Ode to the Kokopelli – A Fun Overnight Bikepacking Adventure

Mama let me take the Subaru!  Throw Dolphina on the rack.  Don’t stop for $5 gas in Benton.  Don’t run over hookers in Tonopah.  Entertainment options?   Caedmon’s Call cd, financial freedom podcasts, Greatest Showman soundtrack, UFC news updates, sporadic/static infused country stations.  12 hours, and a couple of PB&J’s later… adventure begins.

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Loma, CO – The Kokopelli Trailhead / start of our journey

Spend the night in Fruita.  Ride 18 Road with Brahm.  Eat pizza at Hot Tomato.  Grab Mama a bomber of Hef at Copper Club.  Talk to the Big Agnes peeps at Fruita Fat Tire Fest.  Jam out to Moab.  Meet Kevin.  Grub at The Brewery.  Grab some groceries.  Dial in the bikes/ kit.  Meet Kevin’s homie who’s gonna take us to Loma in the AM.  Watch as him and his buddy desperately try to smoke weed oil out of some high tech electronic deal.    Grub some more at the Blue Pig.  Get some crappy, anxious sleep.

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All smiles.  Let’s go ride a bike.

9:30am, hit the trail a bit later than we should have.  After all, we’ve got 140 miles and 15k climbing to ride.  On the bike, turn pedals.  Simple life.  Ride.  Drink.  Eat.  Take pics.  Eat more.  Soak in the journey.  IMG_1158IMG_1167

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A little HAB on the Western Rim Trail

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Mary’s Loop – check out the rafts in the CO River below

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singletrack bliss

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Kevin snuck in this shot of me – yahoo!

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Whaddaya know?  It’s late afternoon, and we’re just cruisin’ in to Westwater, about 40 miles in.  Kinda slower than we thought we’d be.  So what.   Having a blast.  As we ponder filtering the silty CO River, a dude named Peter in a jeep decides to throw trail magic.  Boom.  Water is topped off, and so are we – onward to Cisco/McGraw Bottom.

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Good to meet ya, Doug

On the way we stopped for a bit and chatted with Doug from Aspen goin the opposite way.  He’s dreamin’ about bummin a beer off some RV’ers when he gets to Rabbit Valley, and gives us beta on the massive snow hike-a-biking in the La Sals.  Rock on.  Homie was carrying 2 gallons of water.  Gladiator spec.

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Forest by McGraw Bottom reminded us of the Willows on Stagecoach 400 route

 

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Magic hour heading towards Yellow Jacket Canyon

Got about 65 miles in and 6k climbing on day 1.  Set up camp at a nice overlook spot.  Drink some gatorade.  Stare at stars.  Listen to cows moo in the distance.  Drift to sleep.  Awaken to dawn’s light.  Invigorated.  Brekky consists of yogurt covered pretzels, an apple and a beautiful sunrise.  Let these moments soak in.  Blessings.  Pack it up.  Leave no trace.  Start climbing.  Easy morning pace.  Chatting about who knows what.  Look around, breathe it in.

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Home for the night

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Morning vibes

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This sunrise didn’t suck.  

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Near Buck Spring – Fear and Loathing formation

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Jackpot.  Clear sping water to fill up on!

After a little treasure hunt, Kevin found a clean pool of cold water seeping out of the rocks.  Joyous.  Filled up and kept movin towards Dewey.  Startled this naked dude drinkin his morning Joe.  Quick chat, ride bikes more.  Now we’re really climbing.  Heat is rising.  Kevin’s pace is really slowing through Cottonwood Canyon.  No biggie.  I wait at the top, eat some snacks, and listen to my thoughts.  Nice and easy.

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The old Dewey Bridge that sadly burnt down

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Hiking down Rose Garden Hill

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Glad I’m not this guy.

Slow gets slower.  Kevin is now walking where he should be riding.  Dry heaving, looking like crap.  Seems like heat stroke.  About 25 miles to Moab, with a bunch of climbing to the high point in the La Sals.  He’s not gonna make it.  Won’t drink.  Won’t eat.  I guide him to Hidden Campground where there’s a stream.  Soak the feet.  Soak the head.  Lie down for a short nap.  Feeling better?  No.  Choice 1 – camp here and see if he’s better in the AM.  Choice 2 – backtrack a bit, and descend Onion Creek Rd to civilization, get cell service and call for a ride back to town.  We chose 2.  Onion Creek Rd wound up being one of the highlights of the whole trip.  A gorgeous 10 mile descent to the Colorado River – an amazing way to give back the elevation we’d been gaining all day, and in hindsight, the best choice for Kevin’s health.

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Luckily, Kevin recovered quickly from heat stroke and the good memories will live on!

He was lookin grim at the bottom.  Got to town.  Burger King drive thru – coca cola.  It’s Cinco de Mayo.  Got a room at the Super 8.  A shower and some spa water from the lobby.  He’s getting color back in his face.  Meet Brahm at Fiesta’s for some food.  Although not feeling well, Kevin’s doin much better, tellin tattoo stories and drinkin a Modelo.  As I write this a few days later, he’s already planning the return trip!

All in all, we rode 107 miles and climbed 12k over two days.  Another great journey.  Destination not as planned but we got there nonetheless.  Thank you Kokopelli, you haven’t seen the last of me 🙂

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