|Distance||52.11 kms||32.31 miles|
|Climbed||1,023 meters||3,356 feet|
|Ride time (hours)||6.12||-|
|Avg speed||5.2 kph||-|
|Distance||26,581.07 kms||16,516.66 miles|
|Climbed||277,712 meters||911,129 feet|
|Ride time (hours)||1,885.86||-|
Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
Miles pushing the bike: 1.2 (1.93 kilometers)
It's going to be cold today. The wind is up to its usual tricks. I ride down across Cainesville Wash and I can start to see why they call this Cathedral Valley. There are massive buttes topped with greyish-green rock while the butte faces are fronted by long spires of red rock. They do look like cathedrals.
The road is sandy, no surprise there, requiring bits of walking here and there until I can get back on a hard surface. I stop for lunch at some dunes that provide cover from the wind.
The water situation is not good. I started the day with only 1.5 liters. I come upon some washes in the afternoon that have muddy puddles in them but it certainly doesn't look enticing; I hold out for better.
I see my first vehicle around 1:30. It is one of three vehicles that I will see today, a rare event in the U.S.A. It's a cold Tuesday in April so I guess the tourists aren't out yet. I take a turnoff at a sign for Gypsum Sinkhole to check it out... not really worth the extra effort.
Back in the valley I ride past some truly impressive rock structures that are part of Capitol Reef.
The road starts to climb as cedar trees appear. I'm getting close to 7,000 feet. The sandy road gives way to rocky gravel then comes a big climb up out of the valley onto a mesa. The water situation is dire at this point, I'm down to a half liter after some serious effort to get onto the mesa. I'm hoping that the campground has water or that there is someone there I can bum some from but neither scenario materializes.
My map shows a creek off of Thousand Lake Road so I start climbing towards it. The creek is dry. I can see snow a couple of thousand feet above me so there is water out here, if not snow then runoff, it's going to be a question of how much effort I have to put in to get it. I could hang out on the road waiting for someone to come by but after seeing only 3 cars today it doesn't sound like a good option. Besides, what fun is scrounging water off of other people? I keep climbing. At 4pm I'm officially out of water and tired as hell. The temperature has dropped considerably. I get out my heavy gloves. A couple of miles up the road I leave Capitol Reef National Park to enter National Forest land. I'll climb the 2,000 feet to the snow line if I have to, but luckily at 8,000 feet I find a little stream. I'm ecstatic! I drink a liter right on the spot then fill up my water bottles with 5 liters, that's all the capacity I have after losing that bottle the other day.
There was a sign at the campground saying "No Wood Gathering". When I get to the National Forest boundary I load up the bike with wood, a bit silly to be doing this but I'm trying to follow the rules out here as much as I can. At any rate I'm not going without a fire on this frigid evening.
The clothing sequence as the temperature drops works out like this:
4pm: The heavy gloves come out.
5pm: The ski cap and neck warmer make an appearance.
6pm: I pull out the ski jacket, then I put my long underwear on under my long pants (I've been wearing the long pants all day).
6:15pm: The campfire is lit.
I make a huge dinner of pasta (now that I've got some water to work with), vegetables, and tuna. I stay out in front of the fire as long as my wood lasts, I'm dreading getting into that cold tent for the night.