The Utah desert has been and will forever be, the place I go to forget, to disconnect, and to escape. Even as a child, when I was ignorant to the societal burdens of adulthood and the repercussions of political greed and malice, there was something rejuvenating about basking in the warm sun, sleeping under the immense night sky, and returning home coated head-to-toe in delicious red dirt.
Every spring throughout my entire youth, my family would load up our ghetto, rust-colored, slow as shit, Volvo station wagon with all the essentials (bikes, camping gear, firewood, snacks, water) and head to Utah from our home in chilly Colorado. Our destination was always our favorite BLM campsite – a true public land gem – nestled behind towering sandstone cliffs and down a dusty, desolate, dirt road on the outskirts of Canyonlands National Park. We called it our “secret spot”.
Growing up, I loved our secret spot and the experiences of roasting marshmallows on yucca branches, collecting bullet shells, whittling sticks to oblivion, and rompin’ my ridged, Jamis Explorer through sand pits and over rocks. Those are forever some of my fondest childhood memories. As I grew older and more capable, family trips to our secret spot dwindled but our desert adventures continued. We soon discovered the glorious White Rim Trail.
The White Rim Trail is a 100-mile, 4WD route that circumnavigates some of the most beautiful country in Utah. It is located in Canyonlands National Park, and the trail takes anywhere from 1-4 days to complete. We always opt for the four day, vehicle supported option to maximize desert amnesia, sunburns and camp chillin. Riding this trail has become somewhat of an annual tradition for my friends and I, and we have now done this trip seven times. It never gets old and after the recent election of the xenophobic sweet potato a White Rim trip provided us with a needed distraction from social media, graduate school, and our nation’s increasingly toxic politics. Sometimes you have to just disconnect, reset, chill, get drunk, and ride bikes in the desert. The White Rim provides the ultimate escape from reality.