Monday, September 6, 2010

Timpanogos trails, Boulder Mountain, and Hell's Backbone Grill

My time in Utah was filled with lots of new riding. Every time I rode this trip I explored something new.

As usual I sought out new sections of the Great Western Trail. This trail weaves through the heart of the mountain west, and through my whole life of riding. Many of my western adventures include a section of the GWT. Ticking off a new section of this trail is a time-honoured tradition for me when I come to Utah. 

This is nice single track off of Mt. Timpanogos above Orem, UT. After riding these trails for many days, I embarked with friends on a ill-fated tour in which the plan was to go south on the Great Western Trail and other roads down to Boulder, Utah. Things did not work out but it was really fun anyhow. You can read and look at pictures of it here.

After our failure to launch, my friends skiWill and Ben camped north of Joe's Valley reservoir in a high mountain valley where we rode for an afternoon:

After riding some casual single track and seeing up close the Southern Skyline drive section again (the far ridge in the above picture), we were more psyched than ever to come back next year for a real bid on the Trans Utah route.

A few days later my wife and I and baby went down to southern Utah to the Escalante area, where I got to recon more of the GWT. 

The trail reached to the high mountain of Boulder Top, which reaches upwards 10,000+ feet. The trail I chose turned gamey and I played around in this meadow. 

I returned down in time for reservations at Hell's Backbone Grill, which is the best restaurant on the planet, and even better because it is perched on the cusp of the Escalante Grand Staircase, which is varied echelon of tan, to brick, to deep red sandstones carved from the Escalante river. The Family and I camped and hiked there for several days and escaped to this dream world. Its difficult to express how great this place is, but here is picture:

 We saw many (50 or so) bike tourists who were linking up Capitol Reef National park, Boulder mountain, and the Escalante. I envied them so, and my wife and I vowed to go on a tour with Imogen as soon as we are able.

The restaurant sources much of its meat from local ranchers, and vegetables from its own organic farm that's just down the road. I ordered the pork chop with stonefruit barbecue sauce---the best porkchop I've ever had. For desert I had the bread pudding made with molasses bread and apricots.

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