There are two things that we hear constantly in our daily lives as Americans: get outside and get more exercise! My family took these two pieces of cultural advice to heart and decided to blend them into one awesome trip to “Slickrock Bike Trail” located near Arches National Park in Utah. After a decent trek across four states we arrived at our destination and unloaded our bikes in one of the most picturesque and unique pieces of land that I’ve ever set foot on. We marveled at the strange land that surrounded us and could hardly wait to get going while Mom took a family photo around the Slickrock trailhead sign.
In the rolling sandstone hills of Slickrock, there’s a trail in the form of faint white stripes. And these stripes caress the landscape in all its bucks and turns guiding the trail riders safely (and thrillingly) through the gleaming red rock.
These lines make up two main trails with several lookout points that accompany them. The first is a three-mile “practice” trail and the other is a thirteen-mile loop through some areas that simply took my breath away. We started out on the three mile practice trail just to get a feel for what awaited us, and though the trail didn’t require very much skill to maneuver, the bucks and heaves of the landscape proved to be pretty strenuous! After the first run my parents and the three youngest of my siblings decided to pedal around closer to the campground and let the three oldest children (my older brother, myself and my next younger brother) go for the ride that we had been dreaming of: the thirteen mile loop!
With growing enthusiasm we took off through the stormy sea of sandstone that seemed determined to envelope us in its many troughs and swells. A couple times we took the lookout point trails and stared in awe at the beautiful Moab valley off to the west with the tiny city of Moab quaintly placed inside its sandstone walls. To the north was Negro Bill Canyon, where the Colorado River roared with a dedication for carving away at any sandstone that got in its way. To the east was a rugged landscape that seemed to stretch on forever with it’s glimmering red stone and scattered gnarled shrubbery, and to the south was the campground where we came from.
At each of these stops we would become very contemplative as each of us realized what an amazing and beautiful world we lived in. But then one of us would snap back to our present position, wake the other two from their daydreaming and with whoops and hollers we flew down the twisting slopes of that grand park. Exhilarating doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling we all had as we traversed the trails with the sun of late spring giving off it’s gentle heat.
After having the time of our lives we came back to the car and posed for Mom to take another picture. We then loaded up the bikes and piled into the car chattering animatedly about the sights we had seen. As we began to pull away from that surreal landscape a hush fell over the car as everyone looked back at the rolling sandstone hills of Slickrock Park thinking about the amazing day we had just had. And with those final thoughts we three older brothers looked at each other and with one accord all nodded in agreement that we would be back in the very near future.
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