“It feels like we’re on a dinner plate next to a sandwich.”
Today’s ride through Capital Reef National Park was so mesmerizing that we broke one of the cardinal rules of bicycle touring – bike with your mouth closed.
We can’t count the number of times bugs or pebbles have slammed into our faces and mouths when this simple rule was pushed from our dumbfounded brains by some staggering landscape. This is especially true upon cresting a hill after concentrating on a hard climb. The view from the top of a hill, that view we just earned, is enough to take our breath away.
We certainly experienced that kind of awe-inspiring view today as we rode by Chimney and Castle Rocks, whizzed downhill next to the Fremont River surrounded by pitted and striped Navajo sandstone, and peered down from overlooks into canyons red as open veins.
This incredibly interesting and gorgeous natural phenomenon is called honeycomb weathering. Deposited during the early Jurassic, the cream-colored Navajo Sandstone is pitted by sand, salt, wind, water and time to create these Kelly-sized cubby holes.
Upon leaving the national park the landscape changed subtly from harder, redder rocks to ashen dunes, traveling the spectrum from virile red to corpse grey as we climbed.
But then, once we reached the top of a hill the landscape was renewed by a riparian oasis. The barren landscape on one side of the hill stood in stark contrast to the birds singing and crickets chirping on the other.
We got a bit of a late start today as we were delayed in the best way, by hours of conversation with a stranger. While we ate breakfast up the road from our campsite before heading toward Capital Reef a guy walked up to us.
This happens all the time. Rather than asking the same slew of questions, this young guy asked if we had any use for some ready to eat meals he and his brother had. They are traveling too but had no use for the food as they are both vegan. And so began a conversation that looped from vegan diets for athletes to language to politics to shared travel experiences. We spoke with Reid for so long that the coffee shop owners started to look annoyed and we had talked through the best riding part of the day. So we made a tentative plan to meet up with Reid and his brother somewhere down the road and wheeled off into the national park.
Now, we are cleaning up from the dinner we cooked in a hotel parking lot before we head off to our campsite.
Next is Hanksville and Lake Powell. We have been told that the next stretch of road is pretty desolate, with nothing for fifty miles between Hanksville and lake Powell and nothing for 74 miles between lake Powell and the next town. It is an exhilarating prospect to be headed on a road so unfrequented a to make is feel like the sole occupants. Until next time, visualize world peace!