Because of the 3-day weekend, we planned an active weekend for ourselves in Moab, UT. We began the weekend, though, by picking Chloe up at school on Thursday afternoon and beginning the 6-hour drive across Colorado and into Utah.
Friday morning we got ourselves over to a local bike shop to rent some mountain bikes for Peggy and I (we brought Chloe's bike along), and then over to the trailhead for our ride. The plan was to do the 10 mile (approx.) out-and-back ride -- and the approximate 1-mile roundtrip hike into Arches National Park -- in the morning and early afternoon, and then head onto over to another trailhead to do an 8-mile ride there. But first things first... we had to get this first ride in the books first.
So we set off on our bikes, bundled up a bit due to the chilly temps, but excited to have this little adventure ahead of us. The first part of the ride was mostly jeep road... wide, relatively smooth and easy to navigate. After a couple of miles into it, we got on the slickrock that this ride (and Moab) is known for. This section was definitely wide like before, but more challenging in that it was a gradual ascent for a couple of miles, and required more bike-handling skills to negotiate the various idiosyncrasies of the rock surface. These "challenges" aside, this section was definitely a highlight of the trail for marked by circles of rocks were dinosaur footprints! There were probably about 15 or so footprints marked... though many required some "interpretation," there definitely were others were we found ourselves saying "Wow!"
We continued our way up and along the slickrock and eventually made our way back onto a 2-mile long jeep road that would take us to the border of Arches National Park. Once there, we had to lock our bikes up to a rack and walk the remaining half-mile or so into the park and our scenic lunch spot. And just like our reaction to some of the dinosaur prints, we once again found ourselves saying "Wow!" We were in the Klondike Bluffs area of the park, and the rock formations here seem other-world-ly. They are unlike anything else we've seen. We were exposed to the cool breeze of the day now, so while we enjoyed the view for a bit, we also felt it was a good idea to not stay too long and get too chilled. We walked back to our bikes to begin our descent along the roads and slickrock back to our car.
By this point, I could definitely see the increased confidence and bike handling by both Chloe and Peggy... I've done such riding just once before so am by far not an expert, but I knew some basics about riding mountain bikes and what they can handle. They haven't, so it was all pretty new to them. On the descent, they really impressed me – Chloe's bike doesn't have a rear suspension so she got jarred around a lot, and Peg's bike's front brake was acting up – and began to look comfortable riding their bikes in this environment.
We made it back to the car around 2:30p, quickly loaded up the bikes and headed over to the next trailhead. Once we got there, though, the brief rest from the car ride seems to have germinated some concerns about doing this next ride... Chloe's legs (and butt) were pretty tired, and after some feeble attempt to improve it, I couldn't do anything to improve Peg's bike's brake (and doing another 8 miles or so, while "active" wasn't "fun.") We gave it the ol' college try nonetheless but after a little over a mile, it became evident it wasn't worth going on... Chloe was lagging behind, and Peg's front wheel was making sounds akin to the communication groans of humpback whales.
I once again loaded them on the car, and we headed back into Moab to return the rental bikes and enjoy some post-ride nourishment at a local eatery. And of course, toast a great family bike ride.
The rest of the weekend, though, didn't pan out as active as we had hoped. The plans for Saturday was to do a 7.5 mile hike in Arches, on a trail that would take us by several of the rock formations that are the park's namesake. During Friday night/Saturday morning, though, Chloe got wicked sick and vomited over a fair portion of the upstairs of the house we were staying in. Peg and I were definitely "active" during this portion... she scrubbing carpets, and me driving into town at 1:00am to visit a laundromat. The rest of Saturday was spent just hanging out... I was able to watch the Pitt v Louisville football game online, and thanks to Hulu, we were able to catch up on episodes of "The Office" and watch several episodes of "Ugly Betty."
We hoped we would be able to do a little of Saturday's hiking on Sunday, but Mother Nature had other plans: As we entered the park, it began to drizzle... and it drizzled the entire time we drove through the park viewing the sights visible from the road. As irony would have it, the rain stopped as we were exiting the park and heading back to Boulder.
Oh well... we plan on heading back to Moab again some day, and who knows... maybe there are mountain bikes in our future!
Pictures from this trip can be found here.