We got a late start this morning, because I noticed my wallet was missing while we were packing up camp.
It turns out I left it in Monticello at the post office. Someone turned it in at the sheriff’s station, but that is 20 miles back on the route, mostly uphill.
Rather than slow us down, I opted to have it mailed to a post office ahead on the route. Escalante seems like a good location to have it sent to- looks like Rachel is buying for the next few days!
Soon after we started riding, a Blanding local named Mark pulled over his car and waved us down. He gave us some advice for places to stop and warned us about having enough water, since there are no services for 75 miles. We plan to go off of the route in between, though, for Natural Bridges National Monument, where we can refill.
Mark also gave us a heads up that the landscape was about to change drastically, and he was right.
Then, we came across even more spectacular scenery before a big descent to Comb Wash followed by a climb of 2000′ up to Salvation Knoll.
After a quick break to hike up the knoll for a view, we descended again to the Natural Bridges National Monument access road. We stashed some bags off the side of the road, since there is only one way in and out. We ate a late lunch at the visitor center before riding the 9 mile loop and doing a few very brief hikes to bridge overlooks.
It was our first time using our water bags, since there are no services for 50 miles after the park, and then 50 more miles without service on the other side of Hite. Hite has a convenience store, but it is only open 8-5PM, so we may be without water for 100 miles.
We rode until dusk and then pulled off the road to find a suitable spot for our tent. The ground here is like walking on Mars- red and dusty. After eating a quick dinner, we went to bed as quickly as possible; no showers tonight!
Trip stats, to date (Day 68)
Blanding, UT to Fry Canyon, UT
Daily mileage: 72.3mi ; Trip total to date: 4,021.9mi
Daily riding time: 6hr 38min; Trip total time: 348hr 49min
Daily ascent: 4,764 ft; Trip total ascent: 198,785 ft
Flat tires: Rachel – 3; Chris – 2