GOATS (actually they were sheep but close enough).
We started off on a nice bike path out of Bryce Canyon with views of the Red Canyon. The bike path was at some parts wider than some of the roads we have biked on! We passed some hoodoos and also the trailhead where we started mountain biking!
Kamoot (a navigation app for cyclists) took us on a route through a road that eventually became waist-high in the grass. It was unpassable so we had to turn back.
This road turns into grass
We biked past a town called Duck Creek Village, where there was a lake called Duck Creek where there were many fishermen in waist waders fly-fishing in the water. It seemed like the village was known for its extensive ATV trails because we not only saw a lot of ATVs that day but we, unfortunately, got routed by google maps onto an ATV trail. These trails are designed to be super bumpy so that the ATVers can have a fun ride but it certainly didn’t make our ride super fun. We biked through many bumps, mud, and a couple of sections where the ground seemed to have a 45-degree incline, forcing us to get off our bikes and push them up the hills.
Eventually, we made it to our lunch spot at Mammoth Cave! No, not the Mammoth Cave National Park we visited in Kentucky back on day 20, but a different, less mammoth of the Mammoth Caves. We crawled into the cave with our little bike lights and crawled through the cave and out the other side. We looked up at the ceiling of the cave and saw a group of cute little bats huddling together (We thought they looked like wood ear mushrooms)! The cave itself got more narrow as we crawled deeper in. We were considering turning back when we saw a light at the end of the tunnel. We ended up crawling on all fours, with our bellies barely off the ground to try to make it out, and we all made it out!
After escaping, we were treated to a Philly cheese steak lunch with pork chops on the side. Yum. The next section of the ride was climbing up some mountains. On the way, we spotted a field of sheep! As we approached the sheep, we saw that there was a guy riding a horse next to them. “He must be a shepherd!”- we all thought as we slowed to a stop to marvel at what Robert, our local spokesperson for Smartwool would call “A vast field of merino wool”. The sheepdogs spotted us as we stopped and started barking at us. It was quite intimidating to have 5 dogs slowly surrounding us as they barked at us. We got off our bikes and used them to form a little barricade around us. Eventually, the dogs saw that we were no threat and left us alone. We went to take a closer look at the sheep. During our trip, there are some unreal moments that make it seem like we just got transported into a different time or space. It was almost as if we were in an episode of Midnight Burger, where every day the diner staff is transported to a different moment in space-time by their time-traveling, dimension-spanning diner. In this moment it was as if we were transported to one of the wide grasslands of Mongolia with large mountains in the background. Back to a time before industrial agriculture, a time when our lives weren’t filled with fancy tools and gadgets. The shepherd had his horses and his sheepdogs and that’s all he needed to get his work done. I was amazed by how in tune he was with his animals. He rode on horse bark with ease, while two loyal sheepdogs followed him closely by his sides and an unleashed horse slowly trailing behind. He told us that he had around 2,000 sheep! The skill it must take to keep track and raise that many. There weren’t even any fences to prevent the sheep from wandering off from the group or onto the road. It took a while before we could tear our eyes away from the sheep and continue biking across the country.
We got herded by these dogs
We continued climbing up the mountains, pass some lava flows and eventually at a scenic overlook at the Navajo Lake!
Lake + Mountain = Many Pictures.
Next, we stopped by the Zion Overlook. We didn’t get a chance to visit Zion National Park this trip, but at least we got a chance to see it from afar (as the crow flies, we were over 20 miles away from Zion). I got to visit Zion before our Spokes trip and it was a really beautiful park.
Power posing at Zion Overlook
The rest of the ride was even more gorges and gorgeous! We reached the summit at the Zion Overlook and the rest of the ride was downhill, through the Ashdown Gorge! Some parts of the ride reminded me of the views of the Virgin River cutting through Zion NP. We were going over 40 mph and going as fast as some of the cars! A car passed me only to have my catch up to it again. It was a relatively cool day so the windchill from riding our bikes at the speed limit for cars made us pretty cold. We stopped to enjoy the scenery and warm up together by penguin huddling.
Penguin huddling for warmth
The ride to Cedar City was a little less gorges but continued to be just as gorgeous. We stayed that night with our first warm showers host in a long time. We stayed with Pat and Ken who provided us with a yummy pizza party when we arrived. They talked to us about their experiences mining, owning a little free library, hosting for warmshowers, and driving support vehicles for cross-country cyclists.
There was some bad news for Dora, our Ford Explora. Dora apparently got a flat tire today. Without our S.A.G. (Support And Gear) wagon, our trip wouldn’t be possible! Tune in next time as Spokes tries to deal with the curveballs that are thrown at us.