“To be good, and to do good, is all we have to do.”
― John Adams
Decided there were a couple of different trails that we hadn’t had solid reports on their condition. So I took my Little Red Jeep and my mountain bike and my running shoes and headed out to scope things out.
I went up and rode on Gunny Loop while it was still frozen. Some mud. Looped back on the road, put bike on Jeep, drove up to Andy’s and did a little run up and down it. Then headed to Third Flats. The day was so very beautiful. I rolled the windows down, and turned the music up.
Hit Butterknife and did a little ride on it, but not much since there was mud. Drove back up Third Flats and was done.
Here’s a map of the area if you want to see what I did.
“It ain’t on no map
And I’m glad it isn’t
Leave the phone and the GPS,
Those satellites ain’t found it yet,
Got our own little piece of heaven hidden” – Rascal Flatts, Banjo
Part of me really misses my Sunday morning jaunts up No Thoroughfare. I’m sure when it warms up I’ll get back into that. But right now I just feel…tired. The thought of even a hike today was exhausting. But…I do the trail thing every day, right?
We spent the morning in church, and the afternoon saw Dennis out on the trails at 18 road and I napping with the kids. When he got home I said, “Why don’t we just throw everyone in the Jeep and go exploring.” So we did. With Tim in full-protest. We’re working on him.
Sometimes I just pull out the big Colorado travel map book and do slow spirals out from my house, looking for an area yet to be explored. That’s how today’s experience came to be. There was a dirt road maybe 10 minutes from my house that I hadn’t been on. I attempted research on the area but could find…. nothing.
We drove south on Hwy 50/6, and just before the 141 west-bound turn, we took a left. The road soon turned into dirt and Dennis had a lot of fun drifting Little Red around the corners. But before long our route was terminated. The sign said “Grand Junction City Municipal Watershed. Authorized Personnel only.” Though I can pull of “authorized” pretty well, we opted not to try it, and turned around, looking for another option.
There was a dirt road on the satellite view that took off and headed toward Palisade- but was only accessible through a private ranch. So another dead-end. I was prepared to call it and say the 8 miles of dirt road totally counts, when Dennis suddenly hit the breaks. He said, “Well, it’s not a road, but it’s something.” He backed us up to… a trailhead?
As you can see, we had a great time exploring this little gem. The trail had clearly not been used by anything but game in some time. It took us down to the Whitewater Creek, and we imagined its progress might lead all the way up to the Mesa. Sunset offered more picture opportunities than you could imagine!
From the pictures you can see Tim’s progression from fussy–grump to happy-trails. When we got in the Jeep and started off again I showed him the pictures of him smiling, and I said, “Tim, did you have a good time? Did you have fun? Remember how you said you didn’t want to come?” And all three of them concurred that doing a trail with Mommy was better than staying at home.
“I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden.
I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”― Marjorie Pay Hinckley
My graduation ceremony from BYU was… interesting. I was just ready to graduate. I’d already been offered my job, I’d jumped through the hoops, I was monstrously in debt, had an 8-month-old baby and an eye infection. So I don’t remember a whole lot, really.
But what I do remember was the musical number performed by the MDT majors. (It was the School of Music graduation, so there were LOTS of musical numbers, FYI). We called the MDT majors the “Triple Threat”- Music, Dance AND Theatre were their specialty. The song was something so very cliche, like “We Will Change the World” or “The World is Awesome” or “We Are Awesome and Are Going To Change The World!”. It was so tacky we made fun of it for ages.
Well today I’m the Triple Threat! I hit it on the Jeep, the Bike, and the Run.
I left home nice and early- watched the sunrise hit the Monument cliffs in my rear-view as I headed over to Delta. Upon arrival there, I took a left and drove 6 miles out of town, and navigated myself to the Peach Valley road.
Really, the whole experience today was about discovery. This area along the rim of the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness Area is just ripe for exploration. There are Jeep trails, motorized single-track (read: mountain bike), and hike-only down into the gorge. I can’t wait to take the kids back there. I’ve already picked a couple of Jeep routes and the hike I want to explore with them.
Today I picked a route I thought would let me test out a bit of all the trails and hopefully survive. I took the Peach Valley then cut up the Ute trail to the rim. I then took the bike up the rim trail for quite a way, until I was cut up and exhausted and time constrained, so I dropped down and headed back on the Sidewinder trail, back to Ute, then a strenuous climb back up to the ridge where my Jeep was parked. Here’s a map of the area: MAP
I’ll be honest, part of today’s idea was to find the joy of riding my mountain bike again. Can’t say that I did. In fact, when I put my bike onto the rack I thought, “Okay. We’ll try again in a couple of weeks. Until then, I don’t even want to look at you.” Poor Mr. The Stig. I’m afraid my running shoes are going to get more action than my bike shoes for a while. I’m just so burned out.
But the Jeeping was so much fun! Nothing super technical, but excellent views and fun. I’m really excited to go back. Soon. I also thought it might be fun to learn to ride a motor bike. Those guys seemed to be having a great time!
After this excursion, I drove to Ridgeway and met my client, Kelly. We did a brief windy run on the Ridgeway river trail- another fun discovery. I’m afraid I wasn’t a very energetic runner today, but the highlight, as always, was talking with Kelly.
Post-run we hit up this fantastic little taco shop and did some work. It was great. I topped of the day with a soak in the hot springs and a little (read: a lot) of Indian food in Montrose. I was so happy and comfortable I’m not sure how I made it home through my happy comatose haze. But I did. And I let Dennis put my bike away for me because, you know, I’m not going there.