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Old 06-28-10, 09:09 PM   #1
Pamestique 
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Riding The North Rim - Grand Canyon - my vacation I need a vacation from

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:
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Old 06-28-10, 09:28 PM   #2
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Do not ride off-road . . . however:
Did the road ride from Jacobs Lake to the Grand Canon Lodge and back (2 days riding) on our tandem a couple decades ago.
It was early spring (Memorial Day) and temp was 70 degrees with snow still in the shady spots under the trees.
A fantastic and quiet ride with minimal taffic and lots of wildlife.
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Old 06-28-10, 09:53 PM   #3
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Far out! Not my kind of riding but I might have to consider it sometime! Thanks for the pictures and report.
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Old 06-28-10, 10:06 PM   #4
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Great pictures and description of the ride. I'm sure I would have been crawling along the canyon rim as heights are not my favorite thing.
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Old 06-28-10, 10:26 PM   #5
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Good stuff, Pam. You deserve a nice rest and some PIE.
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Old 06-29-10, 04:13 AM   #6
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Great report and pictures. I was there back in 1980 and would love to go back and do a ride like this. The views are beautiful.
I ride road most the time now but really enjoy a nice single track.
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Old 06-29-10, 05:32 AM   #7
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Great report! I've been thinking for a while about doing this trip. Maybe next year.

I've done a one day mtn. bike ride in the Red Rocks area of Las Vegas with Western Spirit and it was a very good experience.

Did Western Spirit provide the bikes for your trip? Also, were you or any other of the people doing the trip as a single?

Thanks again for the report.
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Old 06-29-10, 06:10 AM   #8
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That looks like a wonderful experience. I have never done off-road riding (except rail trails and towpaths) and don't intend to start, but I envy you for having done it.
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Old 06-29-10, 06:12 AM   #9
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Beautiful. Thanks for the pictures. The North Rim is truly spectacular.
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Old 06-29-10, 06:20 AM   #10
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Nice one Pam.
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Old 06-29-10, 06:46 AM   #11
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Great report!
Did Western Spirit provide the bikes for your trip? Also, were you or any other of the people doing the trip as a single?
Many people rented bikes from Western Spirit - they offer Spec. XC's - we did note another company - Escape Adventures - offered Spec. Stumpjumpers - a better upgrade. We bought our own bikes, since we were close enough to drive to St. George. As guests we had people from Northern CA, AZ, Chicago and as far away as Ireland (he was a professional poker player staying in Las Vegas at the time).

I came with two friends. There were 3 friends there celebrating 50th birthdays. Also two other friends came together. Everyone else came as singles and in the future, I would not hesitate to do so as well. Strange, all the men were married but there without SO. Of the women, only my one friend was married (there were 7 guys and 5 women). Mmmmmmmmmmm... there was alittle hanky panky going on but it was innocent.
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Old 06-29-10, 06:55 AM   #12
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Here's one last photo since many people came for the view...

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Old 06-29-10, 07:45 AM   #13
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Great pictures, but what was your average speed?

Just kidding. The third picture from the top reminds me of why I don't go mountain biking any more.
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Old 06-29-10, 07:47 AM   #14
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It looks and sounds like a fine excursion, but why in the world are you tired?

I wouldn't be tired.

Just dead.
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Old 06-29-10, 09:53 AM   #15
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Thanks for posting the photos. It sounds like you had a fun and challenging vacation. I imagine that it would be hard to get used to riding so close to the rim, especially on loose and rocky trails. I take it the trail in the third picture must have been worse than it looks in the picture. It looks like something that would be no problem for a Stumpjumper.
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Old 06-29-10, 10:09 AM   #16
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Still some scary Canyon views
Thanks for posting; this looks like a great trip. would love to do something like this.

As for the scary routes along the Canyon -- I read somewhere once that fear of heights can grow worse as you age; has to do with changes in your inner ear and a feel like you are falling (vertigo) when you look into a canyon. I've always had a *tiny* bit of vertigo, but 2 years ago when I was hiking w/my son along some canyons I suddenly found I was *much* more wobbly about heights than I ever had been in my past. I am now getting that even on paved highways when descending on my road bike -- I have to be careful not to look over the edge or it bothers me.

So, congrats for making it past the canyon-edge paths; they would give me pause.
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Old 06-29-10, 10:26 AM   #17
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That is the sad thing... for times you travel inland, in the forest and then all of sudden here is the Rim, and gorgeous views. I could stop and look at them but if riding, I had to focus on the trail or even look inward to avoid the weird spacial issue with looking over the rim into the canyon. There is something about looking straight down for a mile that is unsettling.

I tried to take photos of the steep gnarly trails but you know, grades sometimes flatten out in 2 d photos. Just trust me when I say alot of them were puckery. I just walked up the steep stuff but attempted to ride down them and would do ok until the wheel washed out and then I went on foot. It was a real test for me and my little bike (a Santa Cruz Superlight) with 4" of travel. I had one really close call - I was coming down this steep hill... it was very rocky and my front washed out, the bike went down and almost over the edge. Luckily I just jammed my right shoulder into the side of the hill and was able to catch myself (heart thumbing, out of breathe!). Another guest I was following tried to stop, had no place for his foot and he tumbled over the edge (in a forest area) and rolled several times. Thankfully he was not hurt. His friend, a new MTB rider took several really bad falls. Every inch of his legs by the end of the week were covered with bruises, sratches and cuts. They were ugly! One of the guests had an Enduro with 8". I was jealous! That's a good bike for these trails.
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Old 06-29-10, 10:42 AM   #18
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That is a ride that some of the roadies ought to try sometime. Mountain biking is hard and it is not just the terrain. You have to look at the trail and still find time to look at the views. And with views like that- I think I would be adding to the scars on my legs.
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Old 06-29-10, 11:03 AM   #19
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Stap - love the Avatar! Yours????
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Old 06-29-10, 11:12 AM   #20
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What a great adventure.
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Old 06-29-10, 11:19 AM   #21
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Stap - love the Avatar! Yours????
Grand daughter but decided to change from the Meringue I used to have as it stops the weight loss that some are trying to achieve.

I Haven'yt done any serious off road for about a year now but the Tandem got out a few weeks ago. Makes me realise how much I miss the Vibro Massage and the mud packs.
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Old 06-29-10, 11:47 AM   #22
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I didn't realize that trail was so close to where I live. Thanks for the pictures. I have to go try what Pam did. Thanks Pam!
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Old 06-29-10, 11:59 AM   #23
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If you do I want a report!!!! And photos!
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Old 06-29-10, 05:27 PM   #24
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. . . and elevation on North Rim is 8,000 ft (1,000 ft higher than South Rim).
If you are not acclimated to higher altitude, some folks have issues for a day or so.
If you want to see the scenery, it's best to stop and look.
Had one fellow on a South Rim trip that tried to rubber-neck and do 40 mph . . . wrecked a bike and had some road rash.
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Old 06-29-10, 07:43 PM   #25
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I have ridden down into the grand canyon twice. Both times on mules. I think in that kind of terrain a mule would suit me just fine.
thanks for the report and the great pictures.
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