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Wild Rivers called today. I knew I wanted to go for an easy mountain bike ride and I knew I wanted to be alone. Thank God, Wild Rivers always delivers on solitude and epic beauty.

I love the West Rim Trail and if I time it just right, the crowds don’t bother me. And certainly, if I keep going out on trail I hardly ever see anyone. But still, there is usually always people and even some runner or biker on trail.

I wanted to be alone. I wanted to take a drive north into the mountains. I wanted Wild Rivers.

I ate a big breakfast, packed up the car and headed out. The drive up was quiet, gorgeous and non-stressed. I pulled into the Visitor Center parking lot and snapped this picture from its portal. God, I would love to live right there and have that view every morning and eve. After I biked, I sat right here, finished my PB&J and read the last few pages of the book I returned to the library on the way home.

For the Rinconada Loop bike trail, I headed south – because I knew that on the north approach to the Visitor Center, on the last leg, there is a killer hill that is quite frankly a ski slope. So this time I biked the loop south-southwest-north-northeast-southeast – and I usually do it the reverse.

The trail was quiet and gorgeous. Though, when I started, it was hot. My arms definitely got color. I just biked along in my mind, in my body, and on the trail. I was not too lost in thoughts. I was very conscious that I what I was doing was epic, gorgeous and amazing – and no crowds. In the far-ahead distance, I once caught a glimpses of two riders. Thankfully, they were faster than me and I never encountered them.

Boy, was I slow! It was super hard to pedal. I felt fat and unathletic. It’s hard to think of myself that way but it is how I have let myself slip. Though in fairness, my serratus anterior sprain took me out of the game in 2018, for a whole year! I am just now getting cognizant that I need to crawl and fight my way back. My athleticism isn’t going to return on its own, and not with fancy gym memberships, sneakers, and personal trainers. I sprung for a $29.99/year app. The madness stops there. It’s not outside things that are going to bring me my hot body back; it’s my dedication to eating right and working out hard and lots. Like I always used to. (Okay, maybe not the eating right part but I am definitely on the right track.)

I stopped at my favorite Rocky Mountain Youth Corps picnic table overlooking the Río Grande. I wasn’t hungry or thirsty really. I sat and prayed aloud which was nice. I’ve been coming to that bench for I guess six summers now – and always alone. I have yet to bring someone special to Wild Rivers to show them how special it is to me. It’s okay. What is in the way is the way. My loneliness is not the problem; it is the solution to what’s really bothering me deep inside.

After the cattle guard, on the approach back to the Visitor Center, I encountered an uphill grade that I simply could not do. Zero energy. Zero leg and back strength. I immediately dismounted. It’s okay. I’m not going to beat myself up. I made the effort, went out there and did it. And I had a beautiful stunning time in the process. I was out in the sun, worked up a sweat, breathed in the smells of the high desert mesa combined with the cool alpine breeze blowing off the Sangres. It’s just gorgeous up there and I love it. Thank you, God, for the day of quiet biking and soaring views.