It's taken me awhile to post this thread - I have been so tired, needing to recover from the trip. I signed up for it 6 months ago and no matter how much time, I'm not certain I could really be prepared for it. It was literally the hardest thing I've ever done!
The reason I'm posting this in the 50+ s that coincidentally everyone on the trip was over 50 years old. I asked the Guides and apparently that is unusual. I have to say it was the guests (and the guides) that made the trip. It was a great, opinionated, interesting, mature group of strong, hard riders!
I reserved the trip through Western Spirit. Plug for them... I would do a trip with them again. The guides were wonderful and they know how to take care of guests. We had a world renown restaurateur on the trip and even he raved about the food.
We all met in St. George for a 3 hours ride through the wilds of Utah and Arizona to the beginning of our rides, the later part of the Arizona Trail. The first day was very promising. The sky was beautiful, I was fresh and alot of the trail was downhill. We rode through one lovely meadow after another, splashing at times through snow melt-off. There were some steep climbs but like I say, I was fresh.
That evening we set up Camp at Locust Point.
I am not a wilderness camper so the first couple of nights took some adjustment. When one of the guides explained the "groover" I was ready to ride back to town!!!
The next day we did another part of the AZ trail. OK maybe it was the elevation (9000') or the fact I am old and out of shape, but it was a hard day. The total ride was 24 miles but I cut it half way. I turned back first and I was followed by several others although half of the group did the entire ride. Bless them. Although we had more lovely meadows, the trail was either up or deep steep rocky, gnarly stuff. There was alot of walking!
The next day offered alittle rest... we did a 5 mile hike and then visited the Grand Canyon Lodge. We then did a mostly downhill ride into our next camp at the Rainbow Rim. The Rim is a fantastic trail but very hard for me. I do alotof singletrack riding but not stuff that is loose with steep dropoffs. I was basically scared most of the time. I did the entire trail (15 miles) on Thursday but came in 2 hours behind everyone else. It was alittle disconcerting to rim on the rim of the Canyon:
The last night before we left, we had a lovely campfire right on the Rim of the Canyon:
The last day of riding was out on the North or East end of the Rainbow Rim. This was my favorite. Still some scary Canyon views but also loads of lovely meadows. The elevation finally was not bothering me and I rode the entire trail without walking.
Anyway great trip, great company, great outfitter - but =whew= I am tired! Here's a parting shot: