Saturday, May 20, 2017

in the steps of those who went before

We were up pretty early and out the door to a new (to us) set of MTB trails: the Klonzo trail system, about ten miles north of Moab and then twenty minutes east on a dirt road, across Courthouse Wash and into the desert.  Although we passed a ton of folks out camping, we were the only ones at the trail head parking lot.  We ate our breakfast bagels on the tailgate of the truck, got organized and headed out onto the trails.

 Dino tracks along the trail

Did you notice that photo above?  ACTUAL DINOSAUR TRACKS in the slickrock alongside the trail. SO COOL!

Post-ride refreshments

We ended up doing almost all of the Klonzo South trails: Midway to Carousel, Gypsy-Wizard-Magician, out to Zephyr (connector with the MOAB Brand Trails) and back.  I will admit that at first I was VERY nervous.  This was only the third time I'd been back on the bike, and this time on trails that I knew nothing about.  To be honest, they were pretty easy trails but Midway, where we headed out, was singletrack on a side hill and I had a death-grip on my handlebars, walking in several places that I totally could have ridden.  After some time on the gentle Carousel slickrock and Zephyr sand, I calmed down and I suspect that when we go back, I'll be fine.

False Kiva view

We only saw two other MTBs when we were out on the trail but when we got back to the truck for post-ride beers, it was starting to get busy, with MTBers, trail runners and assorted dogs arriving for their time on the trails.

On the trail to False Kiva

Next stop was the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands.  Saturday night, when we were at the Moab Brewery, a guy we were talking to told us about the "secret" trail to False Kiva.  This is an ongoing archeological site of Native American ruins, tucked under the rim of the mesa.  There is no sign (the park rangers have to tell you about it if you ask but it isn't marked so as to try to keep foot traffic down) but there is a trail and you are allowed to hike it.  So we did - and ended up seeing twelve people on this supposedly secret trail!

False Kiva is well-hidden

The trail is steep and rocky in spots, with some loose footing, but it was generally easy enough to follow the cairns when the trail got faint.  We found the site - a stone ring, peck basins, pictographs and roped-off burial sites - in a large alcove, completely hidden from sight.  We had to wonder: why did the native people build here? and how did anyone even find the ruins?

It's a false kiva because there's nothing underneath

After pausing at the Aztec Butte parking lot for beers, we headed back to town.  Frank the office dog was not in attendance but Pearl the office dog and her adoptable foster brother Nico were, so we stopped in for some bellyrubs.  Nico is pretty nervous around new people but after ten or fifteen minutes, he stepped close enough for H to scratch his ears.


We had pre-dinner beers at Woody's before trying out a new (to us) place for dinner, 98 Center, just around the corner from the motel.  It was great: tiny, casual, serving bahn mi and pho and steamed buns with kimchi (including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options), with $2 PBRs and $4 G&Ts.  We got there just before it filled up, scoring a prime booth, and enjoyed the people-watching - and there was plenty of that, with both tourists and locals in attendance for the evening's Open Mic.  We got home in between the downpours, watched the rain from our stoop and then called it a day.  A very good one, in fact.

Ride stats:  11.82 miles; 1 hr. 57 min.; 6.0 moving average (I'm so slow!); 14.3 max.

Hike stats:  2.6 miles, approx. 1.5 hours (including time spent at the ruins)

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