After much thought and discussion with Cris, we decided to call it and head to Moab by car on the highway. Water would be difficult to find between here and Moab, and we had at least one tent overnight in front of us. The BLM road that the Kokopelli follows was sketchy, we had already bottomed out in the Highlander on a big rock, and Cris noticed the left front tire was significantly low on air. Also, I didn’t want to completely fry Kyle with the biggest climbing of the whole trip.
We had achieved our objectives of trying out all our gear and testing our fitness, and we knew we had many rides to do before we attempt the CT in July.
Driving Through Castle Valley
We loaded the car, and headed down to Dewey and onto Route 128 through Castle Valley to Moab. It’s an incredibly beautiful drive. For fans of the HBO series Westworld, this is where many of the outdoor scenes are filmed.
Restarting Kokopelli Above Moab
We decided in the car to make the most of the Kokopelli, and drive to the top above Moab where we’d be had we continued. We could then fly down it, as it’s all downhill into town.
When we got to the trail head, we found that the segment from Dewey (La Sal Loop Road) to the same place was closed for construction. We wouldn’t have been able to get up to this point even if we tried!
We geared back up to see what it would be like bombing down with all the weight, and set off.
I have done the neighboring Whole Enchilada trail many times, but never the Kokopelli road down to Moab, and I’m glad I did. Although it’s not singletrack, the trail winds through a beautiful canyon and provides brilliant views of both the snow capped mountains and red desert rock below.
It was only an hour or so before we got to our hotel in Moab, and it was so refreshing to shower off three days of desert dust and grime. We then headed out to snarf down a huge Mexican lunch, and discuss what we learned from our trip.
What We Learned
First, we need to manage water better for desert rides. This won’t translate directly to the CT, as on that trail we are riding above 10,000 ft for most of the ride and will come across many running streams and snowfields. We will have those water points mapped on our iPhone so that we don’t have to carry 4L of water unnecessarily.
Second, we must trim some pack weight. We’ll go through our packs in the coming weeks to see what we can yank.
Third, we need to get more fit. A few days after we got back home Kyle walked in from school and said to Cris, “We’re going out for a ride.” It was horribly windy that day, with 40+ mph gusts, and Cris said, “In this wind? ” Kyle replied, “It’ll be like that on the CT. We need to go.” We both went out and battled up the local hill, passing several others. It was the hardest ride I’ve done on that hill in 15 years, but when we turned around we had a fun fast ride with huge tailwind. We both got up to 42 mph on the bikes based on our GPS tracker.
We’ll go back and do the Kokopelli some year, maybe next, and we’ll probably start in Moab to get the big climbing in when we’re fresh.