As one of the people we met stipulated: this is no longer a holiday or vacation but a way of life. And it is true. We are adjusted to the flow, the changes, the adjustments and being together so much. Also used to 4 seasons in one week, sometimes in one day which is common during this trip. We planned to leave on Sunday, alarm at 6:00 but after opening the door of our little trailer, which has the same age as Frank, we see that the weather did what was forecasted: snow is falling, mountains are not visible and it is cold. As we would have to climb to 2.900 meter to bike to Boulder we decided to postpone and stay in Torrey for another night.
Even when it stops snowing at 13:00 and Perrine & Thierry with their two boys, Martin and Joseph, leave to at least cover first part of the pass, we decide to stay and enjoy the quiet and rest for another day. The chilly but clear Monday morning is the re-boost of biking. Franks leg does feel much better so fingers crossed.
Biking uphill for me is as if my body needs to restart. First hours are dreadful, every so many miles I need to stop and rest because I am dizzy. Now it is not Franks leg that is delaying things but me. It feels as if my blood needs to be redistributed. We meet Robby who is on his maiden biking trip and straight away alone too.
Heading also to Boulder but he will stay at a Warm Showers address. If you do not know the concept; it is about people (often bikers themselves), who provide a place to sleep, a shower and often also food to cyclists, for free. You look up addresses and make reservations via internet.
We have not yet arranged anything and will see what we will do. After a few miles we meet Perrine and family again, what a great adventure to travel with 2 kids of 5 and 7 from North to South USA in 6 months’ time!
Amazing how strong they are, with the kids and luggage the bikes weigh between 80-100 kg. We can no longer complain that we have a heavy load! They also have arranged a Warm Showers stay in Boulder as they have been wild camping on the mountain last night. We reach the summit together and the descent comes after one last steep climb. Going down is amazing. Approaching Boulder I am stopped by a mountainbiker in yellow.
Host Scott is riding out to meet his Warm Showers visitors and wonders where we are staying. He is so generous to welcome us also to their beautiful home. Perrine and family have a little chalet to themselves, Robby and us have our own amazing bedrooms and own bathrooms.
What an unexpected luxury! Moreover the unexpected invitation for pancake with eggs and sausage dinner is topping things off. It is great to spend time together with Scott & Chris, Robby, Perrine & family and hear all the different stories. Scott and Chris spend summers in Boulder and they started Warm Showers after having crossed the USA by bike 4 years ago from West to East as a retirement celebration activity. The hospitality and support they received during their trip made them decide to pay this forward to other bikers. I admire their openness and support, even when they are now very busy with canning all their vegetables they still supply us with shelter and food. Beautiful stories are shared and in the morning we ask some more info on the missionary posting they have done when they were young and more recently. As Mormon you can volunteer to be a missionary when you are 19-20 and will be sent away for 2 years. In Scott’s case he was sent to Uruguay and Paraguay, 2 years ago he volunteered again to go somewhere together with Chris and they were send to Paraguay to help set-up small businesses. Having a young population and a community spirit in Utah helps the positive development of this region. Thank you again Chris & Scott for the warm welcome and insights. After a crunchy breakfast we visit the museum, giving insight in the way Indians lived before the settlers came.
After a perfect cappuccino at the trading post where we are lucky to meet Patricia Dinu.
Soulscape artist who changed from modelling to photography, catching the inner spirit of landscape. What a talent she is! As I found out that she has been a model, I now understand why she said she did not look her best for a photo. You see her emotions as she had to leave after being in the US for 3 months and lost her heart to this region. You can see some of Patricia Dinu on Instagram, try and click her name.
After this very interesting morning we finally started rolling up and down to Escalante. One of the most scenic drives we have had during the past months. We are at one of the steps of the Grand Staircase, part of the Colorado plateau, wind & water have carved valleys and canyons, we now bike between walls of different centuries and see the difference in age by the colours of the different layers.
In Escalante we stay at the local campground and meet Trista again, who we met at Gilford House in Capitol Reef National Park. She is here doing volunteer work with removing Russian Olive trees, which is non-native and spreads aggressively.
It is very cold at night and we treat ourselves to breakfast indoors. Just outside Escalante you have the most dense area of petrified wood. Hiking into the forest and uphill first makes you wonder if you would recognize petrified wood but once you have seen it, you see it along the whole walk. Amazing colours, weighing 3-4 times as heavy as real wood. It was worth the stop and hike.
After 50km we want to try wild camping but being in a more rural, hilly area means no spots available. After a long day we reach Cannonville where we are lucky to have the last room in the Inn and great spareribs from the food truck in front of the building.
Free toast and coffee for breakfast generate some extra flow in the grocery store linked to the Inn and also some extra turnover as all extra’s are to be paid for. I briefly meet Inge who is tandem biking with Peter, a loop in West USA. As yesterday was longer we only had a very short bike day to Bryce and have time to do a hike at Mossy Canyon where we meet Inge and Peter again.
In Bryce we decide to camp as we will be staying here for 3 nights and will be hiking during the days. We can pinch our tent anywhere in the tent area and are lucky to find a spot close to the heated shower cabins and behind a wooden fence which keeps some of the wind away. Some grocery shopping and needed laundry and we call it a day. At the grocery store we meet Inge and Peter again and will keep in touch if we can meet for dinner the next day. The night was extremely cold and getting up is even worse. We are rewarded with a extremely beautiful day, clear skies, not too much wind makes hiking in this area a dream. To reduce the traffic in Bryce a free shuttle is offered to all the highlights where most of the trails begin. We hike part of the rim, Queens Garden, Navajo Loop, Wall Street and the Peekaboo Loop trail. It was so beautiful and the weather so good that we -of course- overdid it. Last part of hiking up is really a struggle for Frank.
As we arrive late at the campground and it was soo cold yesterday evening (in bed at 20:00) we decide to go out for dinner with Inge and Peter, instead of cooking at the campsite. It was a great, fun, warm evening. Thanks Peter and Inge! You will find out in next week blog what we will/can do on Sunday in Bryce and the remaining discoveries of that week. Small revelation: we will do more activities than only bike and hike.