Scott and I met in Cedar City at 11am, 4 days after the scheduled start of the Dixie. The 311-mile version seemed too far out of reach with my work schedule, thus making the late start an option. Once we decided upon the date (Scott was a bit sick on the start date), we opted for a little bit of each version which would still be ~200 of bikepacking through southern Utah. This allowed both of us to spend some time with our respective family and provide us with some tracks to follow.
We rolled out a little bit before noon on Tuesday, climbing up to the
Virgin River Rim Trail.
As you can see from the pictures, the trail is quite a gem.
Scott debated the best line to descend...
A classic view from the VRRT, the pink and white shown here was pretty much the theme for the next day also.
As we neared Long Junction, late afternoon thunderstorms began to appear in the sky around us...just enough motivation to pedal a little faster to out ride the storms.
We rolled into the Chevron at Long Junction just before sunset. After buying some chips, fig newtons and cashews, we began the quick 7-mile stretch of highway to the forest access. The option to eat on private land (aka the road) only to have to continue up the road to sleep was not very appealing. We pressed on toward Pole Canyon.
The cue sheet says the route up to Pole Canyon TH looks like "someone's backyard." It took Scott and I several failed attempts to find it. We post holed through a section of bog before finding the trail. Tired and hungry, we sat down at the first available section. In reality, this would mean sleeping on the trail. It sounded okay with me, but as soon as we started pulling out food we heard the sound of bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....mosquitos. No good.
We packed up and began hiking up the steep trail. After about 30 minutes of riding and hiking, we found another section of the trail that was flat. We pulled out our freeze dried food and began the nearly effortless pleasure of eating on the trail. We slept right on the trail, with very little room for anything else but the sleeping pad.
I awoke to some tree branches breaking off to my right and later a mosquito began to bother me. It was less than an ideal night of sleep.