The not quite 10,000 foot summit of Wolf Creek pass is a beautiful part of any ride heading east out of Salt Lake. There were still a few small patches of snow and I put my jacket on to take the little bit of chill out of the air.
It had rained through the night and riding past the north end of Jordanelle Reservoir heading into the Kamas Valley the soft white clouds that hung along the side of the road looked close enough that I could almost reach out and touch them. The pavement hadn’t dried out completely and the smell of wet asphalt and sage permeated the air as I passed several bicyclists chugging up the hill.
Although this has become very familiar, the ride through Kamas Valley to Francis and on to Woodland is a beautiful journey through a rural landscape of horses, green fields, and the occasional friendly wave from a farmer perched upon his tractor. After a rain, colors really pop as the gold and purple of the wildflowers alongside the road and spread across distant hillsides compete for my attention with the pines stretching heavenward.
The gently twisting ribbon of asphalt is a pleasure to ride and I smile to myself in a couple of places where I can see the road in front of me twisting back and forth upon itself. The camper I passed is probably cussing at the same road I’m smiling at. The pungent smell of pine fills my nostrils as I approach the summit of the pass. I notice a couple of sheep dogs urging a ewe off the road and into the safety of the meadow and slow down as they take notice of me and my machine. Not far behind is the mounted sheep herder pushing the flock up the canyon to another pasture.
Dropping into Hanna I can feel the temperature climb as forest gives way to irrigated fields and the smell of the pine surrenders to alfalfa. I stopped in Hanna for a few minutes to take a drink and turnaround (I prefer this ride as an out-and-back to avoid the Interstate as much as possible) and head back up the way I’ve just come down. Every bit as beautiful going the other way, the sound of the bike, the scent of the trees, and the rhythmic sensation of leaning into the gentle curves of the road make the experience of riding more a celebration of the journey than the destination.