East Rim Camping

On my way out of the park I spotted two bikes ahead of me. Similar off road capable bikes, but loaded with gear to the max. I figured I’d catch up with them and see where they were going to camp for the night. It certainly proved difficult. Whereas I rode the twisties leading up to the park at 65, they seemed hell bent on doing 80 on the way out. A couple times I almost lost them when they gunned it as they passed cars. I also had some difficulty when I swung the throttle wide open and the bike hesitated to speed up. I’m guessing the elevation’s to blame. Regardless, with much difficulty I managed to keep up with them for several miles until we came up on a gas station. Turns out they’re these two Canadian guys doing a crazy journey too. Even better, their next stop was the same as mines, Monument Valley. They weren’t planning on going much further for the day, rather camping out nearby. I figured screw it, I probably have a very long ride ahead of me and considering I’ll likely have to backtrack because of that detour. I’d be better off not getting caught by sundown in some native american reservation.

I certainly don’t seem to learn my lesson on following off-roaders. They chose a campsite up some gravel road. It seemed significantly less sketchy than where I dropped my bike so I figured I’d do it. It was about four miles of gravel, getting a little hairy at times. I kept the bike in first or second gear the whole time, but made sure to try to not stop. Halfway in or so it started getting a little dicey. I was already committed though. The whole ride I gripped my handlebars for dear life. I could feel my armpits sweating from the stress despite it being fairly cool out. Eventually we found our way to a parking lot with a small trail leading from it. The posted map was a large piece of paper under see through plastic, but somehow it was torn to shreds. The guys decided to pop out a few beers while we figured our next move. We decided to walk up the trail to see where it led; at least we finished the brews. The paved trail ends onto a dirt one which I believe is called the Arizona Trail. Once the paved portion ended we were met with a beautiful canyon scenery. And to think, we weren’t even in the park anymore. We spotted some places where previous campers had set up campfires and decided to set up shop there.

The area seemed desolate enough where we felt a ranger wouldn’t catch us with our bikes in the trail. We didn’t want to leave all our gear way out back at the dirt road. One of the guys was pretty loaded with film cameras, including a go pro. He decided to set up a little film scene of us going into the trail. Once we made it to the spot, we set up our tents and started a campfire. Campfire lit and a few drinks later, we were all having lively conversations and cooking hotdogs around the fire until sundown. I decided to knock out a little early since I felt really beat, particularly after the drinks. I didn’t sleep very well. A few hours into the night I woke up with a fierce headache. The one night I didn’t take all of my gear into my tent with me is the night I needed headache pills and water. Of course it was absurdly cold out, and for a long time laziness triumphed over pain. Eventually it got to be too much and I grabbed the water. Already freezing in my sleeping bag, chugging a gallon jug of cold water didn’t help much, but the headache had already become unbearable. A long ways after I drank the water I started to be able to sleep again.

I woke up at the crack of dawn with my trusty companion, a pounding headache. The guys were still dead asleep so I grabbed some ibuprofen and drank almost all the water that was left. As much as I wanted to start packing up, outside was still miserably cold. I decided to go back into my sleeping bag. Even if I didn’t sleep, it’d be better to lie there than stand around freezing.

Ended up being able to sleep for another couple hours. It’s now a tad more bearable out, but the guys are still snoring in their tents. Decided to write this up in my tent. It’s about nine or so now that I finished. I’ll probably start packing up now, depending on how the temp feels outside.

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