Aug 10, 2005

Brian Head Part II: Saturday & Sunday

We woke up & drove the short distance to Cedar Breaks Nat’l Park for Ryder’s first hike. The weather forecast called for a nice day, so we felt it safe for such an excursion. With Ryder strapped to Denise via the Baby Bjorn, we hiked just over two miles to a point that overlooks Cedar Breaks. The park reminded Denise and I of Colorado National Monument. Josh & I packed some of that great 3.2% alcohol Utah beer to drink with the lunch we had prepared. We practically had to shotgun our beers & choke down our lunch because as soon as we reached the point, the western sky turned dark gray & sounds of thunder exploded in the distance. Only I had packed clothing for wet weather (as usual) so we quickly headed back to the van. Jeannie, our Sherpa, didn’t even have time to stop & confess her love for Josh on the water tower that the Noriega family apparently desecrates with graffiti on an annual basis - surprising, because on the surface they seem so nice.

In the parking lot, we were relieved not to see Child Protective Services waiting for us because we had taken our 3 ½ month old out on a hike sans rain gear. Luckily, we beat the rain by a few minutes because we still had time to visit the visitor’s center. We bought Ryder a National Parks Passport. Now, his mission in life, besides winning a world championship in some sort of two-wheeled competition or leading his team to a Super Bowl win, is to fill his Nat’l Park Passport with a stamp from every park. I wonder which one will happen first? Regardless of rushing the final two miles back to the van, the hike went well & Ryder did better than expected. He smiled, laughed & even slept a little throughout the two-hour adventure. Luckily he was awake to see the oldest tree in Utah, which was estimated at 5,000 years.

Before heading back to the condo, we drove to Panguitch Lake & then up to the feed zone to watch the Pro Men & Women come through, in dry conditions I might add. JHK had a minute lead at that point. Josh & I couldn’t figure out why any Pro field would let a guy like that go up the road alone. As it turns out Kabush had flatted, so maybe he was riding with JHK before the unfortunate puncture. After the girls came through we drove back to base camp and suited up for an afternoon spin. We found a technical single track not being used in the race and proceeded to follow it back to Hwy 143. All was good until we encountered 2 hikers & a dog on the trail. I tried to avoid hitting them & did a good job of it, but I hit the ground instead. I ended up with a nice slice in my left palm that I’m currently having a difficult time healing. I think a stitch or two may have sped up the healing process. I wasn’t wearing any glove because I mistakenly only brought one pair & they were still caked with mud. Idiot.

That evening we had dinner with the Noriega family, who had rolled into Brian Head earlier that afternoon. I had salmon & Denise had steak. Ryder had the usual. Dinner was nice & to my knowledge, the Noriegas left no vandalism or graffiti.

Morning brought more good weather. Unfortunately Sunday was the day that Denise, Ryder, Josh & I had to skip town. Before leaving Utah we stopped at Kolob Canyon to take Chris & Cindy’s engagement photos. Kolob Canyon is part of Zion National Park so Ryder got another passport stamp at the visitor’s center. Two down, 386 National Parks to go.

I’m going to be totally honest right now & reveal that the rest of the trip was agonizing, especially after we hit Vegas. It took us near 3 hours to get from Kolob Canyon to Vegas, which wasn’t bad, but it took us just under 6 hours to get from Vegas to home. Not only that, we couldn’t find any decent ice cream on the way home. That’s the last time I travel home through Vegas on a Sunday. Josh & I wished that everyone coming home from Sin City had lost their ass in the casino over the weekend as punishment for clogging up the 15 South. The highlight of my ride home was when I successfully guessed the temperature in Baker before the giant thermometer was even in eye sight - 110 degrees. At that point we missed Brian Head more than ever…

A view of Cedar Breaks Nat'l Park

No, those aren't ants. That's Denise, Ryder & I standing under the oldest tree in Utah.

Trail side lunch at Cedar Breaks. Ryder opted for milk. The rest of us had sandwiches.

A reinactment of the drive home.

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