Trail choice remained a challenge for Friday’s ride. The recent heavy rains made it likely that the road up to Gooseberry Mesa was going to be puddled and muddy. We chose an alternative, Little Creek Mesa, where we expected the access to be more straightforward.
It was drizzling and cold as Homer Simpson, the voice on the TomTom GPS, tried to guide us up the most improbable routes to the top of the mesa. Eventually, Homer and the car crew agreed on a route and we reached the parking zone at the top. The skies threatened more rain mayhem as we unpacked the bikes in the chill and dark skies of Little Creek Mesa. We learned from the campers at the top that it had snowed the night before. It was easy enough to believe.
Taking careful note of our position using Josh’s GPS, we headed out in a clockwise direction around the main loop. Like Guacamole, the trails on Little Creek Mesa seemed better marked this year than they were during our last visit. At least there were more frequent cairns and guiding rocks. Yes, the cairn system trail marking almost assures that there will be brief moments of trail finding confusion. In exchange, you chose your own lines through the obstacles and avoid mindlessly following the dots like you so often do at Gooseberry and Moab’s Slickrock Trail. It is not to say that dots are bad. It is just good to have variety.
With sandy singletrack trails connecting undulating sandstone sections, the terrain on Little Creek Mesa fits in between the riding experience at Guacamole and Gooseberry Mesa. There certainly are plenty of bike handling challenges on all three trail systems. Little Creek is a smaller version of Gooseberry or a bigger version of Guacamole, depending on how you view it. All three trails provide the momentary death defying, edge of the mesa trail experience. And all three have stupendous views. No matter how you rank them, Little Creek Mesa is a good, fun ride. Even if Gooseberry Mesa were not nearby, a ride on Little Creek Mesa would be worth a long road trip.
On this day, we just did the main loop, cutting back on the always fun Magic Carpet Ride and not going out to the point. It is easy to get lost on the Mesa. I think the real problem is that the common maps are confusing at best or inaccurate at worst. But, with a GPS and careful note of the terrain at the junctions, we avoided the 45-minutes we spent searching for the exit on the last visit. Finishing easy is always nice.
The full picture set is here.
An account of a previous riding trip to Virgin is here.
More about Little Creek can be found here.