Elisa Jones

New Years, Part 2: I live in the sun

“Fortune favors the bold, my friend.” – James Wilson, MTB Training Systems

I didn’t sleep well. My alarm went off at 6 am because I was determined to hit the trail and watch the sunrise on New Year’s day from somewhere totes rad. I was thinking of Shafer Trail all night, but wasn’t sure I was prepared to get that in, with questionable trail conditions…ugh. So I used my sweet map (you can get one of Moab here), and decided that going up Gemini Bridges road would do the trick. It’s relatively close to town, gets you up to a lovely viewpoint very quickly, and from there you can see all 3 major areas of Arches, the city of Moab, the La Sal Mountains…ah. Yes, that will do.

So I decided to get up. Maria did, too. We grabbed a little sustenance in the hotel lobby and headed out in my Jeep. We got to the designated view point- the highest point on the road before it turns and drops into a canyon, then climbs to the top of the mesa. Stars were still in the sky when I put the break on.

We sat there for the next hour. Sometimes talking. Taking turns getting out to document  the world adding colors to the canvas before of us. First, the highest clouds turned a soft, pale pink. The sky a shade of baby blue. These blended to yellow. Then white. The clouds that clung to the tops of the La Sal’s slowly drifted away, revealing the stark white peaks. Only the heartiest remained to be burned up in a conflagration of sunlight.

As the sun crept to peek over the world the colors became more vivid. The lighter shades of orange in the Entrada sandstone blended perfection with the darker red of the Kayenta Formation. Far on the horizon, the Fiery Furnace  lived up to it’s name. The North Window was winking at Balanced Rock. And slowly, the lights of the city blinked out.

When the sun crested over the mountains I couldn’t contain myself. I jumped up and down, cheering, close to tears. I’m a sunrise girl. To me the New Year started right then and there. That was my celebration to the turning of the calendar; standing in 4 inches of snow, next to a filthy Jeep, on a precipice over Moab, laughing like an idiot and wearing only pajamas and a coat. It was perfection. Perfection.

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I’m pretty hot in my pajama pants, right? Ha ha ha!

When we’d taken another 2.3 million pictures we jumped back in the Jeep and continued up Gemini Bridges. We drove over the toes of the Goony Bird- twice!- and parked, took a little hike to the bridges for some more pics. We talked about all kinds of stuff, but mostly about riding, how we want to do the singletrack trails up there (Magnificent 7), and how we can have fun riding our bike on about any trail!

Standing on top of the bridges
Standing on top of the bridges

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But did we stop there!? No! On the way back to the hotel I started to feel horribly ill. We got back to the room and took a little shut-eye. We’d already been up and out for 3+ hours. When I got feeling a little better, we took care of business, packed up, washed the Jeep, got some petrol and headed out to the Brand Trails. It was a bit squishy on those trails so we avoided the dirt and went for Circle O, which is primarily on slickrock. It was probably 50% snow and 50% rock. The trail, a painted stripe on the rock, was nearly impossible to follow. So we just did our best (with the help of the aforementioned map. Why don’t you have it yet? Get it. Now.), and had a ball playing on the bumps; turning them into jumps and ledges- good techy practice.

When I got home, I was completely exhausted. I had missed my family. I’m determined to get my kids mountain biking so I can take them to ride the Intrepid trails. What? Is that something like a New Year’s Resolution? If you say so….IMG_5182 IMG_5189 IMG_5190 IMG_5196 IMG_5200