Gooseberries and Guacamole.

Timing is important on Gooseberry and has gotten more important every year as people discover how much fun the riding is up there. We figured on a Thursday Morning, it wouldn't be an issue and we would be able to get one of the nicer spots nestled in the trees. No such luck. We still found a nice quiet place to call home for a night or two, but it was more exposed to wind and sun then we would have liked. Oh well. After getting set up, time to ride!

The super moon was coming and Gooseberry was a great place for the moonrise.
We have a few favorite trails already on Gooseberry. North Rim and Hidden Canyon are among my favorites - a nice variety of trails and a great mix of what Gooseberry riding is all about. That was the goal on that first ride - ride a little shorter and find our wheels on the riding out there. It always takes me a few minutes to get used to the different styles of riding. It's not just pedaling on the dirt roads - it's darting in and out of the sage and juniper trees, up and over the domed rocks. I'm sure Hidden Canyon isn't on most people's lists of an easier intro into Gooseberry, but it always works for us. And riding in in the middle of the week meant very few other people so we could just ride.
Sunset on Goosebery - playing with my camera and trying to be creative!
As is usual, I got up early to run. The running is my time to just be out there, find some peace and reflect. There's no one else out there at that hour - just me, my breathing and my focus on the trail. And the sunrise. Things look different on foot and I had time to pause to enjoy the sun rising over Smithsonian Butte. Unlike last year, I wasn't worried about my hamstring and was able to really run. I could stay on trail instead of having to make sure I had an easy bailout back to the van.

Left before the sun on my run and was treated to a desert sunrise

The things you see on two feet instead of two wheels
We did a slightly longer ride on Friday - working on our rock and route finding skills. We were able to get away from the growing crowds and the Enduro Bros filling the trails. Always nice to be able to ride away from those kind of guys and be able to clean things that they had to walk. Doesn't always happen, but when it does...

Because of the increasing population on the mesa and our goal of exploration, we decided to head across the valley to Guacamole. Of course, we couldn't just go out the normal route. We decided to take the north half of the Smithsonian Butte Scenic Byway across to Rockville. After how bad could it be? The road right out of Gooseberry was in great shape and it's really rare that a road goes from perfect to impassable in just a few miles. Well, this one did. It was great until it wasn't. And it was bad enough looking that Nick actually parked the van and walked almost all the way down the hill to make sure that we would be able to get down! It was an interesting drive down for sure - I'm not sure I would have made it down driving the van.
Another near full moon shot! This one on Guacamole
The moon was bright enough to be acting more like the sun when trying to take pictures
Just a short ride playing on the rocks in Guacamole. We always seem to get there about when I need a break from the bike and a serious rest day. Because of that, we didn't ride much out there  - did a little lollipop and some rock work, then back to the van. We skipped the big loop that's out there and didn't do all the little loops and options available. I was wishing we could ride more but knew that I needed an easy day. And even Guacamole was starting to get crowded. The parking area was full when we finished riding. It makes sense - Guacamole is so much easier to get to then Gooseberry, even if it doesn't have the variety and different levels of riding.

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