Around this time every year, myself and a couple friends hop in the truck and take a winter road trip. We leave the comfort of the 70 degree desert singletrack and head north to the Four Corners area to do play in the cold. We usually leave the bikes at home for this one, but this year I convinced everybody to throw them in the rack “just in case”. It was a completely selfish act because I really just wanted to ride my Mukluk in the snow.
E and I left town on a Friday afternoon and pointed it north. We had to make one stop in Flagstaff to pick up our buddy Maximum and then we would be on our way to Durango. When we arrived at Maximum’s house he greeted up with some cold beers and said: “I think I have a better plan. We could just hang out here and party tonight, then leave in the morning” Seemed logical enough. Game on.
I awoke Saturday morning to a hangover that felt like somebody stabbing me in the head with a little tiny knife. At least we were all in the same boat, misery loves company. The truck got loaded, hair of the dog was consumed, and so commenced our 5 hour zombie death march through the northeast corner of Arizona. It was a glorious day with not a single cloud in the sky. So when we hit Cortez, CO we decided that riding Phil’s World was a much better idea than going climbing that day. We made the right choice. The trails were sweet and it was just the medicine we needed to get over our brown bottle flu.
We moved on to Durango for a couple days for a little popsicle climbing. It looked like this:
After i had my fill of climbing I left my friends to chop ice and snuck off for a little fatbike ride. It was an interesting transition hiking out of this canyon, switching shoes and grabbing my bike. I pedaled up a random road into the hills, that quickly turned to a 2 track, then finally I reached a gate where there was nothing but a little skin trail up into the hills. I rode for hours on top of that snow, grinning like a complete idiot.
The next couple days found us in Moab and me being struck down with a horrible cold. As I slept the morning away, the rest of the crew went and did some classic rides. They came back pretty fired up just as I was starting my day.Then it started snowing. I decided that this day was a loss and I might as well have a couple beers to pass the time until tomorrow. As we were walking to the truck to get the cooler full of fine beers we had the very calm conversation about the weather:
Dirty: “I wonder what Porcupine Rim looks like in the snow”
E: “Well, we do have bikes and a truck to get us to the top”
Dirty: “We better go check that out.”
And just like that, we were on our way up the hill at 2pm in a snow storm. This seemed like a really great bad idea.
This was one of the best rides I have done in a long time. Completely socked in by storms, way up in the hills away from town, and not another soul around. The trail was in a really cool condition. All the babyheads were frozen in place so you could just dance right over them and the ice in the shade kept you on point the entire time.
We finally lost enough elevation so that there was no more deep snow and we picked up the pace considerably. We rode as much as we possible could until we had to stop and put our lights on. But after fumbling with frozen fingers to get my lights on I realized that my battery wasn’t charged. Whoops, guess I forgot to do that part. Time to ride fast and get this over with.
We wrapped up the trip with some rock climbing and whiskey drinking out at The Creek, where we thrashed what little muscles we had left.
The drive home was unusually quiet. All three of us seemed to be pondering the things we had accomplished over the past 6 days. and each one of us dreading our return to the working world in the morning. But I guess we all need some time to recover from our fun. It might as well be at work dreaming up the next adventures. Great friends, great beers, and great nature. What are you going to do this weekend? Until next time….keep it dirty!