Bicycle touring the Colorado Plateau, part four: the Abajos, Needles, and Lockhart Basin

Continuing (north) from my hiking adventures in Cedar Mesa, this is the last installment about my month-long bicycle tour from the Chama River to Moab in Apr-May 2009:

Farther north I hiked in Hammond Canyon from a trailhead in the Abajos and then in upper Salt Creek Canyon from the Cathedral Butte trailhead. I admired a ~20 room Anasazi site in Upper Salt Creek, but I didn’t make it down all the way to the famous pictograph, All American Man. This whole area is so spectacular. I could explore it for months.

Hammond Canyon, Abajo Mountains, UT by bryandkeith on flickr
Hammond Canyon, Abajo Mountains, Utah
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Bicycle touring the Colorado Plateau, part three: Cedar Mesa

Continuing my route out of the wilds of the Carrizo Mountains, I reached pavement again at Beclabito, New Mexico. This post has little text and is, I suppose, more about hiking in Cedar Mesa than bicycle touring. Here goes:

It felt good to hit some pavement for the short ride in and out Teec Nos Pos, but then I headed straight north to Aneth. I crossed the mighty San Juan River on a wobbly footbridge which seemed so much more appropriate to my journey than a highway bridge. Aneth, Montezuma Creek, Bluff, it was one town after another for a stretch. I left Bluff with 10 kg of food and 10 kg of water and hauled this load through Valley of the Gods, up the Moqui Dugway, and out to Muley Point. The food lasted, as it turned out, 9 days to the Needles Outpost. During that time I took 7 hikes and visited at least a dozen Anasazi sites.

Aneth, UT by bryandkeith on flickr
Aneth, Utah
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Bicycle touring the Colorado Plateau, part two: The Navajo Nation

… continued from part one.

If the first photo in this post looks familiar, maybe it’s ’cause you’ve read Gwen Maka’s bicycle touring book, Riding with Ghosts.

Ok, here’s the original text (from April 2009):

From Chaco Canyon I took a direct route west to Canyon de Chelley. Many tourists visit Chaco Canyon and Canyon de Chelley on the same trip, but few take a direct route between these sites, opting instead for paved roads and “services”. Sandy stretches east of Lake Valley would thwart most cars, and the snow drifts across the high roads in the Chuska Mountains are another barrier. I was amazed at the desolate desert between highways 371 and 666. On my version of AAA’s “Indian Country” map there’s so much of nothing out there that that’s where the cartographers decided to place the large north arrow. The strong headwind and blowing sand added to the challenge of this section.

White Rock Road between highways 371 and 666, Navajo Nation, NM by bryandkeith on flickr
White Rock Road between highways 371 and 666, Navajo Nation, New Mexico
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Bicycle touring the Colorado Plateau, part one: Chama River and Chaco Canyon

No, I am not in the US, not cycling the Colorado Plateau. We’re stuck at home in Antalya, another under round of covid 19 restrictions. Spending too much time on the internet, I came across a couple articles about the mysterious appearance and disappearance of a metal monolith in the Utah desert, specifically in Lockhart Basin. I looked at the map and thought, “wait a minute — I’ve cycled there!”

It took a little more internet searching to find my trip write-up (from before I started this blog) and a bunch of photos that needed some work. I’ll repost everything here, but the story’s kind of long so I’ll break it into four one-week chunks, with photos of course. This is the first installment, starting at the Chama River in April 2009.

Oh, and maybe you’ve also come across articles about a very similar metal monolith appearing and disappearing near Piatra Neamţ. I’ve bicycled there as well! Hahaha!

Sorry, back on track:

El Vado, New Mexico by bryandkeith on flickr
El Vado, Chama River, New Mexico

This tour was born from the anchors on either end: a float trip in mid-April and a White Rim trip in mid-May. The decision to bicycle between these two trips was not a difficult one. Briana, Jaime, Suzanne, Eric, and I drove south from Boulder, put two boats in at El Vado, and spent three wonderful days floating the Chama. We took out at Big Eddy (just upstream from Abiquiu Reservoir), and it was from there I started cycling.

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Karadağ Tepesi (Kargı, Bucak) with Semra and Bülent

When heading north on the main highway from Antalya to Isparta (to go to Kapıkaya or Dedegöl, for example), there are lots of stunning cliffs, mountains, and ridges visible on the right (east) side of the road. I’ve been on this road many times by car or bus, but I’ve never cycled it (and don’t want to — lots of traffic) so I don’t have photos of these cliffs, mountains, and ridges. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Bülent sent this map:

IMG-20201112-WA0015 by bryandkeith on flickr

in a WhatsApp message to Semra and me and said we ought to try “Karadağ T.” which you can see in the middle right of the map. Sure, we said, why not? Note that osm has something called “Karadağ” about 4km south of our goal, Karadağ Tepesi. Also note that there are many Karadağ Tepesi in Turkey. Here we’re talking about the one near Kargı (Bucak, Burdur).

We left Antalya by car in the dark, stopped for soup along the way, crossed the southern end of the southern of the two large Karacaören reservoirs, and parked at the base of the mountains with this view:

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