10 Days of Utah Desert Madness!!
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09-23-2008, 09:10 AM
Joined: May 2007
Sleeping in the dirt is the best!!! Here’s what our camps all look like.
This little bench we were on was a perfect place to stay the night.
Our minimalist approach doesn’t allow for much of a mess kit. It includes a metal cup to drink, eat, and cook with over a fire; a spork; a little tin foil; and an “adjust-a-fork” (more on that later) for cooking various meats. The routine in the morning is to heat up some noodles or oatmeal first. Then some water and coffee with just a splash of Old Crow to sweeten it. We refer to this as “croffee”.
After enjoying our croffee up on the bench it’s time to back track down to the road. We’re not happy that the route didn’t go through but this happens when you’re on an adventure. This stretch of pavement was not the worst by any means. It was a very scenic 10 to 15 mile stretch.
We find a bridge that takes us to a gravel route heading in the direction we want to go.
This road ends up being really stunning running along the river.
Not sure what was up with the old bracing up on the wall. Maybe an old mining trolley.
Our next stop was this place to restock on water, food and Old Crow.
Now we’re getting into the thick of it. Our shaky map indicates a route that will take us down into a valley that we want to cross. This area is littered with old mining roads. We think our route is the one that you can see running parallel to the cliff through the Junipers in the background. We’d find out later it wasn’t the route we wanted.
A typical problem is there are a ton more roads then many maps show. This makes it tough to choose the right one. Lots of these are not well traveled and potentially washed out beyond passable.
Here we are heading in the direction we want.
Not much left of this old route. It’s amazing how the desert reclaims itself.
The route dead ends here giving us a view of the valley we want to get to.
We back track a bit and try another route that proves to get us a little closer to our goal.
We again end up on sparsely traveled routes, just what we’re looking for.
However, we spend the majority of the afternoon wrestling these old roads only to find dead ends.
I’m in my element ‘cause I know the route goes through. My partner is starting to question my sanity. I figure if we don’t find it this time I’ll come back a different day. We about exhaust all our options when we find a route that will take us down. The only problem is it’s about 150 feet down from this road we’re on and there’s a few cliffy sections separating the routes. I suggest we take off the gear and walk it down then remove the tanks and bring them down. We can then walk and belay the bikes with a length of nylon webbing. At this point our democratic method of route finding quickly turns to a dictatorship and my partner announces this is not going to happen. I think his quote was “it’s not like we’re discovering
!!” We are discouraged and getting tired and we are coming to terms with backtracking through a long section of demanding terrain. Now we’re really on an adventure!!!
After a little miscommunication, we get split up for a few minutes. My partner unintentionally stumbles onto the route we’ve been searching for. This was just what needed to happen to him as he was getting pushed to the brink. We regroup and start down.
Here’s the old cut that’s on our map.
It’s steep, rocky, loose and difficult. PERFECT!!!!
It doesn’t get much use these days but it’s still there. You always take a little chance that you may have to climb back up something like this if the route doesn’t pan out.
This route does pan out and we’re feeling that our strenuous afternoon payed off. I drew the route in yellow in this photo. These routes are not only physically demanding but mentally taxing as well. It’s a good test to see what you’re made of.
I think you know the scene here. We think we’re minimalists but there’s still one more category to go. I’ve heard of guys who don’t bring sleeping bags or pads. They just put on all their clothing, put their helmets back on to act as a pillow and lay down in the dirt for the night. We’re not quite there yet but we’re striving for it. Maybe next trip.
How good does the bourbon taste: the best we’ve had yet!!!
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