Cedar City to Panguich - Cedar City to Flagstaff 1987 - CycleBlaze

August 8, 1987

Cedar City to Panguich

What a splendid day!  I can already see that I'll have the same problem I had cycling through the Canadian Rockies - a shortage of adequate superlatives with which to describe the landscape.

After breakfast and an abundance of coffee, I started off for Cedar Breaks National Monument (hereafter referred to as The Breaks).  I nearly turned around to reenter the restaurant though because it started raining immediately.  (A non sequitur aside here - I'm writing this as I sit in the city park in Panguich, and am being assisted by a very pleasant, not too big, nondescript dog who is currently licking the soles of my feet!).  I was tough though and started out in spite of the weather.  I was soon rewarded for my temerity, as the showers ended within the first few minutes.  (All day, I glanced askance at the skies, which looked both spectacular and menacing).  It is merely a 25 mile, 4,500 foot climb from Cedar City to The Breaks (elev. 10,350 ft), but I elected to take my time and enjoy the views rather than charge up all in one spurt.  I was immersed in wonderful scenery over the next bunch of hours - dramatic cliffs, tempting canyons opening off the margin of the road, and the brick-hued Cedar Creek, which originates at The Breaks and which the road followed for 10 or so miles of the climb.

I got to visit The Breaks from both above and below.  The Monument is at the top, but the highway passes within a few miles of the base as well.  I hiked in a ways along a dry creek bed (keeping a friend's last minute advice in mind, I was alert for flash flooding indicators).  The Breaks are incredible - they are a six or so mile wide, lots of hundreds of feet deep amphitheater at the head of the creek.  The walls, predominantly banded in red and orange, are heavily eroded into grotesque forms, crevasses, caverns and columns.  It is a very impressive spectacle.

Between the bottom and the top (about 10 miles), there were some great views from the road over the Zion region to the southwest.  A big surprise for me has been the visability of the major landforms from vast distances.  I could see The Breaks from Cedar City, and the Bryce Canyon country dominates the eastern sky beginning about 10 miles before reaching Panguich.

The view of The Breaks from above is even more impressive.  From below, I had been unaware that I was seeing just a single canyon of a much larger formation which extends for miles in a facade which changes continally as one walks along its lip.

In addition to the geology, the area at the top is also a botanist's delight.  It is surrounded by 10,000 foot alpine meadows filled with a great diversity of wildflowers, most of which I had never before encountered.  It also includes a stand of bristlecone pines, hanging on to an eroding penisula at the edge of the cliffs.

Biking at an elevation of 10,000 feet was no worse than I had been anticipating.  It didn't take much of a hill though to run me out of breath, although that may have been largely because of my fatigue after the long climb.

The day was nicely balanced - 25 miles up, 10 miles at the top, and 25 miles down.  I made much better time in the afternoon, with about a 15 mile stretch of almost pure coasting.  I left The Breaks at about 2:45, stopped for an hour's nap (and equipment dry-out) on the way down, and arrived in Panguich, 35 miles away, just in time for supper.

Muddy Cedar Creek
Heart 0 Comment 0
Catching my breath at Cedar Breaks
Heart 0 Comment 0
Cedar Breaks Nationnal Monument
Heart 1 Comment 0
Them's the Breaks
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 60 miles (97 km)
Total: 60 miles (97 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 1
Comment on this entry Comment 0