Monday, March 20, 2017

Trails? Fah.

Who needs 'em?

Of late, not us.

It seems those whom would have every local trail filled with riders from near and far every waking moment of every day may soon get their wish.

What they don't seem to realize that they are also signing up for is congestion, bad feelings from said congestion, altercations (necessary or not) brought on by Stravassholes doing what they do, trail widening and braiding, sanitization and re-sanitization, and other sundry results from cramming too many people out there at any given moment.

What will it take to get them to understand the big picture, the error of their ways?

Clearly we have no idea, because they haven't listened to us.

Last week Greg and I both hit the eject button and left the trails entirely.  Lots of washes to be ridden,  none of them currently occupied.

Silence was noted and appreciated by all, er, both of us.

Aesthetically pleasing slabs and layers were present, um, everywhere.

We carried boats with us on one of these microadventures, but ended up not needing them.  Small failure there -- next time we'll go one or two washes further up and hopefully end at moving water.

The beauty of any off-piste adventure is the simple fact that you don't know exactly how things will turn out.  Is the wash even rideable?  Do pourovers exist?  Can they be hiked around, can bikes be passed down, or will we be forced to retreat?

All good questions.  The answers can't be googled, and they sure aren't on Strava.

Perhaps someday the idea that a trail has value even it isn't flooded with humanity will catch on.

Locally, that idea seems doubtful but not impossible.

Until such an eventuality comes to pass, you can have 'em -- we'll be in the washes.



  1. Mike, the reason I check real estate in GJ on Zillow is pretty much because of what I see here. Driving half way across the country to ride Amasa Back (and beyond) was pretty much because of what I saw here. Tabeguace, Palisade, Debeque ?.....all seen in their glory here. The Canyon lands Needles adventure? A whole other can of worms.

    Wash riding will now become a niche category in MTBing. Lots of plus/fat wheels to build though.

    Never Cry Wolf


  2. Yeah, I know that feeling all too well. But there is one thing I´d like to point out. Living in crowded Germany, there simply are no washes where you can find this sort of solitude. All there is are trails, crammed full of hikers, bikers, equestrians, e-bikers and hunters. Personally that has led me to accept that there are places best left alone in order to prevent them from becoming too crowded. It starts with one. Or maybe two. Then you tell a good friend about that "secret" trail, and ere you can say "whoa Nellie" there are kids with a shovel sanitizing or as you call it, re-sanitizing the place to mincemeats. So while I really enjoy reading your stories, this joy (which makes me want to ride exactly there, is already the culprit of it all. Assuming I´ll go riding where you ride (if I could find the place in the first), I certainly would not do this alone, even if it was for safety purposes. And then you got two people at least knowing the place. Of course I´d take photos and write about it. More will follow, and the whole shit starts all over again. I learned the hard way myself to obstain from even riding some places, because we simply don´t have enough space left to be crowded, and that I should leave to the wildstock that´s still left.

    I really love your focus on plants and animals that shows in your lovely pictures, and I am a big fan of your blog for sure, and I certainly mean no offence by this, but maybe you even contribute unconsciously to the problem. It COULD be that even the washes will be crowded some time in the future...

    A different matter is private land, of course...

    All the best to you,


  3. The washes won't ever become crowded. It takes a certain mindset to enjoy this type of riding, and most cyclists want to ride fast, and sport ride recreationally, which really requires trails. Your average cyclist would not enjoy riding washes and complain there was no trail. The beauty of washes, is you cant really make a trail in them because they are water runoff channels and hence any trail gets washed away. On the other hand, washes kind of are trails but made by water, and constanly changing. And all it takes is a good rainstorm to remove any evidence that someone rode there. One also needs a fat or plus bike to enjoy wash riding, another reason most cyclists would never be drawn to them. It will be a very long time before the U.S. desert west ever gets populated so much to the point of Germany or the rest of Europe. Its so vast and large here, and the terrain is so inhospitable so as to not be able to support high populations. It's a beautiful thing, actually.

  4. There's a TON of off trail exploring to do around here for sure, that's the best kind of fun.
    Last fall (on foot) I linked Mt Garfield through to Tellerico Trail. I saw only saw 1 person the entire day, they where in a car and didn't see me. There was some pretty good bushwacking in the vicinity of the Crazy Ed trail too.

    Looks like you guys had fun in the wash.