Mountain Biking Meca!

Trip Start Mar 20, 2010
Trip End Aug 25, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Moab is the mountain biking mecca of the world!!!  Bold statement.  As we drove into town there were herds of cars with mountain bikes on top either ready to hit the dirt roads or ready to hit the showers after a long day on the trails.  In addition to bike shops, the town is covered with shops / venues that cater to outdoor enthusiasts, rafting, hiking, mountain climbing, sky diving, kayaking, etc - you name it.

Moab is a small town that really didn't get on the map until the early 1950s when hundreds of men came to Moab to find uranium - the government needed uranium and was offering 10K for every truck-full of uranium they could find.  At the time, the uranium found was only surface level, and one geologist (Charlie Steen) believed the vein of the uranium could be found and decided to stay in Moab until he could find it.  After digging for 3 years, while his family was almost destitute, he finally scored by finding the core of the uranium and becoming a millionaire - placing Moab on the map as a major mining mecca.  However the government's need for uranium ran out, leaving Moab to find a new source of income (and Charlie once again penniless as he burned all his money thinking the cash flow would be endless..sad), thus turned to tourism as the main source of revenue which is what Moab is known for today.  You can still see scattered remains from the uranium days - abandoned mining shafts and mining tracks, etc.

Moab sits in the middle of different national parks and recreational areas - Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, Canyon Lands, Sand Flats Recreation Area, and Manti La Sal National Forest...the Colorado River also cuts right through.  As you can imagine, there are various terrains to explore.   We were excited to get started.
Day One
Upon arrival, we checked out the town and had late lunch at Zaxs.  We then took a late afternoon hike on this super cool trail in "Negro Bill Canyon" (terrible name, supposedly Moab locals now try to call it the African American Canyon).  This trail was great because we had to climb over slick rock, cross a creek several times, and also walk through stretches of bamboo, all leading us to a natural rock bridge called the Morning Glory Bridge.  All in all it was about 4-5 mile loop and it was really pleasant as since we didn't start until around 5pm, most of the trail was nestled in the shade of the canyon..nice and cool.

Day Two
We had already arranged for a mountain biking trail guide to lead us through the multiple mountain biking trails that Moab offers (there are hundreds).  This was awesome.!  Our guide (Maggie) was fantastic, she taught us some instrumental techniques on the bike, and also ensured we took in the surrounding nature by teaching us about rock shifts and eatable flowers (we tasted a few).  She even showed us some dinosaur footprints that are millions and millions years old!!..very cool.   We took the Klondike Bluffs trail that ended at a hiking trail head - we jumped off our bikes and hiked the trail which led us up more slip rock and to a ledge that overlooked Salt Valley of the Arches National Park where we stopped for lunch.  After chilling up on the ledge for a bit we began our descent back down the trail and back to the bike shop. (Sorry Richie no Porcupine Rim Trail this time - not that we put off by the "advance/expert" classification - we simply couldn't fit it in ..thankfully :) ).  Our trail guide was Maggie from Magpie Tours and our bikes were from Poison Spider.  We recommend both for anyone that wants to explore Moab by bike!  Poison Spiders gives free water bottles with every rental, and, for the brave, if needed, their restroom serves as a large shower also where you can buy shower tokens ($2.50 for 2 1/2 minutes)..we clearly passed on the showers and opted for the comfort of our hotel...I guess if we were desperate perhaps our view would be different.

Day Three
We took it easy and just spent the day at The Arches National Park.  It was very hot and super windy, not the best elements for sandy hikes (especially without our goggles), but we toured around the park and took a few treks here and there.   This park was very pretty and is recommended.  Some arches you can get close to and climb under and around them, some are less stable where keeping a distance is required.  Apparently the Landscape Arch chipped away recently - where tourists can no longer go under it.
Places where we have eaten that are worth mentioning:
Moab Brewery - basic brewery, good scene, beers etc
Zax - large all you can eat pizza and salad bar
Love Muffin Cafe - best place for breakfast, great organic selections and delicious waffles!
Singha Thai - Decent thai food

There is so much to do in Moab, we just barely scratched the surface.  We definitely plan on returning in the near future and highly recommend this to everyone.  

May 25 - 28

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