gooseberry '03

 

Pictures from a quickie trip to St. George, Utah.We hit town too late on Friday to make the scheduled ride so we rode at the local park adjacent to town. Pretty good riding for "just" a town park.

 

Saturday morning found us at Gooseberry Mesa with temps in the mid-50s, a bit of wind, lots of sunshine, and loads of trails.

Click here for the morning view of Zion National Park

 


there are plenty of spines to ride


plenty of spines to roll


plenty of stunning views


some very happy cacti


some exposure


Bryce rolling


John in the same spot


Greg on a skinny section


John on a steep roll


Bryce on a steep climb


Gordon the wonder dog. Awesome trail canine


Gordo chasing JD


Ugly scenery


Kevin climbing a wall


Greg climbing to the rim


A nice place for a chat. Just don't step back.


Taking a view/food break


JD rolling over some endangered Sumatran lichen

 


Kevin picking some new lines across the way.

View of Zion/Flying Monkey from the point

 


Sunday was Broken Mesa Rim trail. Not too many pictures since I shot video during the ride.


broken mesa video

Behind the Zion Curtain

A quick road trip to Gooseberry Mesa and environs.

The trip came together in record time. A seed was planted via an email. My bluff was called, I had to pick some dates. The final decision was made within 24 hours. We were journeying behind the Zion curtain to the land of Arby's, polygamy, and brown water that masquerades as beer.

After an uneventful 10 hour drive (resisting the urge to stop in Vegas and play craps all night while drinking freebies) we hit St. George Utah to find the Fruita Toe Clip Mafia already firmly entrenched at the beautiful, and sumptuous, Quality Inn. Kevin, Jerry, Barant and Clancy were soon dragging our road-weary asses to a Mexican joint to regale us with stories of their ride earlier that day.

The next morning found us on the road headed to the trailhead on Gooseberry Mesa. Getting there was half the fun since the BLM has some tasty dirt roads with surprise gee-outs and driftable corners. We arrived in one piece, geared up, and headed out into the 50 degree (windy) temps to see if this place was all that it's cracked up to be.

The mesa is something that you would probably drive right by and never imagine how great the riding is. It's just another bit of pretty scenery along the highway but once you get on top a slickrock and singletrack playground awaits.


Marc on slickrock


Barent on slickrock

There are all kinds of bonus lines, drop-ins, technical climbs, and freeze dried wallabes to be found (no wallabes really I'm just making sure you're still awake).


Kevin and Jerry finding some slickrock love


Marc riding next to a gigantic sandstone fungus

We slowly worked our way up towards the point via a network of singletrack that connected various slabs of slickrock. In typical fashion we would stop and heckle each other as we attempted to make climbs that seemed impossible, until Kevin rode them and demonstrated how to be one with the rock.

At one point we got so sick of watching Kevin clean everything in sight that I taped a very sharp roofing nail to the tip of his saddle.


He was more careful from that point on.


The views of Zion National Park in the background weren't too shabby.

As we neared the "top" there was a nice stinger that made for some good photos (Barent, Barent, Mike, Marc)

Kevin obliged me by riding a sandstone eclair (eclairs aren't donuts by the way) that was just feet from a precipitous drop down the side of the mesa (Kevin, Kevin, Barent, precipitous drop).

Wacky rock formations abounded (Mike riding near some sandstone stubble)

As we neared the point the mesa narrowed (Kevin, Barent, pickup truck {middle left portion of pic} that someone accident drove backwards off of the mesa)

Once up top, we did what thousnads of riders have done in the past. We sat around and told lies while enjoying the view (check out Jerry's tee shirt. It was quite a hit with the morning Mormon crowd at the Quality Inn complimentary continental breakfast).

We headed back via the "red dot" trail that was pretty dang technical and eventually worked our way to Hidden Canyon.



Then each of us practiced our own personal post-ride celebration traditions (Barent, Barent, Marc)

Then we packed it up and headed down those fantastic BLM roads for town.

The next morning found us back at Gooseberry. A beautiful morning greated us, but the beauty was lost on Mike. You see, Mike brought his Yakima bike tray on this trip because it works with his Shimano discs. The problem with Mike's rack on this glorious morning was that his key to the rack was back in the hotel room in St. George. So while we rode, Mike drove back to get his key.


See you soon Mike!

We did get to see him an hour and a half later as he drove by on the highway below a vista point and he eventually joined us for the latter part of the ride. No pictures that day but lotsa video.

Our last day found us in the company of a secret government agent and her trail building associate. I have been sworn to secrecy about the location of the ride since it won't be ready to "go live" for another year and a half. One of the benefits of riding with a secret government agent is that they know where all of the good Native American stuff is hidden. We got to see some petroglyphs carved into "desert varnish." Many of the images are pornographic in nature but none of them include sheep (We were told that this is conclusive evidence that they were carved before the English reached the area).

The riding in this area included more, and much bigger slickrock sections and less singletrack (the group, Kevin finding the trail).

There were many "play" areas and each member of the group played intheri own special way (Jerry exerting his super-human powers and breaking a sandstone puck with his mind, Bryce finding the steeps, Kevin climbing steeply, Kevin descending off-camberly).

True to form, we found more wacky rock formations including these pock marks in the face of the sandstone.

Heck, they even have man made bridges out there (this one was built by Bryce). The photos don't do it justice. That crack is a 500' drop, at least.

Then Mike was struck down by the cycling Gods for the second day in a row when his SRAM derailleur spontaneously exploded after a tame brush with a juniper.

All the king's horses and all the king's men...

He and Marc ran, pushed, coasted the whole way back.

 

Then we piled into the car to sit in nasty Las Vegas traffic all of the way to Barstow. The end.

 

Video from this trip

 


gooseberry mesa
utah #1


gooseberry mesa
utah #2

Check the Colorado pages for Moab content since it's a frequent stop on the way to the Fruita Fat Tire Festival.