Monday, April 29, 2013

Day 2 of the Kokopelli Trail

Guest post by RV Taylor

We awake early on top of a butte the sun rising near the La Sal mountains which are over 50 miles
distant, across the Colorado River. Ice coats the inside and outside of the tent fly. It’s cold! Eager to get an early start we wolf down bagels and hot but weak coffee. Shouldn’t percolators be relegated to the trash heap by now? Gear is packed up with not too much ado and we’re on our way. The road down the butte is like a slickrock staircase; pretty jarring for hardtail and full suspension bike alike. Mark, the only solo biker in the group joins our group today. Once we’re down on the desert plain the road flattens out and turns more sandy.

Power lines create excellent perches for red-tailed hawks and American kestrels. New spring wildflowers are sparse but provide welcome splashes of yellow, red and purple in this otherwise brown landscape. This is less exciting than yesterday’s trail but a welcome reprieve that allows us a chance to let our weary legs regain their composure. We’re heading west-southwest, the sun is out and we warm up quickly. We also hope that it’s firming up some of the mud that the recent storms created. After a few hours we turn towards mesas, slickrock outcrops and start climbing.
Up and over the rocky rims we descend a steep and rocky road to the river’s bank. Recently arrived
swallows circle the air above the muddy water (that’s why they call it the Colorado which means “red” apparently). Across the river we spot a golden eagle circling the opposite bank. After a break Jan wields his mighty whip again and we’re off.

Not too long after we reach highway 128. I decide to take the highway which will save me about 10 miles. Joining me are Kathleen and Chris from Iowa. Meanwhile Jan, John, and Doug decide to take the Yellowjacket trail – a decidedly more arduous itinerary which will put the days mileage at around 50.

The highway is an easy cruise to the Dewey Bridge which takes us to the other side of the Colorado. I remember on one of my trips to the area parking near the bridge one evening, walking out on the old bridge with my sleeping bag and sleeping there above the river. Since an arsonist set fire to it a few years back this is no longer possible, unfortunately. It’s still pretty early in the afternoon and we pedal up a steep jeep road a few miles to where Nick has set up our camp. Relieved to have made it through day 2, I have a little time to relax below the sheer sandstone cliff that towers above us and wait for the others to roll in.

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