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Day 5 stats as listed on the hut-to-hut site:

32.3 miles, 3100′ ascent, 4190′ descent, max. elevation 6990′

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THE ROAD TO AND FROM THE WEDDING BELL HUT

There were no signs at all this morning that anything had happened overnight. Had I not shared the experience with 6 others, I might have thought the storm was just a bad dream.

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THE WEDDING BELL HUT, AS VIEWED FROM ABOVE, WHILE WE CONTINUED ON TO THE PARADOX VALLEY HUT

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It was another long ride today and another hot one and I didn’t feel nearly as physically strong as I did yesterday. It was a pretty ride though, winding along dirt roads, past old mines, overlooking a beautiful canyon. There were huge boulders and rock formations along the way.

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THERE WERE SOME AREAS ON TODAY’S ROUTE THAT LOOKED LIKE THIS. ALTHOUGH IT ALMOST LOOKED LIKE THIS DIRT WAS GROWING, I THINK IT WAS JUST FROM THE POUNDING RAIN AND RUNOFF. WEIRD. MAYBE SOMEONE ELSE WILL BE ABLE TO ENLIGHTEN ME.

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One of the scenic highlights was this wash that dropped into the canyon below.

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It would be very cool to see this during some hard rainfall, I’m sure there’d be an amazing waterfall.

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STANDING ON THE ROCKS AND FACING INTO THE CANYON

I certainly wouldn’t want to be standing at this spot if there was any flash flooding around.

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ANOTHER CAR

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PARADOX VALLEY

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TAKING IN THE VIEW AS WE REST FOR A MOMENT ABOVE PARADOX VALLEY.

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PARADOX VALLEY

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CATCH-EM-UP TRAIL

We ended up dropping down into Paradox Valley from the Catch-Em-Up Trail, a very steep, rugged, narrow and rocky trail – a cattle trail, I believe.

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A CHALLENGING CLIMB DOWN

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IT ALMOST LOOKS RIDABLE HERE, BUT IT’S NOT FOR YOUR AVERAGE RIDER FOR SURE!

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PASSING BIKES OFF

It was a little hairy at times trying to get down over the rocks with our loaded bikes and backpacks, especially while wearing bike shoes. It was all a hike-a-bike for us. At times we formed a line and passed bikes down from one person to the next.

As we got about half way down or so we started hearing thunder and could see the rain sweeping into the far end of the valley.

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THESE TWO WERE HEADED UP THE TRAIL.

Nearing the bottom we came across this guy walking with his stunning horse, they were on their way up the trail. He had rescued the horse and was training it, getting it accustomed to all the things it had been fearful of and working on making it a stronger climber.

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YABBA DABBA DOOOOOO!!!!!

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We finally made it down the trail with sore feet and bruised ankles, stopping at the Bedrock Store (closed and for sale) for a short rest and a photo op. A lady that pulled up to take some photos told us this store had been used in the filming of Thelma and Louise. Also parts of the movie were filmed in the La Sals, where we are headed next. I will definitely need to go watch that movie again.

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Last night at the Wedding Bell hut, Glenn had a great idea. Since we had cell service there, he called and made reservations at this placed we’d heard about through San Juan Huts – Paradox Produce Company. The owners, Greg and Marty, will make you a dinner for a very reasonable price and even shuttle you to and from the hut if you want.

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We hadn’t scheduled to be shuttled but after riding 6 more miles from Bedrock to the hut, none of us really wanted to ride the 2 1/2 miles from the hut to their place to eat. We wanted a shuttle at that point but no one had any cell service to call and ask them for a ride. Since there was icy cold beer at the hut, we sat in the shade and drank beer until it was time to ride over to dinner.

Once there, we were actually able to hose ourselves off quite thoroughly and clean up with soap!  Their only rule for hosing off was no nudity, and we were happy to comply with any rules just to get cleaned up.

After “bathing” we sat outside under an easy up and had the BEST dinner. These people were awesome, so friendly and nice, and the food was delicious. They made us big, juicy hamburgers with peppers and mushrooms and cheese, a huge salad full of all kinds of veggies, and 2 potato salads. (The menu can be changed for those with restricted diets, allergies, or special requests.) There was ice cold soda and water and they even brought us ice cream cones! Such a treat after 4 days of riding and eating canned foods.

They sat and chatted with us while we ate. Marty wanted to know about everyone. It turns out she loves Bend and Black Butte Porter – that’s my kinda girl!

They had a sweet, black feral cat named Oso that reminded us of a neighborhood cat (Jack Black) that spent a lot of time at our house last year. He lounged in a chair at the table with us until dinner was served.

We slowly and happily returned to the hut with full bellies to prepare for an early start on the next day’s brutal ride. Only 22 miles but we were to climb from Paradox Valley up to the La Sals. Ugh! The weather here was great, we didn’t get rained on and the temperatures were much lower than usual. We were almost back to the hut when we spotted a coyote. I’m sure there were tons out there and lots of other wildlife around that we weren’t seeing.

I had a few other pictures taken with my cell phone while we were at dinner but, sadly, I think they inadvertently got deleted.  😦

 

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