Satish Shrestha (सतिश श्रेष्ठ )

In The Quest Of…

Jogi Travelexperience: Day 5 (Mt. Biking in St. George, UT)

Posted by Satish Shrestha on March 17, 2011

March 15, 2011

After three consecutive days of skiing, my body was rather worn out. On the fourth day, I experienced mild fever and cold. Hence, I decided to skip skiing yesterday and instead stayed in the hostel to blow off steam. I felt quite weak the entire day and didn’t do much besides feeding and hydrating myself. For today, the fifth day, our plan was to drive down to St. George, UT and mountain bike in a canyon.

I woke up with immense enthusiasm and body was all charged up. We left Camelot Hostel in SLC at 5:30 AM and it took us around five hours to get to St. George. Red Rocks Bicycles was the first bike shop we went in to see if they rented mountain bike. They did, but they were all out today. The second bike shop we tried was Bicycles Unlimited. It was pretty elaborate bike shop and I was quite impressed with their services. I rented a Canondale dual suspension mountain bike for a day. Mark and I hit the road immedietely.  Instead of driving down to the canyon, we rode out bikes from the bike shop. After riding the bikes in the streets of St. George for almost over an hour, we arrived the gateway of the canyon. St. George has very wide bike lanes and I must say that it is one of the most bike friendly cities I’ve ridden a bike in. The weather was simply superb. Clear blue sky with plenty sunshine, temperature in the premise of lower seventies Fahrenheit ! It felt like Spokane in mid-summer.

Bear-Claw Poppy Trail is what we tried. It had a variety of difficulty levels and some of the parts of the trails were pretty intense. The rented bike was pretty cool but it did take some time to get used to it. Thus, I was being very cautious in every drops and bumps and started with easier sides. Gradually, I promoted to more difficult ones. Some of the drops were pretty scary as they were unexpectedly narrow and deep. I almost landed with my head at one point but my reflex action of leaning backwards avoided that accident. I stopped for a minute after that and hydrated myself. I was a little thrilled. The trail obviously is a gift of the nature. Nonetheless, people who fabricated it must be appreciated. Monstrous cliff on each side of the trail, wild flowers and cacti pretty much every where and random cloud shapes were very eye-pleasing. Time after time I would think that I must have been dreaming, for though I’ve always wanted to do all these things I had not quite planned them.

Beginning of the Bear Claw Poppy Trail

We were in the trail for a couple hours and we headed back to the city. St. George is a very neat city and it appeared that most people were quite affluent.  Almost over 80% of this city is occupied by the Mormons  (source:Wikipedia). The influence of Mormons was quite evident. After completing the mountain bike ride, we started our little quest for Polygamy Porter. Mark is quite obsessed with that beer. We stopped at Costco and walked through every isle in search of Polygamy Porter. We had no luck. Eventually, I asked one of the staffs at Costco for help. With wide smile in his face he asked me, “You are not from this state, are ya ?”. I said “no”. “Oh well…there’s only one bar in town and only one liquor store also. You could get some wines and beers at Walmart and Smith’s”. I was happy I didn’t tell him what exactly we were looking for. He gave us the direction and we headed to Smith’s. I came up with a quick hypothesis. A person with alcohol addiction problem should not spend time and money in a rehab. If he/she were to move down to St. George or any Mormon town, the problem would be at least mitigated if not totally resolved. Mark did find Polygamy porter at the Smith’s and he grabbed a whole case of them. The graphics in the case was ridiculous (see picture). Mark appreciated the beauty of the city like I did. But his conclusion was that he couldn’t be paid enough to live there. Don’t ask me why.

Pretty cool drop right between the boulders

Graphics in the case of Polygamy Porter

After refueling our cooler and food supplies, we headed to Vegas [“From the city where you can’t find a stinking beer to the Sin City!” -Mark Waters]. The view on each side of the highway was mind blowing. We were passing through Virgin Mountain range. It seemed like all those monstrous cliffs were silently speaking to me but I failed to communicate with them. I am not quite good at expressing this feeling, but I feel like hills, cliffs, mountains all are dynamic and animate. After around two and half hours of driving through the mountains, we entered Las Vegas. The city was visible around 30 miles away and the air in the city looked almost as polluted as in Los Angeles. It was quite densely shrouded by smug. Las Vegas is so much larger than I had envisioned. The main strip of the city is full of elaborate architectures. The billboards in the highway mostly pass information about casinos, adult stores and motels. One of the billboards that caught my attention was “Australia’s best export: Thunder Down Under”. The billboard displayed around 6 semi-naked guys and it just looked ridiculous. Las vegas is definitely a unique city or say the Sin city. But I guess I am not sinner enough to associate myself with this city in any way.

We headed down south towards the Red Rocks Canyon in Mojave desert. It was an adventure finding the campground and the venue. After helps from a friendly park staff and another bitchy park staff, we were able to find Phil, the person in charge of Red Rocks Rendezvous. Unfortunately, the camp ground will be open for us starting tomorrow only. Thus, we had to arrange some other sort of accommodation for tonight. We headed further south to find a camp ground. Again unfortunately, the camp ground was full. So we headed back north and decided to check out Bonnie Springs Ranch, a classic western hotel. The setting of the entire facility reminded me of western movies with cowboys, horses, guns and whatnot. It was like going back in time. Here I am in a hotel room, the furniture look antiquated, the TV must have been from the 60’s and I can see donkeys and canyon in the back yard. It can’t get any western than this, can it ?


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