Mountain-Biking & Meditation in Utah’s High Desert

The blooming high desert of Utah calls to us in the spring. Porter took off on a guided mountain-biking week out of Moab for a tour of The Maze, the least accessible district of Canyonlands.

I spent the week by myself on a silent meditation retreat in a cabin on the Colorado River, with a glorious view of the red cliffs.

The mountain-biking over challenging terrain, up to 35 miles a day, was so technical that Porter and the other five guys took a “rest” day to hike down a canyon to see petroglyphs and climb out again.

Each day I  hiked high up into the hot sandy hills, where I meditated under the shade of Utah junipers.

No one else was up there. Or so I thought, until I happened on Amber in her prayer shawl, meditating with the utter stillness of the red stone.

May each of you bloom in your own way, wherever you are.


37 comments on “Mountain-Biking & Meditation in Utah’s High Desert

  1. I had been thinking about both of you and wondering how this trip was going. It’s great to hear that it went well for everyone, including Amber. It appears that you’re recovering well from your surgery, which is a cause for happiness. Thanks for this update.

    • Thank you, Frank. Yes, I’m recovering very well, and I appreciate your good wishes enormously. I hope you’re enjoying spring, and that your and Ellen’s book is coming along beautifully.

  2. Oh, Gail, it is SO inspiring to see you and Porter conquering such challenging goals in your usual beautiful ways. I believe meditation is every bit as challenging as what Porter does, as both call for complete presence. That, alone, is whole and holy. We admire and love you both, and Amber, very much! 🌷💝🌷

    • Sallie Ann, your reply touches me deeply. I know you have a profound practice yourself of the interior journey of meditation and prayer. Porter and I feel so blessed to be your and Bob’s friends of the heart and spirit. Much love always, and Happy Mother’s Day!

  3. I think I may have hiked in to see the petroglyphs that Porter saw—Known as the Holy Ghost group????
    Larger than life figures???

    • Jerrie, you’re impressive as heck for hiking into that terrain! Porter thinks the 3 to 4-foot figures he saw were the Harvest Scene pictographs. Maybe he’ll see the Holy Ghost group another time.

  4. Gail, thanks so much for the recent story of the Utah adventures. Porter’s bike tour sounds exhausting. Am wondering what the temperatures and altitudes were. Not a lot of shade for your meditations!
    After some of the terrible snow storms blew through Colorado, I wondered if you all had been in the line of fire. Our world’s weather is certainly bouncing from one extreme to another.
    Va and I are hoping that you are continuing to heal and getting your energy back.
    Best Fort Worth wishes, Alex

    • Alex, we always look forward to hearing from you and Virginia! Yes, Porter’s bike tour was exhausting, he’s still recovering. The temperatures ranged from 40s at night to 80s during the day, and the elevation was about 5,000 feet. You’re so right about the weather/climate change. We had snow just a few days ago, in mid-May! Our apple tree was in full bloom with white blossoms but although covered with snow wasn’t damaged. We were spared most of the big snowstorm that hit Denver in April. We hope Virginia had a very Happy Mother’s Day! Much love from Porter and me, Gail

  5. Wow Gail, I am glad your heart is healing nicely and I am always impressed with Porter’s adventures! Love to both of you from your North Texas cousins.

    • Bryan, Love to you and Cheryl as well! We think of you so often and are happy we’re in touch.

  6. That’s wonderful that you are out there and getting ‘retreated’ and love. Amber rocks the prayer shawl and Porter is back at his other love. Very happy to see y’all thriving under the spring sun! I’m living vicariously through you, Gail. <3

    • Sue, Amber got a huge kick out of your saying she rocks the prayer shawl! Very happy to see on FB that you’re thriving as well and doing such good work in the world. XOXO

  7. Gail,
    What stunning photography and what a challenging adventure.
    You and Porter are living the dream, aren’t you?
    Happy Mother’s Day!
    Love, Mary Jane

    • Mary Jane, we hope you’re living the dream too–embracing life as fully as we can! Happy Mother’s Day to you too! Love, Gail and Porter

  8. I’m glad your both out engaged in adventure of the bod and spirit! And Utah is the place to be! So good to have news from you! I’m glad you have a soul mate in Amber when Porter is away.

    • Pat, it’s good to hear from you too! We hope you’re having a lovely spring filled with great adventures!

  9. Through your writing, images, and adventures, you let us inhale the Utah air, make our eyes pop with the blossoms bursting through rock, and inspire all your friends to experience the full arc from stillness to exhaustion as you two do. Keep glowing and going. Much love, Lois

    • Dear Lois, your comment is a poem, thank you so much! It means a lot coming from a writer of your stunning talent.

  10. The red rock country has always felt holy to me–I have many wonderful childhood memories of times spent there, the serene river, the towering red cliffs, the vast overhand of a crystal clear blue sky. Couldn’t be a better choice for expanding yourself physically or spiritually.

    • Rosemary, very happy to know that your beautiful heart is imbued with the spirit of the red rock country. Thank you for this lovely comment.

  11. Sounds like a beautiful spring calling. Love that you came upon Amber, but didn’t disturb her meditation. Such challenging terrain, glad everyone is safe.

    • Thank you, Philip! We’re so proud of you too, for your own adventures and what a spectacular human being you are!

  12. Such wonderful photos–and it looks like you also are blooming with returning strength and vitality. Porter’s trip looked challenging but glad that he had buddies to share the road with. And of course best wishes to your little travel buddy Amber who found her peaceful spot.

    • Thank you, Ellen! We appreciate your comment, especially about the photos since you’re such a brilliant photographer. Your book, THE MOMENT WHISPERS: Nature in the here and now, remains one of our most treasured books.

  13. Ahhh, a rainbow, a flower, and you joyous three! Always inspiring—I love that you spread the wonder and smiles all around. Hoping (Gail) your recovery is sound. Porter, your pedaling is upright, your boulder scrambling heady. And Amber, your prayers all answered. Revitalize, refresh! Blessings on you, dear ones.

    • And blessings on you, dear Kathleen! We hope the new edition of your wonderful book is coming along beautifully!

  14. Hi Gail – I stopped by your Facebook page and felt it was very fortuitous when I saw this little photo essay about lands that were once were home, always dear to my heart, but to which I have not returned in far too long. Except in memory and writing. Fortuitous because of the message I’m sending you on Facebook, just a simple question but not for the public. Best wishes to you on all your adventures!

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