An early but fun day.

Today we explored Dead Horse Point State Park by mountain bike and then drove through Canyonlands National Park in the early afternoon. We woke up at 5:30am to have a quick breakfast in town (Denny’s – an all american classic…and it has wifi) and headed over to Dead Horse Point for 7:30am where we met our guide for the morning, Sacha. Sacha works for Solfun/Magpie Cycling in Moab and brought with him our rented mountain bikes and gear along with lunch and snacks. It was my first time on a proper mountain bike so Sacha gave me some tips and tricks to maneuvering through the intermediate trails of the park, which included ledges, sliprock, sand and dirt trails.

We spent about five and a half hours of tough (for me at least) riding, punctuated by breaks for water or to take in the breaktaking scenery. Dead Horse Point has very similar topography to Canyonlands, which are both drastically different from Arches (apart from the slickrock). It seems like an Island in the Sky (and in fact, the main road into both parks is named just that) since the navigable area of the park is surrounded by beautiful canyons with steep cliffs of jagged rock.

During our bike ride we saw a fair bit of wildlife, including a horny toad, a two foot rattle snake (well, I only saw its tail since by the time I caught up with the guys the snake had found shelter in a hole in a tree stump leaving only its rattler sticking out), lots of jack rabbits and a few lizards.

After five plus hours of mountain biking and a couple of falls, scrapes and bruises later, I was exhausted and ready for lunch back at the visitor center. We followed it up by an hour of driving through Canyonlands with a few stops for pictures before heading back to our tent for a nap before dinner.

Two out of the five national parks down, and one more day in Moab to explore different areas of Arches tomorrow.