Escalante and beyond

Today was very long, and that is meant as a mostly positive description. The morning seems so distant that it is hard to comprehend it as part of this day. It seems we almost had as much excitement as the east coast.
We enjoyed an amazing Utah sunrise as the backdrop for an early morning climb. We then descended into a massive network of canyons; the road was so steep and windy that an extra effort was needed to properly corner. We then briefly rode beside a river with red walls rising up all around us. Soon we unexpectedly ran into the steepest climbs of the trip yet (14% grade) as we clawed our way out of the canyon. This led into a road that followed a ridge line, meaning there was the road and then nothing at all to either side. Four false summits later we stumbled into the town of Boulder agreeing that we were utterly shot. This was bad news as we had yet to even begin the day's main climb.
We took an hour respite to mentally and physically regroup, facilitated by coffee, oatmeal, pancakes and homemade molasses oatmeal toast. It did the trick and we spent the next three hours pushing our rubbery legs up to 10,000 feet. From the summit we could just made out the spot from which we had begun the day. We had to take shelter at the top as a line of thunderstorms rapidly intensified. They passed but the ride down was wet and freezing cold. We dodged storms for the next twenty miles to town, at times buffeted by strong gusts.
The combination of the rain and an offer we couldn't refuse at the Days Inn has us now living in the lap of luxury (beds, hot tub, free breakfast!) In fact the receptionist was so nice and interested in our ride that she insisted on treating us to dinner as well. We could not be happier and our extremely grateful to her generosity. 68 miles and lots and lots of vertical sums up the day's ride. -Lucas


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