August 16, 2011

Escaping the Heat in UT

Summer is winding down, boo. The hottest day this year was 111 (July 2nd). Even though it never really felt too hot and I'm not ready for summer to end, we snuck away to the cool air and high elevations of Brian Head and Duck Creek, Utah to ride trails.

When we left Vegas after work on Friday it was 105, three hours later when we got to my co-workers condo (10,500 feet elevation), in Brian Head, it was 52. Um, BRRRR! Talk about a shock to the system!

Saturday, we got an early start and we drove out to Duck Creek. Unloaded the RZR, and drove into "town" had breakfast at Aunt Sue's Chalet. The told us we could buy OHV trail map at the gas station, but Frank felt confident that he knew the way from all his hours of research and google earth mapping.

So, after we ate, we were off to the trails. We missed the turn off and ended up getting a tour of the homes/camps. Before finding our way. We took the 1 initially, we went over lava beds, through bristlecone forest and across meadows. In the second meadow, I got stung by a bee. We were riding along, I felt a pinch and looked down at my belly and half a bee was sitting there. It took me a second to realize what happened, and then the stinging started. It got worse and worse. I made Frank pullover so I could check it out. I'm allergic (not deathly), and hadn't been stung since I was 10. I wasn't sure exactly what would happen. No stinger was inside, it quickly swelled and left a nasty welt. It's still sore to the touch and discolored, but I never felt funny so that was good.

We pressed on and took a loop on 16 but it didn't lead us to anything in particular. We continued on 1 to the reservior, it was really pretty, we stopped. Frank was ahead of me because I was taking photos, he crossed a creek and I was looking for a way to cross instead of watching were I was walking. Sure enough, I tripped, rolled my ankle, I nearly fell, but caught myself. My heart was racing over my camera. Then the pain started. I sat and checked out my ankle it didn't swell instantly so I was happy. I was able to put weight on it. I figured I stretched out the ligaments. It hurt, but not terribly we carried on.

It was a great ride until we reached the lake. Then, it started to rain, it drizzled at first and then the sky opened lightening, thunder and complete downfall. We were lost, and soaked. It was so damn cold. Just when I thought I couldn't get any wetter, water that had collected on the roof poured in on me, and it continued to do so. It was miserable. The fortunate thing was I was so cold, I didn't feel my sting or ankle. We ended up going 20 miles out of our way while lost. Frank thought 1 was a loop and it was not. At least, he realized it before we got even further out. We headed back to the lake and drove on the highway until we crossed back to our original path. It ended up working out, but we were both on edge during that storm. We were so relieved to be back on route. The rain stopped and we were drying up. I was watching GPS like a hawk so we wouldn't get off route. I was distracted and completely missed a branch that ended up flying back and slapping me across the face right at the bridge of my nose. I was stunned, I sat and waited for the blood to flow. Fortunately it never came. I was only left with minor swelling under my left eye to my nose. What else? Geez, I didn't plan on the abuse.

Finally we got back to Duck Creek. Frank stopped at the gas station, he comes out with a map. I bust into laughter, "That's helpful." "We'll be prepared next time," he says. We get to the truck. My backside was still soaked, I was wet and cold. Frank had the heat kicking in the car. We stopped at one overlook for Cedar Breaks, we were quickly reminded that it was only 50 outside. I froze while I snapped a couple photos, realizing that our visit to Cedar Breaks would not happen with my bum ankle. We drove back to the condo. I took a hot shower to warm up and remove the chunks of mud that were all over. I iced and elevated my foot.

A while later, we grabbed dinner at Pizano's Pizza. They were out of dough, so we ended up getting a meatball and chicken parm sandwich, along with a couple Jamaican Lagers. Both were far better than I expected. After our beers, we went back to the condo. We were both beat, we quickly crashed. I woke in the middle of the night, my ankle was killing me. I must have turned it awkwardly. Eventually, I got comfortable enough to fall back asleep. By morning, it felt pretty good. It only hurt to walk, swelling was no worse and still minor. I felt good enough to ride.

We rode the trails right near the condo in Brian Head. It was brisk, much cooler than Saturday... less sun and higher elevation. After an hour, Frank had enough of the wind and cold. Plus we'd logged 130 miles by now, we got plenty of riding in. We went back to the condo, had lunch, packed and cleaned, and we were on the road for home by noon. Temps climbed as soon as we headed down the mountain, within and hour it was up to 90. We stopped for lotto tickets in AZ, it was 109 there. Hard to believe less than 2 hours before it was 54. We had lots of fun, but I'll take the triple digits. I'm used to the desert riding, there was a definite learning curve to the cool air, forests, etc. We'll be better prepared next time.

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