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Southwest Utah / Zion National Park May 2009


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#1 DirtyDog

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 03:37 AM

We have had a girly vacation scheduled for quite some time now but no real plan on where to go. Options have ranged from Napa Valley to Hawaii but as our departure date approached we had made no plans or reservations so it was finally decided to go to SW Utah for Mountain Biking and to visit Zion National Park. I wasn't complaining.

I bought a cheap point and shoot camera to take mountain biking on this trip. The scenery was so absolutely stunning on this trip that I have decided to go big on the file sizes of these photos. Sorry for the slow load and I'm going to include less photos per post than usual.

First - the cast of Characters. Megan, Aaron, and the new official WTW trip brew: Stone Brewing (thanks Ted)

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#2 DirtyDog

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 03:43 AM

Our first stop was Mill Creek BLM Rec Area in Northern Nevada. I have camped here before and it's kind of a neat oasis in the Nevada desert. However, last time I was here I remember seeing redneck tailings which made me suspicious that this was a local party spot for Nevada's finest. When we were considering places to camp, I figured that Saturday night in May at Mill Creek would result in a 50% chance of drunk rowdy rednecks. We rolled the dice and lost, and as a result had a poor nights sleep.

Lesson: stay clear of non-hosted nevada campgrounds on weekends.

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#3 DirtyDog

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 03:49 AM

Megan's vacation requirements are somewhat simple:

  • Warm weather
  • Outstanding riding and hiking opportunities
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Spa
  • Unicorns

Wrapping all these requirements into a single vacation can be a challenge so to get the spa requirement out of the way we booked a room at the Cedar Breaks Lodge in Brian Head Utah. Of course, going to a ski resort in May isn't the best idea in the world and we found that the spa wasn't open so I got busted there but Brian Head was still pretty neat to see. At 9,500 feet, it's no joke of a mountain town. I had no idea that this kind of high altitude resort existed in Southern Utah.

Cedar Breaks National Monument:
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#4 DirtyDog

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 03:52 AM

Our next stop is Red Canyon, Near Bryce Canyon National Park. The main objective here is to mountain bike the Thunder Mountain Trail. We camped at the excellent Red Canyon Campground on highway 12. This is an area with a lot of trails and with Bryce Canyon nearby, there is much to do in the area.

Red Canyon Campground:
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#5 DirtyDog

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 03:54 AM

Time for some mountain biking, Thunder Mountain Trail:
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#6 DirtyDog

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 03:54 AM

More Thunder Mountain Trail:
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#7 DirtyDog

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 03:57 AM

From Red Canyon, we made our way to Zion National Park. I had never been to this park. Wow.

South Campground:
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#8 DirtyDog

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 03:59 AM

The heart of the park, Zion Canyon, has been closed to the general public since 2000 and can only be accessed via the Zion bus system. Bikes are allowed on the road and this is probably one of the best road rides I have ever done:

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#9 DirtyDog

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 04:00 AM

More riding Zion Canyon:
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#10 DirtyDog

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 04:03 AM

On our ride, we stopped at the Zion Lodge and inquired about a room. Amazingly we were able to book a room with no reservation. The Lodge was awesome. The restaurant at the lodge sucked.

FWC in it's native environment - Zion Lodge:
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