It was good to get out of Grants. After four nights in our king-sized bed, it was time to move on. Anyhow, we were both pretty over sitting in front of computers. We did all of our morning chores – breakfast, pack up, ship package via front desk, do an idiot check on the room – and headed down the road.
The goal of the day was to get over Mt. Taylor, elevation 11,300 feet. Starting in Grants, at 6,500 feet, we had a ways to go up, but we’d gotten work from Hugo Mums, the Grants trail angel, that we’d probably be able to ride most of it.
The bikes were heavy. We were planning two nights out and three full days to get to Cuba and we’ve run out of food twice already this trip…so we pulled a typical overcompensation and were desperately trying to fit bits of food into nooks and crannies on the bike.
It was a good thing that the trail went straight up (after a civilized few miles of pavement from town). It was rocky, rubbly, and gained 1,000 feet in under two miles. For better or worse, it was mostly ridable, so I burned far too many motivation matches getting up steep pitches.
I paid for it later. The first day of touring is always hard, and we were stopped long enough to get out of the rhythm of riding every day. I hurt. I whined. I told Scott to go on ahead so I could wallow in my misery. I can be pretty melodramatic when I want to be.
Several eternities later, we hit the wide open face of Taylor. Just a few giant switchbacks to go. Scott, super-freak that he is with a 20 tooth chain ring, rode most of it. I took my bike for a walk.
Sometimes I wonder why I drag my bike up places. The view made this one worth it. With clear skies and minimal wind, we spent a glorious chunk of time at the top looking back from where we’d come.
Eventually, it was time to go down, which is always way better than going up. The trail did not disappoint, it was a glorious way to lose elevation.
We happened upon American Canyon Spring to fill up on water. It was magic back there, newly sprouted emerald green grass, budding aspens, clean water coming straight from the ground. I would have slept there if it had been two hours later.
After figuring out our bearing leaving the spring, and going down the wrong road for a little bit, we started to reap the rewards for 6+ hours of climbing in the morning. While it was road, it sloped down gently and made for fast, easy miles. We needed them. I needed them.
Some more chunky trail brought us down to the mesa where we’re camped on a cow trail. Everything around is a big lumpy, and the trail is perfectly flat. If I don’t make it through the night, my obituary will say: Ez did all sorts of cool and semi-dangerous things. It’s a shame she was trampled by a cow.
It’s 9:21 and the sunset is still going. Wide open western views…wow. I get to sleep in the coolest places.