Kokopelli Day 2 – Rabbit Valley, Mack

Our first overnight on the Kokopelli was restless.  After midnight a big crowd of campers arrived and set up shop noisily.  Also, we found our Thermarest pads emitted a “crunchy” sound every time one of us turned over.

However, we woke to the sound of cows mooing all around us, which was pretty cool.  I got up, heated our water for coffee and oatmeal glop, packed our bags and we got on our way west.  We had 15 extra miles to make up from yesterday and get to Dewey Bridge to meet Cris.

We made pretty good time in the morning with fresh legs, almost no wind, and low temps.

headed to Westwater
headed to Westwater
near Western Rim
near Western Rim
Western Rim
Western Rim

Westwater Ranger Station

Heading downhill to the river, we came upon an abandoned house which looked to be an old mining shack.

miner's cabin by Westwater Ranger Station
miner’s cabin by Westwater Ranger Station
miner's cabin by Westwater Ranger Station
miner’s cabin by Westwater Ranger Station
room with a view
room with a view
miner's cabin by Westwater Ranger Station
miner’s cabin by Westwater Ranger Station
where they stored bad children
where they stored bad children

Then, we then came upon a set of railroad tracks and disturbed some bird, a turkey I think, that flew up right in front of us and then ran along the tracks. We couldn’t stop laughing as we crossed the tracks and headed into the station.

paddlers on Colorado at Westwater Ranger Station
paddlers on Colorado 

As we sat down to rest, a woman approached us and asked if we were doing the Kokopelli, and then proceeded to warn us about a local rancher who had erected barbed wire fencing across the trail at several places. She was a local who rides the trail often, and a few weeks ago hit one of those wires, flew off the bike, and broke her arm and several ribs.  I’ve read about malicious spikes on trails left as traps, and wondered if we had an issue.  We thanked her and went over to station to find where we could refill our water supplies and met a ranger named Bob.

Bob helped us with water at Westwater Ranger Station
Bob helped us with water at Westwater Ranger Station

I asked Bob if we had an issue ahead, and he said, “No, the rancher just wants to keep his cattle contained.  You’ll see them far in advance, and just put the gate back in place when you cross over his land.”  Bob then unlocked the spigot for us, and we topped off our water supplies.

Trails which go long distances often pass over private lands, and I believe it’s best to tread lightly over those passages.  If we cyclists can do that, then we’ll be able to get more of these epic trails constructed.  Sure enough, we had no problem seeing the fences in advance, opened the gates, and put them back in place once as we passed.

Big Wind and Heat, Again

Once we left the ranger station, the hot winds again picked up as they did the day prior.  

Soon we began to see red and white land formations characteristic of Moab.

starting to look like Moab
starting to look like Moab

And as heat kicked in, we sought refuge under whatever brush we could find.

slogging through high heat and winds to Dewey Bridge
slogging through high heat and winds

We encountered some difficult climbs and hike-a-bike, and I could tell Kyle was wearing out.  

slogging through high heat and winds to Dewey Bridge
more hike-a-bike

Arrival at Dewey Bridge

Finally we got to Dewey Bridge.  The beautiful wooden bridge was built in 1916 was destroyed by fire from a young child playing with matches.

remains of Dewey Bridge, destroyed by fire from child playing with matches in 2007
remains of Dewey Bridge, destroyed by fire from child playing with matches in 2007
remains of Dewey Bridge, destroyed by fire from child playing with matches in 2007
remains of Dewey Bridge, destroyed by fire from child playing with matches in 2007

We met Cris, and she brought us delicious fried chicken and Gatorade.  Yum!  I had hoped we would have the energy to start the climb out of Dewey and get a camp site with a view, but Kyle was kaput.  So, we put the bikes on the car and drove up the Top of the World Safari Route as far as we could in the Highlander and found a nice place to set down.

As nightfall hit, Kyle got a few spectacular pics of the stars.  

campsite offered great star photos
campsite offered great star photos
no light pollution for great star photos
no light pollution for great star photos
Kyle set up the camera for photos over a few hours after sundown
Kyle set up the camera for photos over a few hours after sundown

I had a lot to think about and whether we could or should proceed.  Even though we had a good 40 mile day, Kyle was spent, and the biggest climbs of the ride were in front of us.  Also, water was a huge problem – there were few, if any, viable streams to resupply between this point and Moab, and the roads were too rutted for Cris to get to us in the Highlander.  

But at least the wind had died down, and since we were both exhausted, sleep came quickly.

Gallery

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