Riding in solitude

In our day and age, solitude is a word hardly used. It rarely happens on accident—you have to go looking for it. Toss the bike on the back of the defender, along with a tent, firewood, and extra fuel, and we are gone. There is a strange sense of freedom you feel when you are all the way out there, a hundred miles from the nearest town. You have to trust yourself and your judgment, which forces you to know yourself. In the noise of our modern lives it can be difficult to truly know yourself. Sometimes getting out there away from traffic, away from Wi-Fi and cell service is the only remedy. We should embrace these moments because they are becoming harder and harder to find.

We left for the White Rim Trail before sunrise. One left turn and suddenly you leave all tourists in your rearview mirror. We rolled down the dusty road in the hot and noisy defender. After almost seven hours in the rattlebox, we found a good place to set up base camp and go out on the bike. Being on the bike grants you a level of awareness you just can’t get in the truck. You can actually feel the dirt under your tires and the wind rushing by you. It might be the closest thing to riding horseback in this John Ford landscape. Every muscle in your body is used as you maneuver over boulders, keeping the bike upright through the deep sand, your hands doing all they can to hold onto your metal reins. As we went out for this sunset ride along the base of the huge rock pillars and along the edges of the massive cliffs, you almost lose your sense of perspective in all the grandeur. The rain pours down for about 30 minutes while we take shelter under a cutout along the face of the cliff. The rain passes and we make our way back to basecamp and arrive just before nightfall.

After dinner we lay out our pads and sleeping bags and talk ourselves to sleep under the stars. There’s something poetic about laying out under the stars. Maybe there is a good reason that the stars, in their full majesty, are only visible when you get out there, away from the city lights and the noise. Something so grand should only be seen when you are fully present.