Bikepacking the American Southwest: A Journey for our National Monuments

In April and May of 2018, Brandon Jones caught a tailwind and lazily rolled across the desert on a solo bikepacking expedition that began just outside of Las Vegas, NV and ended in Moab, UT. Zigzagging across the Mojave and Great Basin Deserts and the Colorado Plateau on a rigid steel framed mountain bike carrying 11 liters water and not much else, Brandon soaked up the goodness of three of the most threatened public landscapes in the nation: Gold Butte, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Bear’s Ears National Monuments. Brandon's goals during his journey were to stay upright on his bicycle, stay hydrated, and to make good company with the desert dwellers along the way. He was almost successful.   

In Gold Butte, Brandon learned from a powerful and wise conservation ecologist about the significance of the landscape to the Paiute tribes in the area and not to speed on his bicycle due to the presence of desert tortoises. In Grand Staircase, he drank from a shallow creek in solitude where a new dinosaur species was discovered. In Bears Ears he just enjoyed the Rocky and varied gradient of Lockhart Basin. By no means was Brandon a purest in his ride. He used a GPS not paper maps, hitchhiked to avoid boring miles of pavement, and often ignored the beautiful silence of the desert by listening to throwback R &B jams in his headphones. That said, Brandon took some great selfies and learned the meaning of everything on his 600-mile ride. He is excited to share this with you in his undoubtedly exhilarating presentation. 

Tea, donated by Two Leaves and a Bud Tea Company, beer, donated by Aspen Brewing Company, and cookies will be offered during lecture.