By Fred Smoak
In 2015, I had the once in a lifetime experience of riding my bike down the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was am wonderful experience of just pedaling to the South Gate, and then coasting for miles as the ground fell away. For awhile you saw little other than scrub, but then going over a small rise, the vista opened up. I could see for miles across the Canyon. Of course the fun couldn’t last forever. Around 40 miles we reached the desert floor, and it just as hot and desolate as a desert is supposed to be.
This week I did it again on Parks and Peaks. They say you can’t go home again, but this was every bit as special as the first time, perhaps more because I was primed for the best parts. The company was different, but as good. In the intervening period, I had done the same route in a car, but it cannot compare to the sensation of being on a bike – the wind in your face and the time to take in m the magnificence of the vistas.
We have been ‘wandering in the desert’ since then. The beauty not the land is in its spare, stark appearance with the towering mesas and mountains on the horizon. It is so different from what I used to on the east coast or the midwest; the stars are so bright, and the sky seems textured on a clear night. The land is full of micro-climates. I am not sure I could live here, but traveling the country by bike gives me a greater appreciation of how varied and diverse this land is.