“With the recent rain, please stay off the trails the next few days to give them a chance to dry out. Riding muddy trails ruins them, don’t be a jerk!” That was the Facebook post from one of the local ‘trail police’ groups. Yes, riding muddy trails ruins them, but I’m thinking they can’t be THAT muddy from a couple days of rain. After all, this is a desert. I had to go check.
In the 19 miles of riding from Empire Pass at Deer Valley to the base of Canyons Resort, I saw zero mud, few puddles and nary another person. On a typical Saturday in August, the Mid-Mountain trail is a veritable junk show. Creating a super highway of sorts between three major ski resorts this trail is rightfully popular and busy. Today, however, it was a ghost town. Are Utahns soft? Not a chance — that can’t be why no one is out riding. Are we courteous? Yup. And that’s the problem. Just like ski patrol hangs onto the best stashes on the ski hill for “safety work” in the form of their private country club, the fellow trail users we saw out are likely the ones posting messages similar to the one at the start of this article to keep the unassuming and courteous crowds at bay. Well played!
I do want to point out riding wet trails — as in soaked from melting snow in spring — will ruin them. Very true. Mid-August in a high desert? It is going to take more than a few days of on and off rain to muddy things up. Most of the puddles we saw spanned only half the trail, meaning there was no need to widen the trail by riding off the usual tread, which is the other major trail damage concern. The rocky soil drained the precip extremely well, making the riding fast on highly tacky trails. We covered ground fast the first five miles and wound up deciding to tackle the remaining 11 miles to Red Pine Lodge at Canyons under grey skies. It was surreal riding a deserted Mid-Mountain trail for mile after empty mile.
Finally reaching Canyons, we dropped down Holly’s trail, a screaming four-mile descent. What greets us at the base but New Orlean’s finest: Dumpstaphunk! Featuring two Neville’s (Ivan and Ian) this funk supergroup was playing a free concert, part of Park City’s Mountain Town Music Series. The steep lawn was the perfect place to drop the bikes, sit and groove! The final show at Canyons is Saturday, August 30.
Between SLC and PC there are so many incredible opportunities to see live music, with national acts for under $5. Check out this lineup of acts just this summer, who played shows in neighboring states the following night for $40-60: Wu-Tang Clan, De La Soul, Beck, Dumpstaphunk, Fishbone, Lauryn Hill, Charles Bradley, Wallflowers and The Travelin’ McCoury’s to name a few. Stellar place we live in, right?
Being a tad hungry and admittedly cold, miso soups and ramen on Main St. in downtown Park City was the perfect cap to this rainy Saturday. The app one of our friends used on the ride claimed we burned 2,000 calories on the four-hour trek. Our favorite spot, Yuki Yama, offers half-off sushi all summer. Some quick math in my mind led me to accurately believe we could and should order half the menu. Bingo!
Next time you see rain in the forecast, or hear the trails are too muddy, go check for yourself before you heed the warning. Turn around if the dirt is unrideable, but if not, pedal on: there may be funk music and sushi waiting at the end of the trail!