If you are going to go all the way to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to camp and ride the Rainbow Rim trail, it is well worth it to add a segment or two of the Arizona Trail that runs through the area into the mix. This is from an 18 mile snippet of the trail south of Jacob Lake. We did this on Day 11 of August MTB Vacation.
Here is the first video of an upcoming series from my August MTB Vacation. This is of Schultz Creek coming off of the Mount Elden in Flagstaff Arizona. I have ridden Schultz Creek and handful of times going back to 2006. It has always been fun!
Day 18 Bunker Creek. Coming off of Brianhead Peak this was a doozie. Starting just at 11,000 feet, you had long views, Alpine meadows, Aspens, Pines. Much of this area burned in 2017 and the trails have been rebuilt, improved and extended.
Day 19 VRRT – Navajo Peak. I started out with plans to do the Navajo Lake Loop, but half way around I chose to peel off and get my climb on. There was plenty of work to be done but much like the Strawberry Point segment the views were worth the effort.
On Day 20 I finished off the “Big 3” at Brianhead with the Blowhard Mountain Trail. I rode with a group of guys from the Giant Bicycle shop in Las Vegas. A great group of guys. The trail was every bit as technical as it was billed to be. Such good stuff.
My body decreed that today would be a rest day so for Day 21 I tooled around the countryside a bit which included a stop at Paragon Gap to check out the Indian Rock Art.
For Day 22, I ventured off the mountians to check out the Iron Hills trail system in Cedar City. This is an exceptional designed and built trail system which was a hoot. I did 14 miles and change with 1,700 feet of climbing. After spending much of my time over the last two weeks around 9,000 feet the thick oxygen rich air down at 6,000 feet was a real joy!
After camp near Navajo Lake since being in Utah, for Day 23 I felt the need to knock of Navajo Lake Loop proper since I had only done part of it.
Day 24 Time to head home. Ahh hell, time to go do some of that adult stuff. It has been a fabulous trip. I have gotten everything thing I needed and wanted out of this trip. I’m no sure what that need and want is exactly yet, but I found it out here. For now I’m looking forward to seeing both wife and dogs.
I have amassed nearly a terabyte of footage and photos to do stuff with that will take months to get through. I have melon full killer memories of this trip that I’m bringing back as well. I’ll share when I can.
For now, the RV’s shitter tank is not going to dump itself!
The big August MTB vacation continues! Part 3 of the roadtrip covers Bill O’Neil and I in Utah.
Day 13 – We started the day heading out to Thunder Mountain. The weather in the area turned for the worst. With too much thunder on Thunder Mountain we had had to come up with a Plan B.
Plan B was the Virgin River Rim Trail starting from Strawberry Point. This was an amazingly beautiful and challenging trail. The combination of terrain, grade and elevation all worked together to make for some spicey climbing. Oh the downhills were good! That night severe weather swept through the region and we good numerous flash flood warnings/alerts throughout the night.
After the rain out day, for Day 15 we took another crack at Thunder Mountain. We managed to catch a good weather window and for the most part we were rewarded some near hero dirt. We only had a couple of squishy spots that were created by some irresponsible equestrians who went out on the trail way too soon.
For Day 16, we did the Dark Hollow, Second Left-Hand Canyon Shuttle. With nearly 5,000 feet of descent this was one impressive route with a some amazing trail itself and phenomenal scenery.
Bill O’Neil had to go back to adulting so Dark Hollow was our last ride together for this trip. I still have some time left before I have to reenage the realm of adulting.
Solo adventures to be continued….
So I am on three-week MTB vacation. These posts are quite a bit time late as I typically have the choice of riding, enjoying tasty beverages, chilling or posting stuff on the internet. Guess which one gets bottom billing? Here is a quick recap of the events of the first part.
Day 1 was the transit to Flagstaff with the travel trailer. The first ride was on day 2 in the Fort Valley area. I climbed up Chimney, Lower Moto, a bit of the AZT, connected up with Secret and then descended Schultz Creek. Schultz Creek was ever bit as good as I remembered it
On Day 3, I checked out the Flagstaff MTB skills park which was right next to where I camped at Fort Tuthill. This is an impressive skills park with access to the regional network of trails. After playing around at the park, I hit up Soldiers Trail and The Bridge trail to loop right back to camp.
Day 4 was Chicken Noodle Soup for the MTB Soul. The Walnut Creek Segment of Arizona Trail is simply amazing. I did about an 18 mile loop that included the AZT, the Flagstaff loop trail and other tasty singletrack. Later that evening my lovely wife and dogs arrived to join in the vacation festivities.
For Day 5 I cut my wife some slack and we did a shuttle up to the top of Schultz pass. We then did the half of the loop I climbed in day 2 as a descent. Secret to AZT to Moto to Chimney and the the lower bit of Schultz Creek. She was most appreciative of not throwing a beat down on her out of the gate.
For Day 6, I did a 24 mile dumbell looking route from camp that included Highland, Soldiers, Flagstaff Loop, Rogers. Gold Digger and Two-Spot. It was a glorious morning when I started. Pretty much at the apex of my ride the thunderstorms rolled in. I had 10 miles with a hill in the middle to get over. I arrived back at camp a waterlogged mess. It was kinda awesome in its own way.
Day 7 was move day. It sucked having to pack up all the stuff that got caught out in the storm. Everything has “its place” with our little house on wheels and stuff being wet meant stuff had to go in different places. I managed to get rolling by 10AM enroute to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Now I have been to Locust Point a handful of times but I had never traveled those 20 miles of dirt roads towing a trailer. A handful of miles down the main dirt road. I parked my truck and trailer and hopped in my wife’s Outback and we drove the rest of the way to access the remaining roads and potential spots. After a successful scouting mission in the Outback (Dubbed the Lunar Lander), I was back in the truck with the Command Module in tow. We got a primo spot with the Rainbow Rim trail about 30 feet out our door with the canyon a few feet beyond that.
The adventure continues…
One more of the old skool videos remastered. This video is one of first videos with an HDV camcorder and the optical stabilization was so not geared to handle MTB type action. I tried some stabilization with this video but the crop required is just no good. I plan to put together a video of a scouting I did out here back in May so I wanted to get this out for comparison later. I really hope this area can recover back from the fires to something akin to what it was in this video.
I was ready to get in a sizable ride, but when record highs projected I decided a mighty early start with plenty of water was in order for my outing up in the Cuyamaca Mountains. I was at the trail-head at sunrise and was rolling shortly thereafter. The temps were nice at that time of the morning but I knew it would not last.
I made good time up the West Side trail and the Green Valley Fireroad and was on the Upper Green Valley Singletrack before things started really warming up.
I really enjoy the La Cima trail along with the Lucky 5 trail so at the top the Upper Green Valley singltrack I did the out and back on those two trails. I “imagine” that someday when MTB access to the PCT is restored you could make a good loop with it and the Pedro Fages Trail. Even if you could do a legal loop with those trails I would have a hard time passing up the downhill section of the La Cima trail over the the California Riding and Hiking Trail.
The CHRT is mighty nice through here. While on this section I saw a pair of Coyotes and one of them had a rabbit in his mouth. I really wish I had my real camera (DSLR with some quality glass on it) with me. My phone has a really good camera on it suitable for a lot of situations, but it is no match for a DSLR with a quality lens on it.
It was plenty toasty at this point. I started with a three liters in my bladder and 750ml in a separate water bottle with a couple of electrolyte tablets in it. By this point in the ride I had killed the water bottle and refreshed the tablets and filled with water from my bladder. I connected up with the Marty Minshall trail which skirts near Lake Cuyamaca before coming out across from Milk Ranch Road.
It has been a while since I had been up Middle Peak and I was interesting in seeing how things are progressing since the fires back in 2003. Without the trees on the mountain, there was little respite from the sun which was cooking things at this point. I was pretty stoked at how well I was handling the heat compared to how things were pre-surgery but the climb was still plenty taxing. After a water check at the top, I decided that it would be unwise to try and complete the ride without restocking up on water. The descent down Black Oak was fun but the descent down Milk Ranch Ranch Road seemed like wasted elevation loss.
Once back at HWY79, I diverted off the planned route over to the general store at Lake Cuyamaca to resupply my water. While there I found a giant frozen ice stick that I simply could not live without. I enjoyed it along with nice cold Gatorade. I completely refilled water bladder even through I doubted I would need to all of that to get back to the truck. Better to be safe that sorry in these conditions. If I had a mechanical in a bad spot I could end up being out here a lot longer than planned. I also figured that if I came across someone in distress I could help.
After enjoying my treat and the shade on the porch of the store I made my way back to the Marty Minshall trail where I retraced my route back to the top of the Soapstone Creek Fireroad. I descend this fireroad and picked up the Cold Spring Trail. I was feeling tired at this point but was still stoked at the fact I was not destroyed by the heat.
As I descended down the trail you could felt the temperature climbing. By the time I connected back up with the West Side trail it was roasting. No more stopping for pictures at this point, I was ready to be done. When I got back to the truck it was was 103 degrees. My truck reads a little high after sitting so I think 98 or 99 is closer to legit. The difference being DAMN HOT and REAL HOT! Either way it was a new milestone for me in dealing with the heat. I went through 5.0 liters of liquids on the day along with six electrolyte tablets (Nuun brand).
Since recovering from a heart valve replacement last year I have been noticing that the heat does not crush me like it used to do. To test this theory, I decided to ride the Upper San Ysabel Truck Trail and ascend Black Mountain in Pamo Valley.
I purposely started a little later in the morning knowing that it was going to be toasty at the end of the ride.
The temperature was fairly reasonable when I started from the east end of the Santa Ysabel Truck Trail. It is mostly a climb to the west to Black Mountain Truck Trail. The last time I rode this was on a bikepacking outing and it was much easier on this day than back then with all the gear.
Once on the Black Mountain Truck Trail I settled into the climb and I was feeling good. It was nice to have my seat post working for this climb.
The temps were climbing only slightly quicker than I was. I had a full 3 liters of water in my camelbak. I only put water in my bladder. I used to put things like energy or electrolytes mixes in them but I have learned that I’m not dilengent enough to prevent inadvertent science experiments from occurring. Instead I have a separate water bottle that I mix that stuff in using the water from my bladder.
About 2/3rds of the way up the climb I took a break and made another batch of electrolytes in the water bottle (I use Nuun tablets). It was good and warm but I was still feeling good.
Continuing on I made it though a steeper section that previously would have put a hurting on me, but today it was hard work but not a crusher. After that section, it felt like a cruise in comparison to the top.
I was plenty glad to be done with the climbing and felt really good about the effort I put in.
After taking in some sights at the summit, it was downhill time.
The descent was mighty zippy and I could feel the heat cranking up as I dropped in elevation. It was quite hot when I got back on the Santa Ysabel Truck Truck and had to start using the pedals again. When I got back to the truck it was 95 degrees out. I was tired but I did have the kind of heat beat down that I would have previously had. At least it looks positive evidence to the theory from my perspective. One thing for certain, It was a good day to be on a bike.
How quickly stuff piles up when you are out playing. Then there is that whole pesky work thing that tries to slow my roll. While in Hawaii last month, I was fortunate enough to meet a killer group of locals who helped get me on some great trails while I was there.
The Ohana trails were some of those goods. This network had mucho flow a plenty if “micro-tech” to keep you honest.
I have some video footage from this area that I am going to get together at some point, but one thing is for certain. If you should find yourself in Oahu you should definitely check out this trail network. If you use the Trailforks App, it pretty darn easy to find your way there. It is listed as Olomana Trails but most of the riders refer to the area as the Ohana. The next time I get back to Oahu, this is trail #1 on the list.
Nichol and I spent this weekend at the Hurkey Creek Campground. While there I got a chance to get check out some the trails that were impacted by the 2018 Charston Fire. I am used to the shock of post-wildfire landscapes but I was particulary taken back by some of the damage nearly three years later. It was not all gloom because at least a couple of the trails I checked out are only a little worse for wear. Others are still a complete wreck.
I put notes on all the trails I checked out on my Hurkey Creek Page. The most encouraging thing I saw was the Johnson Meadow trail as it was minimally impacted and is pretty good shape.
The most disheartening thing is the Keen Camp climb as maybe 50% of it is rideable and it will require a lot work to get it functional again. Without this trail there is no practical way to loop the trails together from Hurkey Creek Park.
I did see some flagging in the Keen Camp climb corridor so hopefully there is some work planned. I don’t know about you but I would down to help out with that effort. I hopento chase down if something is indeed in the works.