A side of Guacamole

After vacating Gooseberry just before the mass of riders arrived, it was a quick stop to pick up a part and resupply. Then onto the next adventure - Guacamole. A few people had told us to check it out, that it was worth the drive up. And a drive up it was! Dusty road through an expansive valley, then up the narrow canyon to the top of the mesa. We were just across from Zion and the rock formations of the national park filled the eastern sky. It was only 2:30 when we parked the van and the sun hung high in the cloudless sky.

Nick decided that he would get in a quick lap of the trail, see what we were in for tomorrow. Despite my fatigue and slowness with the ride at Gooseberry that morning, I decided I would do a short run. I'd originally planned to stick to the jeep roads that lead off in all directions from the trailhead, but my TADD kicked in. There was singletrack - with the potential for views! Why just run on the roads? I can do that at home. So off I went on to the trail. I knew it would be slow when I hit the slickrock section, but speed wasn't the point. I danced along the trail, following the cairns and tire tracks to the edge of the mesa and back. Nick also returned from his ride grinning, so I knew it had to be good.

Gazing down into the valley below - don't lose your balance!
Morning greeted me - chilly and calm. Like the prior mornings, I made a cup of coffee and then did yoga on the rocks as the sun rose. The moon was setting, the sky turning pink as the sun inched higher in the sky. The cliffs of Zion were bathed in gold from the rising sun. A perfect, quiet morning.


Sunrise over Zion
Guacamole didn't disappoint. So different from Gooseberry, but also similar. Wildly varying terrain, with the trail shifting personalities around every corner. We were ducking and diving around the pinion pines, following the same cairns and tire tracks I'd followed before. And then the forest opened up into an old burn area, revealing slickrock and more. The cairns lead us onto huge humps of white rock, jutting out of the surrounding stone. Completely out of place with the rest of the mesa. We found the bonus loop trail Nick had missed the day before and heading out, following small paint dashes and cairns. All the way to mesa's edge, the trail meandered thru the burnt pines, winding in and around the white rock hulks. It was fun, challenging riding and different from what we'd seen already on the trail. One minute we were climbing a gradual slope, then next dropping between small canyons, tires clattering over petrified wood. Then we were tracing the edges of the stones, like we were dodging huge rain drops that solidified on contact with the dirt. The trail was easy to follow, then a confusing mix with cairns in all directions. Which one was the line? Was that cairn a quarter mile away and around several rocks or the next one? Every corner and edge had to be assessed on the slickrock as the wrong move frequently led to a 10 foot drop instead of a roller.


Nick in one of the many rock features on the mesa - this one required climbing up into the bowl, doing a U-turn and traversing the edge around to the far right


We were finishing up the loop as other riders started arriving on the mesa. Time to move on - the next destination called.

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