Monday, June 1, 2009

Southwest Trip--Day 4

Yeah--Gooseberry Mesa! Okay, I'm getting ahead of myself. Jean and I woke up to some a very cool desert sky, the lingering effects of a night that threatened to have some rain.

But that sky cleared up fairly early, and it was another beautiful day on tap in southern Utah. We filled our bellies at Cafe Soleil again and then made the arduous drive to one of the area's mountain biking mecca's, Gooseberry Mesa. While only about 15 miles from our B&B, the road to GB's trail head was a bit rough on our rented Rav4. There was an especially steep hill on Smithsonian Butte Rd, a hill that I believe the locals call "cry baby hill." It's almost 1,000ft (elevation) of nasty. Our little Toyota made the climb and we rumbled along miles of dirt roads to the GB trail system.

Gooseberry Mesa is a mountain bike "destination" and I was psyched to finally be able to check it off the "to ride" list. In terms of total mileage, the trail network proper isn't that large (maybe about 20 miles with the North and South Rim trails), but the scenery is beyond words (think "stunning," "spectacular," "OMG"). And, with the 4x4 trails and fire roads, you could here all day.

We did a short warm-up on the Windmill Trail, about 3-miles of great views, singletrack, slick-rock, and of course, one windmill. From there, we made our way over to the White Trail, Practice Loop and some of the North Rim., and we were rewarded with MORE great vistas. My trail speed is definitely inversely proportional to the amount of scenery I get on the trail, and this is exponentially slower when I'm taking photos every few minutes!

Anyway, after some great trail riding, we made our way back to the car and took the "long" drive home... longer by distance, but about equal in time. We parked back at the B&B and headed out on the bikes again--this time for a ride that was mostly on-road to the old town of Grafton.

Grafton was billed as a ghost town, but it was kind of a disappointment. First, we were thwarted on our ride. As the road made its transition from pavement to dirt, we encountered a sand storm, and I do mean sand storm! We were riding along when suddenly this looming cloud of sand started coming down the road towards us. We hunkered down and covered our heads/faces while we were pelted with sand. After a couple of minutes, the winds subsided. As we were talking about this bizarre event, the wind picked up again and another cloud of sand made its way down the road to us. After this cloud passed, we decided to head back to the B&B and attempt further exploration by car.

Of course, the drive to Grafton was completely clear-skied and calm.

Anyway, when we pulled in to the parking area, the first thing that hit me was that the windows on the building in front of me (church? town hall?) looked remarkably good. I think they should have still had their Anderson stickers on them! There were a few "old" farm buildings, but I was really looking for the OLD ghost town with saloon doors and horse hitching posts...

We explored a cemetery that had some headstones with the description, "killed by Indians." What strange time in history.

After our "ghost town" experience, it was back to the B&B for some R&R!

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