Now, this was a busy day! Probably the busiest in a long time, the energy sure has been here since in Escalante. I think as always the "space" we are in has so much to do with it. We were up at 5am, for once I set up the cell phone alarm (horrible sound!) as I had planned for us to hike the Petrified Forest. Already hiking during the day is not recommended, daylight at 5:30. Someone of course was not very happy about it… Spirit could not even open his eyes and I think he even lost his ears at that moment!
We had taken a ride there yesterday, one of our very close destination while waiting for the new seal to arrive. Only a few miles west of Escalante, one road going to the Wide Hollow reservoir and the other into the State Park. Unlike the area we spent earlier, here, nearly a 1000 years ago the Natives where the Fremont Indians. The reservoir was peaceful, even with its own little beach on its far end, a place to go back with a good book and a chair, who knows, Spirit might even decide to swim a bit, as much as he dislikes water.
The fire is still going on about 15 miles away, has burned a bit over 2000 acres and being fought by 365 fire fighters. The winds have been mostly to the west, even though only 20% contained we are safe. I keep an eye on it, there is much information about it in town posted in every store. So yes, an early ride today to beat the heat and have a nice opportunity to take some pictures before the sun’s harshness makes its mark. That is the "moon" going to rest this morning, not the sun which we did not see till later as our hike was on the west side of the mountain. It was a beautiful scene, a great way to start the day…
We don’t really hike too much. National Parks do not allow dogs on the trails, we are going to have more freedom about it in this area and will try to take advantage of it. The loop through the Petrified Forest was only one mile (felt like 10!), with a 200 feet elevation, being considered a moderate to fairly strenuous… I would say… strenuous period! Backpack, water bowl and water for the both of us, forgot some fruit bars we normally carry! I have been thinking about a backpack for Spirit also, he needs to carry his own now! I will let him really complain then…
Definitely getting used to the altitude, we climbed up easily the 200 steep feet to the top of the well marked trail, turning around often to watch the sun slowly lighting up the reservoir behind us. Perfect timing with still some coolness in the air and not a drop of sweat. One sees so much while riding, hiking is even more generous adding the touch and feel of it all. I decided that we needed to do this much more often… a good fuel saver activity also! It did not take too long to come across the incredible display of petrified wood.
Its process is just another wonder of Mother Nature’s work over the many past years present. I cannot help thinking that our visit to the Antelope Slot Canyons was the highlight of these past months. It was the most beautiful Artwork we had ever seen, in my eyes anyhow, and these past couple days, more or less at a stand still with much thinking about our little side trips here, my mind had been a bit "blaze" about the fact that maybe nothing is going to compare to that experience.
But once again, as so many times it happens, after learning about its process, amazement again surfaced seeing and feeling the textures and colors present in front of us. The process is just such a unique time event. Approximately 135 to 155 million years ago, trees up to 100 feet tall were uprooted and buried in mud during violent flooding.
Ground water permeated the buried trees over millions of years. Because they were in an oxygen-free environment, the trees did not decay. Instead, through a complex process, silica solution in the ground water replaced the organic material in the trees leaving, and I think that is the incredible part, the cell structures intact. Slow as time passed on, erosion making its mark, the fallen forest of petrified trees is now exposed.
I could not get over the amazing display of colors, and the further we went in, the more pieces were scattered all over the ground. From large ones to small ones maybe only an inch long, one is not allowed to retrieve any, I held them up into the soft sun rays by now coming up, but I did not carry any out with us from the area. I am sure that many do, why move such legacy from where it has spend millions of years and belongs to the ground that has helped so much turning a conventional tree into what we where seeing.
As the displays went on beyond the marked trail, we got a lost a couple times, tried to get Spirit to guide me back on it but he was worthless in that fashion, probably was more interested in putting his nose in the bushes to find a quick lizard, a fact that he has not understood yet, he will never catch one! As soon as the sun came up over the crest, instantly the heat rose and it was back down to a T shirt and a couple water drinking pit stops. The more water we drank… the lighter my load was.
The hike over, a bit more resting in the shades still available, it was time to get back and check the mail. Old Faithful’s seal was waiting! Two and a half days from NH, I was surprised as not expecting it till the next day. So I started thinking since I did not see any more leaks to just remove the wheel and check, basically, being lazy specially having never done that particular repair. Sure enough, up on the stand, hidden from the exposed wheel, a few drops had managed to leak from while riding locally these past few days close to a hundred miles. The repair was so easy that I felt myself embarrassed if anyone would have taken the time to come and help me! A great feel good situation! Suddenly all the little mechanical problems where fixed!
Days of not riding any distance I think had made me restless! There is a get together about 70 miles from here, in Penguitch, a Colorado BMW Club we have been thinking about joining for the weekend. A hike, a repair, a nap, the day was getting late but they are also long right now. I did not take much thought about jumping on the rig with Spirit, Doggles and helmet on to go the 140 mile round trip for a quick visit before going back again to camp. It is always a great ride when having not ridden for days! A beautiful road, we did not stop a single time for pictures as I know we will explore those sections one at the time… just some awesome riding. Another "feel good", all this in one day!
We did not make it back till about midnight, I love riding at night, it is a bit of a Russian Roulette however with the many animals crossing the road, but eyes peeled on the black top with the help of 7 headlights throughout those deserted areas of Utah is an incredible experience. We are packing now to go back to Penguitch and meet up with the many riders already present last night. Strangely enough, met up with two riders that knew us from a Rally in Louisiana, the one we crashed, and another rider from a get together we were near by Lake Isabella in California. Small world! I have to admit that it is nice and a bit strange at the same time to meet readers that have been following us!
On the way we go… did not get our fill for riding yet!!!
Till next time, as always, you be well… and again a big "thank you" for all those that have helped us on line!
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Ara Gureghian 853 Vanderbilt Beach Rd #245 Naples, Fl 34108
Ara & Spirit