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.
From the top, looking down at the road below, we knew that this would be the road that they would begin on during their journey.
But 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.Before 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. LOLZooming in on Tom, he didn’t seem to have a care in the world.As they made their way to the first switchback, I found myself mentally telling them to go slow and ride cautiously.OK, first perspective shot … in the image below you can see a white vehicle making the left bend in the road trail.In this shot, you can see the same area with the guys hanging out on that corner cliff. Yikes!Then the carry on along the red dirt road, which was surprisingly smooth when we drove down.Once 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.So 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. Once 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.Most of the time, the road trail was clear and simply graveled.But 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….
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!We 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”.Eventually 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.After 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. When 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.
While 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!
Next on our journey is more mountain biking (and more) in Grand Junction and Fruita, CO.
© 2015 Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography