Day 4: Payson and the Hot Springs

I got to sleep in my own bed! Oh it was beautiful, but didn’t last long enough. Because Alia and I were about seven minutes too late to go into the Provo City Center Temple yesterday, we woke up extra early to go and do initiatories. This was the only temple that I did not perform an ordinance for one of my own ancestors in, BUT Alia was able to bring a name that I had prepared for their initiatory, so I’m still counting it. The important thing is that I prepped the name and brought it to the temple to get done, right? Right. This is my journey so I’m making the rules haha.

After the temple I biked a few blocks down Center Street to Hruska’s Kolaches, probably my favorite restaurant in Provo, for breakfast and to meet up with my friend Matt, his wife Eliza, and my pretty-much nephew Oliver. One of the most common responses I received when I told people about the Utah Pedal Pilgrimage was that they wished they could do something like it, or at least be a part of something like it. That really resonated with me, so I invited people to come and ride with me in and around Provo. Matt was the only one who took me up on the Provo to Payson ride. Matt is one of my best friends from my mission back in Indonesia. We both lived and served in Indonesia for two years, but I started about a year before him. We were roommates there in two different cities, and have stayed great friends ever since. While we were eating I ran into another old friend Josh, who just so happened to be getting breakfast at Hruska’s too. He was super stoked for me and everything I was doing. After finishing our Kolaches (YESYUMMMYES!) we set off for Payson.

The ride was beautiful on that Saturday morning. This was the first time I rode without listening to music, and Matt and I got to ride side-by-side for almost the whole route thanks to the strategic, practically empty route Google put us on. We talked about life, why I was doing what I was doing, what it’s like for him being a new father, school, life plans, and spiritual stuff. I think that that is one of the signs of a truly great friend, just feeling open and free enough to talk about anything, especially the personal things that are important to you. I feel like I am a fairly friendly person, and can talk to most people about most things, but Matt is a super good friend to have to talk to about everything.

As we were closing in on the final couple blocks before the Payson Temple a mini van pulled up alongside us and started honking, with all of the people inside of it screaming. My first instinct was to be defensive, sometimes people aren’t particularly nice to bikers on roads in Provo, and I through maybe it was a culture thing that carried over into Payson. But then I remembered the little news spot on ABC4 and the fact that we were super close to the temple, so maybe they had seen that and recognized my orange shirt. I looked over to smile and wave and, yep, they definitely recognized me. The mini van was full of my aunt, uncle, and six screaming little cousins who were driving through Utah on their way back to Michigan from California. They timed their arrival in Payson perfectly with when Matt and I rolled up. There were lots of shouts, hugs, and “hi how are you”s exchanged while Matt, my aunt, my uncle, my sister and I tried to change in my car that my mom drove and in the mini van to make it for the 10 o’clock session, which we made by the skin of our teeth. The session was beautiful. It was great to be able to share that morning in the temple with friends and family so dear to my heart.

After the session, a small turkey sandwich, and a bottle of Gatorade, we all parted ways so that my mom and I could make our way towards the dreaded Highway 6 running up Spanish Fork Canyon. While prepping for the Pilgrimage I made a few visits to Mad Dog Cycles, a bike shop here in Orem and Provo, to get some gear that I would need. While shopping and talking with the awesome staff there, I told them about the trip I was planning.

One of the employees looked up at me from the tire tube he was swapping out, surprised, and asked, “Are you going to Vernal?”


“How are you planning on getting there?”

“I dunno, just following whatever directions the bike route on Google Maps tells me I guess.”

“OK, just don’t take Highway 6. That’s like the deadliest road in the state, and one of deadliest in the country.” He said as he put down my wheel and walked toward the shops computer. He found the article he was looking for, and sure enough, there was Highway 6 explained in all its deadly glory.

“I don’t know what your plan is like so far, but if I were doing this I would avoid Highway 6 at all costs, even if it cost me a whole extra day.”

I thanked him for his advice, and set out to follow it. But also, because I am me, and me is Dalin, I mostly kind of didn’t.

By this point I had figured out that if you move the blue line of the proposed route on Google Maps, it tweaks the proposed time, mileage, and overall route between your two locations. With the cycle shop’s employee’s fear transplanted into me, I clicked and wiggled the line trying to find a different route to take. Finally after forcing Google’s line to consider different paths, I found a route that would only require me to take Highway 6 for 6 miles at the mouth of the canyon, and then bike up Diamond Fork Canyon. Perfect, right!?

Nope. Big old fat bag of nope.

It started out fine. I even had my mom tailing me with flashers on the 6, so all the cars swung wide of me, some even honking, shouting and waving encouragingly. We made it the Diamond Fork Canyon turn off, and headed up the beautiful canyon. It felt like the perfect transition from the parts of Northern Utah I had ridden into the upcoming Southern Utah sections. All I had to do was make it to the end of this section to my checkpoint, and I would go back to Provo for a couple more nights, sleep in my bed, and hit it hard again on Monday.

And then…Google told me to turn right. At the Fifth Water Hot Springs trailhead. Wait what? No way! C’mon Google what is this. I look at the map and sure enough it wants me to follow the trail and pop out on the other side at Strawberry Reservoir, the final checkpoint for the day. But I’ve hiked this trail before. This is not something I should bike on, especially with my friend Brandt’s borrowed road bike. But Google hasn’t failed me yet. Maybe there is another road on the other end of this trail past the hot springs? Sure? I guess. I mean you haven’t let me down yet Google. You got me all the way from the border of Utah and Idaho to here. You guided me through the crazy streets of Bali, Java, and Sarawak. You got this right? So, I split up with mi madre, and pressed forward. Like an Idiot.

After about three miles of biking, hiking, and trail-running I arrived at the hot springs, took some pictures and tried to continue past them. HA! No. Nonono. The trail turned to slopey, sandy nothing. As I tried to cross another section of supposed trail, left hand grabbing an exposed tree root, right hand hanging on to the bike so it wouldn’t slide down in the water below, it finally hit me: Dalin, you’re dumb. you tried to play Google-god and make your own way, and you super screwed up. Turn around now. So I did.

“How the heck did you get up here with that bike?!” one man exclaimed as I hiked, biked, and trail-ran back to the trail head, defeated.

“Stupidly,” I wheezed back, and continued on my way.

As I biked back to the mouth of Diamond Fork Canyon to meet back up with mom, three distinct thoughts burned their way into my brain.

  1. You had the audacity to call these past few days an adventure.

  2. You are sooo unprepared for the rest of this journey you have “planned.”

  3. You need to take another look at the routes you’ve planned.

Then I went home, played with cousins, and went to bed, gratefully tired enough to fall asleep despite my racing thoughts concerning the days to come.

Sometimes you gotta know when to keep pushing forward. Sometimes you need to know when to turn around and start up where you left off. Today I got to do a little bit of both I guess.

Daily stats:

  • Miles Biked: 66.76 (23.96 of them out of the way on the unnecessary, albeit fun and beautiful ride up Diamond Fork Canyon and Fifth Water Hot Springs Trail and back)

  • Running Total: 269.14

  • Temples Visited: 2 (1 forced repeat)

  • Running Total: 12

  • Ordinances Performed: 2 (Initiatory, Endowment)

  • Tires Popped by trying to Mountain Bike on a Road Bike: Miraculously, 0

  • Happy, Screaming Cousins: 6

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