Alrad Canyon

Yesterday was one of the most greuling days in my life, but it was also one of the most satisfying. I went on a very long and steep mountain bike ride, something that I’ve been wanting to do since last year. I ended up taking a different canyon that I’d originally planned, but the destination was the same–the highest point of the ridge between the Price River Valley and Emma Park. There’s supposed to be a USGS benchmark up there (a cross chiseled in a boulder), but I couldn’t find it. There had obviously been some surveying done there recently, because there was a small drill hole in a rock with orange spray paint marking it.
As I mentioned in that post from last year, the road I traveled on doesn’t exist on the 1972 topo map, but you can see it in recent satellite photos. Well, the reason for that is because it’s not a road at all–it’s a cattle trail, and a very steep one at that. I drove my car up the road as far as it would go, then I unloaded my bike and headed up the canyon. Shortly after I parked the car, the trail became too rough for any vehicles except 4-wheelers or motorcycles, and it was definitely too steep and rough for me to ride my bike–I actually hiked the entire way, about 4 miles and 1400 feet up in elevation. I kept thinking to myself that I’ll never make it to the top, but I just kept pushing until, 3 hours later, I made it. The view was awesome–I could see the east side of Price, and the entire valley to the south, including the north end of the San Rafael Swell. I ate my lunch on the top of the ridge (a couple of granola bars, some beef jerky, and a Slim Jim), took a few pictures, then headed back down. I was able to ride my bike most of the way down, except for the steepest and rockiest parts. I turfed pretty hard twice while coming down, mostly because of the really soft dirt (from being trampled recently by cattle) and the huge rocks along the trail. I made it back to my car in just under 40 minutes, a little after 4:00 pm.
My entire body is pretty sore now, and I’m banged up and bruised in a few places, but it was well worth it. I think I’m going to have to do some more stuff like this throughout the summer, preferably every weekend, but I don’t know if my body can recover in time to do it all again in another week.

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