Living An Earlier Dream

In 2014, we visited Moab, UT and visited Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, and Dead Horse State Park, as well as Potash Road.  When in Canyonlands, we sat on the edge of Shafer Canyon Overlook and looked at the dirt ribbon winding roads beneath us.  Tom had said at that time that he would be back and would ride down into the canyon and out onto Potash Road next time, but on his mountain bike.  Well, on this day, he and his friends decided to do just that.

They arrived at the head of the trail – Shafer-Potash Trail – and prepared for their adventure.  Rachel and I planned to take the same route in the truck, staying behind them a bit, playing “sweep” for them, should any need arise.
20150712-DSC_440520150712-DSC_4429From the top, looking down at the road below, we knew that this would be the road that they would begin on during their journey.

20150712-DSC_5094But first, they had to get through the various tight switchbacks, with sheer drop-offs along the way.  I remember last year getting tense and a bit queasy just sitting up there and looking down.  It’s hard to get perspective on the enormity of the area and depth of the drops, but I’ll do my best to convey it to you.DSC_4339Before long, we got our first sighting of the trio as they began their initial descent.  I was nervous already … for them, but also for me, having to follow them.  LOL20150712-DSC_5049Zooming in on Tom, he didn’t seem to have a care in the world.20150712-DSC_5056As they made their way to the first switchback, I found myself mentally telling them to go slow and ride cautiously.20150712-DSC_5059OK, first perspective shot … in the image below you can see a white vehicle making the left bend in the road trail.20150712-IMG_2719In this shot, you can see the same area with the guys hanging out on that corner cliff.  Yikes!20150712-DSC_5070Then the carry on along the red dirt road, which was surprisingly smooth when we drove down.20150712-DSC_5074Once at the bottom of the canyon, they rode on the canyon’s floor along that Shafer-Potash Road.  At this point, we decided it was time to follow them.20150712-DSC_5107So off we went … thank goodness Rachel was driving, as I was a bit scared at the thought of it.  But Rachel was a real trooper about it.  20150712-IMG_2727Once we got to the bottom of the canyon, after numerous OMG moments and stops, we realized that in hindsight, it really wasn’t that bad and we both had a great sense of accomplishment.  Smooth sailing from here, we both thought.20150712-DSC_510520150712-IMG_272320150712-IMG_2736Most of the time, the road trail was clear and simply graveled.20150712-IMG_2739But sometimes, the road trail was difficult to navigate or even know which direction to take.  That’s the point I questioned our sanity in following down after them into the canyon.  But there was no turning backing now….20150712-IMG_273720150712-DSC_511020150712-IMG_2731

The scenery was quite beautiful down there … so iconic of the area as well … and we couldn’t have asked for a nicer day…. thankfully!20150712-DSC_5120We arrived at the potash plant evaporation ponds, which were absolutely the most amazing color blue (though I doubt it was natural) I’ve ever seen.  Even more striking than the glacier fed lake color, but a bit eery knowing that the entire area had fencing around it and signs for “No Trespassing”.20150712-IMG_2742Eventually we caught up with the guys, who had actually been stopping along the way waiting for us.  Guess that they might have been concerned with us getting down as well.20150712-DSC_512320150712-IMG_2748After I realized that I think that we had a rougher ride getting down there than they did.  So Glad that Rachel powered through it.  There’s no way that I would have done it alone.  20150712-DSC_4449When the road turned from red dirt to asphalt, we decided that we would pick them up, since we were then on our way to our next stop … Grand Junction, CO.  While the guys were loading up their bikes and gear, I took the opportunity to get some more wildflower images.  Yes, it was a nice sunny day.
20150712-DSC_5124While I’m sure that the guys had wonderful memories from Moab, my favorite memory (one that I still drool over) was from my amazing lunch at the Peace Tree Restaurant … YUMMY!
20150712-IMG_2755Next on our journey is more mountain biking (and more) in Grand Junction and Fruita, CO.

© 2015  Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography

Advertisements

The Whole Enchilada Experience

While in Moab, one MUST get out for some mountain biking (of course, if you’re not getting out to do some photography) and that’s what was on the agenda for the guys this morning.  We all traveled up to the Geyser Pass Trailhead, which is also the start of the “Whole Enchilada”.  The WE is not a single mountain bike trail, but rather a collection of 6 individual mountain bike trails of varying difficulty, all rolled up into the “whole enchilada” … get it? That’s right … 25+ miles!20150711-IMG_2714

They guys began to prep themselves for their upcoming ride … plenty of fluids, nutrition, cell phones, spare tubes, etc.  At the start of the trailhead, there were lots of wildflowers around, so I warmed up my camera as well.  🙂  I’ve always been fascinated by columbines … so pretty.

20150711-DSC_497520150711-DSC_4379Of course, I wanted to be sure that those torrential downpours from last night were not anywhere in sight.  Yes, it looked like a wonderful day for a mountain bike adventure.20150711-DSC_4978

We said our goodbyes, and good lucks, to the guys and they were off.  Rachel & I began to make our way off the mountain as well.  The scenery was spectacular from the La Sal Mountains.  As I looked out at the landscape, I couldn’t help but remember when we stayed up there years ago at Lake Warner.  Wonderful memories.

20150711-DSC_499020150711-DSC_499820150711-DSC_438720150711-DSC_5000

As we were headed down towards the highway, we noticed a man-made reservoir nearby and decided to check it out.  Being that Moab is pretty much dessert-like, the water contrasting with the mountains was a welcome sight.  This “lake” was called Ken’s Lake and there were some families and SUP’ers enjoying the water … and those gorgeous views.

20150711-DSC_5004

As I was starved for wildlife, I couldn’t help but notice this yellowlegs nearby.  🙂
20150711-DSC_439320150711-DSC_4403

We also found this dirt road where there were some interesting photographic subjects for us to shoot.

20150711-DSC_501220150711-DSC_500520150711-DSC_5022

More wildflowers were found along the way and I just couldn’t resist.  So bright and cheery.20150710-IMG_2704But alas, the day that started out so beautiful, turned very, very nasty once more.  As Rachel and I toured Arches NP again and got poured on, so did the guys.  At a 11,000 foot elevation, they were caught in that same downpour and in the midst of lightning bolts striking all around them.  Not a good thing.  We figured that they must have been getting rain, but we didn’t realize how cold they got at that elevation in the rain and wind.  OK, picture this … 4 guys (as they gained another rider along the way) all huddled up in an outhouse trying to stay warm and not struck by lightning!  You heard me right … an outhouse!  That was about 2 trails into their 6 trails planned for the day.

Now mountain bike trails, especially those not accustomed to the downpours, become dangerous places to ride.  The clay terrain can make it difficult for the wheels to even turn, for they get so caked with hard, sticky mud.  In addition, the trails deteriorate when ridden in those conditions.  Knowing that Tom and Todd abandoned their adventure … totally not having much fun as of that point.  Our traveling partner John and the additional rider (yes, the one from the outhouse) decided to continue on.  A “4-hr” adventure turned into a 9-10 hr journey.

As we waited for them to return, we hung out a bit at the local bike shop who had been dealing with rental bikes needing huge repairs as a result of the trail conditions.  Indeed, Tom & Todd spent the good part of 30 minutes at the car wash cleaning the mud out of every component of their bikes.  Then on to a warm shower and fresh, dry clothes.  :-).

Funny because when we visited Moab last it was in April and we never had a drop of rain.  Murphy’s Law, I presume.  Thank you Tom for listening to your head and not your heart and abandoning your ride and keeping me from the associated worry.
20150711-IMG_2718With another ride planned for tomorrow, they all lived for another day.  🙂  Stay tuned for the next blog post.

© 2015  Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography

 

High Hopes For Arches NP

So the cross country cycling road trip begins … at least for me, since the guys had already driven from Fairfax, VA to Park City, UT, including a stop for some mountain biking near Laramie, WY.  As was mentioned in the last blog post, the skies had cleared up upon our leaving Park City and remained that way during the 4 hour drive into Moab.

While Moab is a mountain biker’s dream location, for me, there was also Arches National Park just down the street from our lodging.  My new friend, Rachel (also a photographer) and I gladly allowed the guys to head up to the Slickrock Trail for some evening warmup riding.  We, on the other hand, headed up to Arches NP to catch the last bit of light and the accompanying sunset.  She had never been there and I had such amazing memories from the last time Tom & I met up with another good friend, Rodney, and got some wonderful shots, including some night photography as well.20150710-DSC_4874

The clouds were wonderful in creating a nice texture to the sky backdrop.  While there were some visitors milling around, we did our best to try to eliminate from our images.

20150710-DSC_4882

A quick check on the setting sun and those wonderful clouds made us excited for the eventual sunset.

20150710-DSC_4870

When the sun eventually set on the horizon, there was still a wonderful bask of warm gorgeous light on the red rock formations, so iconic of Arches NP.

20150710-DSC_4900 20150710-DSC_4895

At one point I noticed that there was a rain storm brewing, but it was off in the distance.  We did wonder how the guys were fairing with the storm, but for us, we remained dry and determined.

20150710-DSC_4916 20150710-DSC_4914

Then the colors started to emerge ….

20150710-DSC_4924…. and it was gorgeous!  Just about that same time, we could hear thunder and see lighting bolts coming down around us, though still off in the distance.  We also noticed that there were now 3 different rain downpours off in varying directions from us.
20150710-DSC_4372

The sky turned very dark quickly and we began to try to capture the lightning strikes around us.  OK, maybe not too successfully, but we gave it a good effort.  Then we decided that there would be no light painting on the arches for us tonight and departed.  In case you’re wondering, yes, the guys got some of the rain as well.  Tomorrow’s a new day.

20150710-DSC_4964

After dropping the guys off at the trailhead for the “Whole Enchillada” the next morning, we headed off back to Arches NP for some hiking and photography.

20150711-DSC_5028

But as you can see, the skies were once again not cooperating.  About 30 minutes into shooting, we got poured on, as we ran through the rain, thunder, and lightning, trying to keep our gear safe and dry.  Before we did, we were able to grab a few shots.

20150711-DSC_5029 20150711-DSC_5034 20150711-DSC_5036 20150711-DSC_5042

There’s something not compatible with lightning and barren exposures like the terrain at Arches NP.  While I had hoped to get some rest and venture out again in the middle of the night for night photography, the clouds made that an aborted effort.  I guess the rain had followed us and that I wasn’t meant to get much out of this side trip to Arches.  I wondered why … and hoped that I would find an answer somewhere along this road trip.  🙂

More to come from Moab, UT … stay tuned!

© 2015  Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography

 

Cruising Potash Road

Whenever Tom travels in the country, he always holds a fascination of learning the history of an area.  So when we were staying in Moab, he decided that one afternoon, in lieu of getting some afternoon rest, we would head out on Potash Road, just outside of Moab.

The road itself is in a gorge which follows the Colorado River.  It is a mecca for rock climbers and at any given time, they can be found in their helmets and harnesses along the shoulders of the road.

DSC_4007

DSC_4073

Also along the way, the area is known for the ancient rock art and petroglyph panels which can be seen roadside.  I found them quite fascinating.  When you would stop to observe the obvious ones, after some time, your eye would find more details, more panels, more pictures.  One could say even more stories from an era gone by.

DSC_3971

DSC_3965

Of course, there was one that was supposed to be a bear, so I couldn’t rest until I found that one … LOL.  Thanks to the guide on the roadside that gave me more direction as to where it could be found.

DSC_3990

Though we didn’t investigate this fully, there are also dinosaur tracks found along the way, for those so inclined to locate them.

Wildflowers were plentiful along the way, which complicated the red rock formations present, which contrasted so beautifully with the flowing waters of the Colorado River and the lush green landscape on its shores.

_DSC9531

DSC_4002

DSC_4035

_DSC4344

We even came across some type of lizard which scrambled near my feet and all but gave me a heart attack … wasn’t expecting that.  🙂

DSC_3996

Arches aren’t confined to Arches NP and one can access several different arches off of Potash Road.  One of the more accessible ones, visible from the road, is Jug Handle Arch.  Gee, I wonder where it got its name from?

DSC_4056 If one continued to take the more primitive road past the potash fertilizer plant, it would lead into Canyonlands National Park and all of its beauty that the area offers.  Yes, it was truly a wonderful and relaxed drive.  Though my body was craving my pillow, blanket, and mattress … I was glad that Tom shamed me into the afternoon exploration.

DSC_4066

On to Canyonlands NP and Dead Horse Point SP next … be sure to stay tuned.