The Fruita Walkabout 2.2: Coyotes take Chase

Bike in Fruita

Saturday afternoon I had planned on riding the Western Rim down on the Colorado/Utah border. I stopped by OTE Sports to charge the battery of my Garmin and when I left it was almost 6. I decided just to head back to camp and ride the Chutes and Ladders Loop along with Joe’s Ridge.

Part of Chutes and Ladders

The beginning of Chutes and ladders is one of those trails where you throw out your mental bungee cord to the top of the climb and let it help reel you to the top and then you get to scream down a 50 yard descent before throwing out your mental bungee cord and pull yourself to the top again.The trail eventually levels out into a meandering singletrack with the slightest downhill tilt…

Coyote Valley just moments before the chase.

It was here that I came to a huge pile of tumbleweeds choking the trail. There was a wide wash to the left that the local cow rustlers had cleaned out and buried the trail with all debris. I rode to the right of where the trail had once been and just at that moment I heard a coyote howling off to my left. It was close but I could not see it and my experience with coyotes has always been a neutral you leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone. But still for some reason, maybe being in a land completely foreign to what I know, the coyote song sent chills down my spine.

Clouded sun over Joe's Ridge

I quickly rode out of there finding my trail again in about ¼ mile and followed it for about a mile before dropping into a valley where I dropped my chain. Just as I finished tightening my rear wheel up I heard the coyote song again. This time very close. I looked back up to the rim of the valley that I had just dropped and my heart sank and I think a small sound of terror escaped my lips. Up on the Valley’s rim were at least 10 coyotes and two were starting to descend towards me…

Wasting no time and screaming like a like girl, no shame here, I jumped on my bike and peddled like I’ve never peddled before. I never looked back and when I reached the valley’s far side I wrenched the bike back and forth underneath me as I laid down the power of the will to live to climb to the rim.


Finally I crossed 18 Rd and chanced looking back. No coyotes were in sight and feigning some invisible barrier over 18 Rd I made my way over to Kessel Run and climbed to Frontside. My adrenaline calmed down and I quickly became very sleepy on the bike. The long day in the sun on the Kokopelli trails earlier had woven itself deep into my skin but I pushed on past my camp and rode Frontside to the top of Joe’s Ridge. Joe’s Ridge was a hoot, rolling along a roller coaster like ridge that was fun but way to short.

Moon over the Book Cliffs, taken from my campsite

I made it back to my campsite…ate a quick dinner and hit the tent and was out by 9pm.

The Chutes and Ladders, Joe’s Ridge Loop was just over 10 miles with about 1500 ft of accumulated climbing.

Total day mileage: 40

Total day accumulated climbing: approx 6,700 ft

Not the most impressive day on the bike by the numbers but considering I'm a tree riding, shade lovin hairy Sasquatch of a man...or is that boy cub?...I consider the numbers acceptable for the desert.



June 20, 2009 at 9:10 PM

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