by Harry Barber, contributing writer
For me, public lands are part of my daily morning diet. My days begin with a ‘5-am-post-it note’ to my wife – letting her know where I’m headed for my morning ride, hike or run; stopping only for the occasional Instagram photo op, the opportunity to absorb the energy that these public lands provide or to let my dogs investigate a ‘new’ smell.
I love to get outdoors and onto public land trails! Whether it is to hike, bike or a run – it doesn’t matter to me as long as I can get outdoors, get my heart rate pumping, and enjoy the crisp morning air. These trails help me find my Zen, refocus on what’s important to me and help me get away from the chaos of everyday life.
This year I turn 58 and my mind has started to figure out what my body has been trying to tell it. I am finding a few aches and pains in places I did not notice before. But I still love trails.
One thing I have done to lessen the wear and tear on my body is to incorporate a fat-tire bike into my routine, where appropriate. However, the two or three times I have gone over the handlebars has only added to the aches and pains.
One of my favorite things to do locally is to use my bike to get me into an area, hide my bike and hike. I typically trek down old roads for miles before finding the perfect spot when my brain says, “yes, let’s check out this area.” I’ll then tuck my bike away from prying eyes and explore a newly uncharted area – to me. The opportunities for exploring in this manner around here are endless.
Locally, there are a lot of roads that make great fat bike trails. Some ask me why I do not just drive down them. I do it for the exercise. And, depending on the weather, some roads make for much smoother riding when the rain or snow hits, particularly the sandy ones.
Saturday mornings are often the best time for exploring because I don’t have a clock to answer to. I enjoy getting up before daylight and incorporating my biking into my hiking.
This winter, I headed to the Sand Spring road several times in the dark along with my two dogs, Dakota and Willow. With cold temperatures and a little snow on the ground I pedaled for miles before I found that perfect spot, broke out a map and started my morning adventure through the Moquith Mountain Wilderness Study Area. After enjoying one of southern Utah’s amazing sunrises and snapping a few pics for Instagram, I headed back home to make a pancake breakfast for my family, as I have done routinely on Saturday mornings now for many years.
My family knows if there are no pancakes being made by 9 a.m., it’s time to go look for dad!