For some reason that I don't even vaguely understand, our internet suddenly crawled to life today after about ten days of sleeping. The repairman is due later in the week and will hopefully figure out this mystery. For the moment, I'm typing on an ancient computer after just being informed that my usual computer needs a lobotomy or to be replaced.
While all our technology went on the fritz, we took a trip toward springtime. We headed west, over the endlessly snowy Continental Divide, and downhill toward the western part of the state. Our first stop was near Fruita, Colorado, where we enjoyed a day before heading further west.
We camped with an incredible view of the Colorado River and the reddish cliffs lining it.
The river is a haven for wildlife, particularly migrating birds. Near the river, we spotted numerous bluebirds. I captured a male showing off his flying skills for a gawking female.
I rode my mountain bike on the gloriously snow-free and dry trails. I started our day near Fruita by riding with K. Although we weren't out early, we didn't see another person during our entire ride. I took it very easy on her because it was her first run on hard ground since her toe amputation. In the photo below, I'd decided that it was time for us to turn around and K looked appalled! The theme for the trip was that K's spunk, happiness, strength, and speed surprised me daily.
On our short foray, K and I spotted a few early blooming flowers. Woo! Spring!
Later in the day, I headed out for a longer ride solo, following a trail that teetered on the edge of an undulating wall of cliffs. In the photo below, my immediate path is in the foreground but the trail turned and followed the lip of the pinkish cliffs visible in the distance.
I stayed back from the edge because vertical exposure isn't one of my favorite things and it was windy. However, I loved swooping along following the erosion lines of the Colorado River's canyon.
Back in camp, I played with the Duo, taking photos of them on what appears to be a scary promontory but fell off by only about 3 feet behind them.
I had to take a photo of K's fabulous paws. I absolutely cannot believe how lucky I am to be riding with her again. When we decided to have her toe amputated, I believed, based on the vets' predictions, that it might mean the end of our mountain biking days. We lucked out, and we seem to have an incredible reprieve!
R stood in the same spot, barely containing his urge to scurry away and find out what kind of bird was rustling in the juniper trees.
Early the next morning, the ever-intrepid Runner suggested that I do a point-to-point trail ride and meet him a couple of exits west on the interstate. We studied the map, and it looked like the route would be easy to find. Ha!
I didn't follow the biggest trail in the area, the Kokopelli Trail, because it was a boring double-track in that section, Instead, I followed rim trails that paralleled the river and then needed to find a route up a headwall away from the snaking river to meet the Runner. That last step turned out to be a challenge. Fortunately, I decided to ignore the details of my map and follow my instinct after exploring and rejecting almost every option for going up the headwall. In the end, after some serious worrying that I was lost, I found the Labmobile only slightly later than expected. I hopped aboard, and we headed further west along the Colorado River.
I started wondering why I keep challenging my shaky navigational abilities with these solo point-to-point rides in unknown territory. The only answer that I could muster was that I like adventure and facing my weaknesses - and navigation is a huge weakness of mine. Without fear, we never get to exercise our bravery. As I feverishly pedaled that day feeling adrenaline coursing through my veins, I realized that K has to be brave every single day because mundane aspects of life scare her. For example, she's terrified of the steps down to our basement but she must navigate them to go for a mountain bike ride with me. So, each morning, she musters the courage to descend them, literally one step at a time with a pause on each one before reaching her toes down to the next one.
After driving into Utah, we camped near the top of a canyon with slick pink rock cliffs lining it. Being surrounded by towering cliffs sculpted by water and wind was awe-inspiring. Our campsite was secluded and quiet. Just perfect.
It rained shortly after we arrived and for much of the night. When we emerged in the morning, we could see fresh snow on cliffs that weren't much higher than we were.
Our foursome headed for a climb to the "Top of the World". It's the sort of terrain where a runner and a biker can travel together because a mountain biker is certainly not faster than a good runner and is sometimes slower.
After climbing rough rocks up an unrelenting steep pitch, we arrived at the top of the world. My bike is afraid of cliffs so it waited a good distance from the edge while we and the leashed dogs cautiously surveyed the valley that sat thousands of feet below us.
This was not the Grand Canyon but it seemed deep enough to me! It also was utterly devoid of other people - so we had solitude that we'd be hard pressed to find in a National Park.
It's an oddity that K did not seem afraid of the cliff but she's terrified of our steps in our house!
We lingered a long time at the top, enjoying the views and the quiet. We live in an amazingly beautiful world.
To make our day complete, we later took a sunset hike in the same valley as we'd peered down at from the "Top of the World". I'll tell you more about that tomorrow or whenever my internet connection decides to cooperate again. I'm hoping that it continues to cooperate for long enough for me to visit some of your blogs!