Mountain Bike Bill, Get the Dirt on the Dirt

The White Mountains of Arizona in the Summer Tour of 2006

Day One - The White Mountains

images/Trails/AZ06/AZ06-WhiteMountains-14.jpgimages/Trails/AZ06/AZ06-WhiteMountains-17.jpgI had arrived in Phoenix late the night before and crashed at Cris's house at the base of the infamous South Mountain. We were up bright and early the following morning and soon had all our stuff in the RV and headed out of town. On the way we stopped and picked up Heath and Fady who rounded out the Nomad Posse for the week. It did not take long on the drive out to the White Mountains in the eastern park of state to start breaking down my stereotype of Arizona as a hot desert state. We passed many groves of tall pines and scenic alpine meadows as we climbed to over 7,000 feet in the mountains and onto the Apache Indian Reservation. Our basecamp for the next couple of days would be near the base of the Sunrise Mountain.

images/Trails/AZ06/AZ06-RVing-30JUL06-08.jpgimages/Trails/AZ06/AZ06-RVing-30JUL06-07.jpgThe White Mountains see a lot rain throughout the year and we were hoping for a good window of weather for our visit there. We went through some showers along the way, but the weather turned for the better that afternoon and we enjoyed a really nice dinner before turning in for the night. It got really cold that night and rained, but all was well in the RV. I slept really well thanks to the heater and comfortable beds.

Day Two - Sunrise Ski Resort

images/Trails/AZ06/AZ06-WhiteMountains-04.jpgimages/Trails/AZ06/AZ06-WhiteMountains-05.jpgThe weather looked pretty descent in the morning with lots of puffy cumulous clouds from horizon to horizon. The park is only opened from 10AM to 4PM on the weekends so we were in no rush in the morning and enjoy waffles smothered with fruit and some mighty fine Panamanian coffee before getting our stuff around. The resort was only about three miles up the road from camp so we opted to warm-up on the road before playing lift lizards for rest of the day. Since there was only four of us there was plenty of room in the RV for an extra bike so I had bought along both my girly XC bike as well as my longer-legged play bike. As I pedaled off up the road, I was pretty sure I heard my XC bike whimpering while it peeked out the window of the RV. Like in most mountainous regions the weather can change at the drop of hat and shortly after we got our lift tickets some ominous clouds rolled in and a light rain started. It did let up after bit and we on the lift headed for the peak at 10,641 feet.

There are a couple of handfuls of trails coming off the peak that are categorized in the standard ski-park method of circles, squares and black diamonds. We started off down one of the intermediate runs and then cutover onto one of the single black diamond routes. The rain started up again it did not seem to be too much of an issue for the trails as soil just seems to either soak it up or shed it off nicely as it is predominately volcanic rock. Most of the trails twisted through the trees but there are some runs that were straight blaze fests right down the mountain where it is not a matter of how fast you can go, but how fast you are willing to go. Since my camera is not water proof it spent much of the day in the pack. We only made three runs down the mountain before the rain settled in for the long haul, but what we did get in was pretty darn fun. Despite being pretty much soaked on the trail we managed to stay fairly warm. It was not until the road ride back to the RV that a chill set in pretty quick. I was pretty thankful for easy access to a hot shower. We spent the rest of the evening lounging in and around the RV (In between the rain). Fady is a fan of horses so we spent some time just checking them out and even managed to see both some wild turkeys and elk that evening.


The Morning of Day Three - The Los Burros Trail Abort

images/Trails/AZ06/AZ06-WhiteMountains-18.jpgThe plan for today was to do the Los Burros Trail which is supposed to be one of he best singletracks in the area. The sky was dark and cloudy when we woke up but not raining although it had rained several times over the night. Even though it looked like it could downpour on us at any moment we followed the old adage for many mountainous regions "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes" and opted to drive out to the trailhead to see if things were better there. The weather turned for the worse on the drive out and it was raining substantially at the trailhead. We waited in truck for a while we discussed our options. We made the call that things would most likely not get any better so we headed back to the RV, hooked it up and beat feet for Flagstaff and hopefully better weather.

On to Flagstaff