The big Christmas vacation idea was to escape the cold, go south, and find warm summer like weather. It took us two days of travel to get far enough south for it to warm above 32 degrees. It was a blinding Blizzard one moment and then it was bear ground the next. So that is where we stopped; in St George Utah. Later we found out this was the warmest place in America for the couple days that we did stay there.
On the third day we decided to finally do what we had set out to do from the beginning. To go camping and exploring as if it were summer . We arrived at the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. Before we set up camp I had to do it, just get out there. At home snow was covering everything but here we were in the dirt. We set out on our fatties and begin to roll north along the red cliffs of the desert. I think this is called the Mojave Desert.
It was like a dream. To be out there riding in the dirt again. All the stress of doing an ultra fat bike race in the snow and cold were not present at the moment. It was just my partner and I in the sun and playing in the dirt. I set aside what was ahead of me in a week and started focusing on my surroundings.
The contrasts in the desert are something that I did not expect. Blue sky changing to white cap mountains. And then the white capped mountains turning into the red cliffs in the foreground. And then where the red cliffs disappeared into the valley floor that spread out before me. The sand we were on was a light tan. It was like really cool colors of a weird Mars planet like rainbow. And it was beautiful.
My partner I rode the trails as far as we could ride. When we reach the boundary were bikes are not permitted any longer we set out on foot. This was my first foray into a canyon off trail. It was everything I thought it would be. Soft sand beneath my feet and towering cliffs over me. This is where my soul belongs I thought to myself.
The first day in the desert was a great contrast to my life. My life was preparing for a 200 mile fat bike race in the snow. In contrast to this warm sandy environment where I did not feel like I was going to die if I fell asleep on the side of the trail. In contrast to my real life. My job and all the stresses of life. Being so busy, losing contract with friends. Here connecting with my friends the cliffs, the rocks, the sand. Connecting with the earth. And another thing, the people of this place. Everybody we ran into was way different than the people in Bozeman. Everybody was welcoming and warm and inviting. In contrast to home where they were cold, blank stares, and ready to kill you because you’re on their trail.
It felt like home as we rode back to camp and prepared for our first night. My home … in a Big Adventure.