One wrinkle in our plan was where to camp and sleep upon arrival in Fruita to setup for Day 1 on the Kokopelli Trail. We opted to drive out to Rabbit Valley (Exit 2) and camp in a designated spot. We set up camp and slept with the trail on our minds. We awoke to clear skies, cooked and ate our breakfast, packed up and drove to our starting point, the Kokopelli Area outside of Fruita—which is actually not the true starting point, and why it is named that I am not quite sure, but nonetheless this is where we mounted up and headed out. Mary’s Loop Trail should have led us right to Horsethief Bench, the highlight of our starting point and a desired detour for Mike, our leader, but unfortunately we got confused and thought we missed it. So we backtracked a mile or so only to realize that we hadn’t missed it. Oh well, no biggie right? Well, we made our way back up Mary’s and found the treacherous start that begins the Horsethief Bench loop. We hike-a-biked down and remounted to the wild ride that is Horsethief. It was fun, but hot, and dry and sandy. After the loop, we took a break atop the bench before heading back on our way up Mary’s.
As we made our way towards our lunch stop and refueling at our RV, the temps kept rising, especially down in the valley as we were with no wind, no air, or so it felt. As water rations ran low, Robb and I began to really suffer from the heat, and eventually needed to be evacuated at an impromptu meeting point as close as Mike could coordinate getting his dad Rick and the RV. Soon enough we were recovering but unable to continue for the afternoon portion of the ride. Meanwhile, Mark had taken a spill on a loose turn and tweaked his wrist badly enough to not be able to continue either. So Robb, Mark and I were out, but Mike, Chris and Doug were able to continue on.