May 16
Km’s Pedalled – 51 km’s hike and bike (biked 16 km’s on gravel)

Destination – Utah/Arizona border

Some Notes – Temperatures were great today with even a few clouds.

Last night on Google Maps I discovered only 2 miles down the road was Toadstool Trail which was a short trail that takes you to some Hoodoos.  So of course I went.

Toadstool Trail

Between seeing Glen Canyon Dam/Lake Powell and these hoodoos I am liking this decision to go north instead of south to the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

A nice view

And then a few miles down the road was a visitors center with drinking water.  I got to talking to some people that suggested I talk to someone in the visitors center about accessing the Buckskin Gulch.

Thanks to seeing some photos of this gulch on my St George host I was interested in checking them out.  Thank goodness I asked at the visitors center.  I was shown the best way and was recommended to access the gulch via the Wire Pass trailhead.

Getting to Buckskin Gulch

This also meant taking a hard packed gravel road which ultimately would short cut me towards the Grand Canyon.  And it now looks like the extra food I purchased in Page will not have been a total waste of weight.

I biked 16 km’s down a gravel road.  The gravel road was slow going but beautiful.  And then I did an 9 km hike into the gulch and back (18 km’s total).  What cool experience.  I got back to my bike just as it got dark.

I talked to some people that said it costs $38 to visit Antelope Canyon which is supposedly nicer but I will take a free hike any day.  I guess I am glad I can use the excuse Antelope Canyon was closed.

Buckskin Gulch

I am camped less then a kilometre from the Arizona border.  This is my last official night in Utah.  What an amazing state.

Two years ago today, this bike ride became my new reality and first priority after receiving the news that my marriage engagement was officially ended.

Utah Summary

What can I say about Utah?  Nine stars out of 5.  I would probably give it 10 stars if their roads and highways had a safe biking shoulder.  Funny enough Utah always had the potential of being on my chopping block for the ride because of how far off my route it was.  And especially after loosing so much time because of the first wave of Covid-19.  If Covid-19 had gone away instead of a second wave I might have likely just kept heading south instead of east into Utah.

Everything about Utah will create lifetime memories.  From restocking much of my equipment in St George from my grass fire in early April to 5 national and 3 state parks that were all epic in their own way.  Because of all the national parks and everyone (tourists) making their rounds between the parks I was known as “that guy with a pool noodle.”  People would often see my bike at trailheads or biking down the highway and then meet up with me at one of the parks and recognize and ask me about my pool noodle.  (I place the noodle across my rear panniers for road safety because of the lack of road shoulders).  Anyways on any given day I would have about 3-4 extended conversations at the parks with Americans from all over the country visiting Utah.  Often resulting in at least one $20 donation every other day.

I got into Utah in early April, which is probably the best time of the year to bike through.  I have overheard comments how hot things get in June and later.  I had many many cold nights but generally warm sunny days.  During my visit to Bryce Canyon it snowed and nights got to a low of -6C.  But I believe my timing and my routing was virtually perfect considering how much of the state I visited and hiked.

Everyone needs to visit this state at least once in their life.  Unfortunately, most people visit Utah by car.  Many parks have lineups and most campgrounds within said parks are usual full.  I couldn’t imagine planning your visit by car but good luck.

By the Numbers

I biked (and hiked) 1,534 km’s over 38 days.  I did more hiking in the state of Utah than anywhere during my bike ride.  I spent almost an average of 1-2 nights per national and state park. I basically posted 4,500 Utah photos to Flickr,

My equipment expenses were very expensive in Utah because I needed to replace a bunch of my equipment that was lost in my grass fire.  My meal expense was averaged at $12.55 per day.  I was lucky because most national and state parks had separate bike trail entrances that did not collect entrance fees.  I had to pay $10 to enter Goblin Valley SP, $15 to enter Canyonlands NP and $4 to enter Dead Horse SP.  I think this is the first time I ever paid entrance fees on a bike in the US.

Utah Part 7 (May 10 to 15)

Utah Part 6 (May 3 to 10)

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