Several weeks of real winter and difficult (if any) riding conditions prompted Skippy and I to plot a brief escape to pseudo-spring. We pointed the car west and put this in the rearview.
Saw lotsa this along the way.
Fiveish hours of mellow, ice-free driving brought us into a valley shaped, at least in part, by the Virgin River. Knowing we had extremely limited daylight, and fueled by a severe shortage of recent on-dirt time, we headed straight to the most easily accessed trailhead. Stepping out of the car we found dry dirt under our feet, rock and desert veg all around us, and smiles on our faces.
We suited up in short minutes and were immediately wending our way through the creosote, cacti and rabbitbrush. Destination? We didn't need one--we were here.
By any standard the illumination we had this evening was exceptional. Wispy low clouds diffused the warm, angular light, while the amber rock absorbed and amplified it. More than once I caught myself stopped, feet on the ground, arms draped, mouth agape, just gawking at the landscape spread before us. Sure it was good to see dirt and rock and color instead of shades of grey and white, but this, THIS went way beyond a change of scenery.
This was, as I said, exceptional.
A lack of consistent riding these past several weeks left our legs unsure of how to respond to all we asked of them. Crank then coast? Sure, fine. Perch and grind? Um, not for long. Due to the complaints of our legs and the sweetiousness of the too-brief evening, we kept it mellow and just enjoyed what came.
Zero wind, deliciously uncold air, and the warmth of the visible (visible I say!) low sun drew us out of winter mode faster than we expected. I didn't even know I'd been *in* winter mode--I needed the silly gaping grin pasted on my face to make me understand.
I zoomed in on Skippy's face while composing a shot and noticed that he, too, was grinning. Possible that it was a grimace, but I'd bet on the former.
We chose this trail merely for simplicity of access. We were rewarded with far more than we expected, or even hoped for.
Not wanting to push our luck, we wrapped it up before full dark.
Can't speak for Skippy but I felt like I could have gone home, satisfied already, from just these two hours out on the bike.
Fortunately, we had three more days to spend.