I turned down an offer from Mark, whose campsite I shared, to drive me to the top of the hill visible from the campground. It didn't look all that bad - probably just a short, steep climb. There'd be many, many horrible hills to come, so why wimp out on this one? Silly logic, right? Six miles of walking later, It certainly didn't seem very smart. But it's okay, Utah is beautiful.
After the painful uphill, came the nerve wracking downhill. My front brake is completely stripped, down to the metal, useless now. The back one works, slowly. The cable looks sound), but if it snaps I'll probably fly off the side of a canyon, hit a car, or wrap around a tree. The cable also looked 'Okay' right before snapping in Quartzsite, you know.
Eventually the worst of the up and down was done with, and I reached the town of Boulder, Utah. I didn't have high hopes of finding any food, here. Just too small of a town. I noticed gas station on the way int - wait, what? Beer, Ice, and Natural Foods? Well, that's what the sign on the road said. Sure enough, this place wasn't quite what it looked like. Two young, brightly dressed women ran the store, which was stocked with organic fruit, home made donuts, and kombucha(!). There wasn't a big selection, and it was fairly pricey, but when am I going to see this stuff again? At least not until Moab.
Pastries devoured and Kombucha drained, I headed towards the real challenge of the day: the 9600ft climb up Boulder Mountain(Fun fact: It's actually a plateau. Or half a plateau. Kinda confusing, actually). Getting to the top before dark wasn't going to happen, but I'd like to at least get some of the climbing out of the way.
Six miles later, the temperature was dropping in a big way, the sun was doing down, and I couldn't find a place to camp. I was just barely in the Dixie National Forest, and the highway was still lined with private property. This doesn't happen to me nearly as often in Utah as it does in neighboring states, and if I'd really been desperate I could have just settled for camping on uneven or rocky ground. Instead, I met Julie and Tim, who invited me to their home.
It turned into a bitterly cold night, and I was very grateful to have a heated workshop bedroom to sleep in. Tim and Julie often host the local organized rides, and made me feel very welcome. I learned from them that Boulder is surrounded by organic farms, and gets an influx of WWOOFers and seasonal workers in the summer. Maybe that's reason to come back some time. I gave Julie a bracelet and some earrings, and she sent me off the next day with a big bag of home made fruit leather and dried apple.