Circumnavigating Goosebery Mesa

31 Dec

You gotta love it when your original plan is replaced by the unexpected.

I have been telling myself for the last week that once I figured out how to use my new GPS (I now know what GPS stands for) that I was going to Gooseberry Mesa to plot important way-points on my property. For example, the property line, the road going through the property, where the yurts will be, toilets, fire pit, sweat lodge, pool, etc. So, Saturday evening I finally figured out the GPS and took off for Gooseberry. All by myself.


I’ve always thought it would be cool to camp out in the wilderness all by myself. Saturday night out in the middle of BFE I turned off the engine and the lights of the Yotavan and found it to be a little spooky, actually, way spooky. It was totally dark and eerily quiet. Did I mention I was all by myself? My ears turned into mini radar dishes trying to make out any little sound. I heard some strange gurglings and became a little spooked until I realized it was just my stomach. Somehow I made it through the night in one piece.


My plan was to work on the way-points and GPS stuff in the morning and then spend an hour or so trying to figure out how to connect the goat trail that goes off the north rim to the Jem-Goulds-Rim trail.

The next morning I tried to call Tasha to tell her I was OK and that no coyotes, psychos, chupacabras or polygamists had had me for dinner. The phone was dead. I knew she would be worried so I decided to finish up the GPS work since I was right there and then head to Apple Valley and call her by pay phone. Once in Apple Valley with my phone call done I really didn’t want to drive all the way back up to the property as it was almost 1:00 p.m.

I decided to start riding from the South Jem trail head which is only a few miles from Apple Valley and try to find my way over to the goat trail. Well, the Jem is a total blast especially counterclockwise and I just couldn’t help myself and kept on going when I should have turned off the trail.


I then started taking any road or trail heading in what I thought was the right direction. I finally ran out of tracks and took off through the sage brush half riding half pushing my bike. I was pretty sure I was going in the right direction. I eventually came to a point where I either had to back-track, jump off a cliff into the Virgin river or hike up to the top of the mesa above me. I hiked.

I then got lost and went left when I should have gone right. Luckily I somehow ended up in Rockville but realized I now had to climb the north side of Gooseberry. That climb would have been hard all by itself but after nearly 3 hours of biking and hiking it just about did me in. I was baked!



Almost 4 hours after I started I finally made it back to the Yotavan. An accidental circumnavigation of Gooseberry Mesa. 38 miles and nearly 4 hours may not quite make it to the epic category. Let’s call it mini-epic. As a matter of fact, it’s my last mini-epic ride of 2007. Happy New Year!

4 Responses to “Circumnavigating Goosebery Mesa”

  1. UtRider December 31, 2007 at 8:25 pm #

    Dang – given that you were solo, lost and riding a rigid ss I’d classify that as an epic ride!

  2. dug January 1, 2008 at 8:55 pm #

    so how’s the mesa? good to go for this month? snow? ice? too cold?

  3. brkeyes7 January 2, 2008 at 7:59 am #

    Mesa was perfect. A couple small patches of snow but everything ridable. Still on track for the 19th. I think we’ll start at 9:30-10 as its pretty frigid any earlier. Definitely not too cold.

  4. Forrest January 2, 2008 at 11:11 am #

    Dude, I can do all that mapping stuff for you in minutes at my work. We do mapping and imagery for a living here. Get in touch.

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