Monday, October 21, 2013

a Partial Zion Cross

This past weekend we were able to sneak away for a couple of extra days so that Ash could not only play with her new toy on some of Utah's best singletrack, but also do a mini version of the one-day Zion Traverse.  

Moab may be world-renowned for it's great mountain biking, but the truth is that the St. George area is arguably better (and is getting increasingly renowned for it).  The singletrack is killer, the technical riding is really athletic and demanding, and the setting is superlative.  

40-50 miles of snaky singletrack near St George
slickrock ramblin
this is way burlier than it looks; I swear!  
Dancin on the edge on Little Creek Mesa.  
working out her Red Bull Rampage line....
We have been wanting to do the iconic Zion traverse run in a day (or maybe as a 2-day) for a couple of years, and were hoping to make it happen this fall.  However, Ash has had a nagging hip injury, and after a five week wait to get in to see the miracle-body worker Emma, she figured that - like a car going into the shop - it would be fixed.  Alas, not only did she not bother to tell Emma that she was planning an all-day run in a couple of days, it wasn't quite cured with one session.  So as a compromise, we decided to do a run across a good chunk of Zion, without tackling the whole 47 mile deal, but with much of the best scenery Zion has to offer.  So instead of starting at Lee Pass on the Kolob Canyons area, we started at the West Rim trailhead (which, with only one car, was logistically way easier; we just caught a morning shuttle there with the Zion Adventure Center).  
The first few miles were roly-poly through this kind of terrain
then we started to drop a bit......
And then soon enough we started to get into "the meat" of the scenery:
The peaks and canyons of Zion are ridonculous
Soon enough we started seeing people, including a couple of guys just past where this picture was shot who asked "how far is it?"  We responded in perfect synch:  "to where"?  "Angel's Landing"!  I was tempted to tell the guys that they were quite possibly some of the only of the thousands upon thousands of people who make the pilgrimage up to Angel's Landing who actually not only missed the turn, but actually the trail itself turns away from Angel's Landing, which looms hugely right there!  But it was beautiful where they had gotten to, it looked like they could use a little exercise anyway, and I didn't necessarily need to reiterate their dunderheadedness (though oh-so-tempting), so we just pointed them back into the right direction.  

Soon enough we found ourselves on the valley floor, where we refilled our water in our geeky little running packs:

While our fellow adventurers refilled.....their kegs:

We trotted up the road to the weeping rock trailhead and started chugging up the hill, heading for the park's east entrance, and eventually arrived just in time to catch a ride with a nice Salt Laker who was happily a recent joiner of the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance!  
A great little adventure
and then back to the St Geo area, for more sublime singletrack:
This is actually only a few hundred yards from the freeway!
with some awesome slickrock, both cruisy and technical (Thanks Emma and Joe for the beta)
The joey factor of Utah's first and best national park and the adjacent town of Springdale is high, but the quality of recreation in that area is mega!

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