I just had to squeeze in a few hours of work first, then we were off to the high country, cool temps and killer trail. I typically prefer to drive up north the night before a bigger ride to help acclimate to the elevation, but that wasn't an option. How would my riding legs respond? So-so at best.
We grabbed some late morning burritos at Late for the Train, parked at the Shultz Creek 'Y' and began our loop with a modest 14 mile climb up Shultz Creek trail & then onto Waterline rd.
|The first half of Waterline is through a burn area, but the grade is perfect.|
|One thing the burned trees provide: views that go on forever.|
|This large fin of rock is quite the oddity, the tunnel is a cool side effect.|
|She had to slow down a tad for the photo op.|
|Such an incredible section along the climb.|
|Aspen Alley as we near the singletrack turnoff to the Inner Basin Trail.|
|I was quick on the trigger, there goes the blue blur.|
|Everything has morphed green, no sign of snow except at the highest elevations.|
|Love this shot.|
I had never really ridden around Locket Meadow Campground, so why not today. I didn't know if there was water available here or not, there isn't. Bring a filter if you need H2O. We were fine, but it would've been nice to top off just in case.
|Obligatory Inner Basin pano.|
While the desent from Inner Basin was fun and fast, I knew what was coming on FR418. Two long steady grinding climbs that my legs still weren't ready for. We'd start out riding together at the base of the climb then slowly I'd fall back. Total slacker.
We were about to top out on the second hump of the first climb on 418 (Two climbs Kelly, not one!!) when a camper truck was heading our way. It pulled over at the top, I assumed to find a camping spot. Kelly rode up to the guy and asked if he had any spare water, she was now out after realizing some had leaked out in the drive up. Gah!! He had plenty to spare and at the perfect moment, talk about luck. We left Kelly's nameless knight in shining armor and continued our trek towards the AZT.
|Continuing on FR418 and I'm way behind again!|
|A few snow filled chutes in the alpine.|
|AZT junction!! Time for lunch.|
|Late afternoon light really lit up the aspens.|
|Ferns are growing rapidly, farther down the trail they were handlebar high.|
|Never noticed this sign before, near the Snowbowl split.|
|The last big meadow before the long descent.|
|Tuck & Zoom!!|
|Caught a glimpse of a deer running into those trees.|
|Three rides up on Humphrey's in two months this year. I'll take it.|
|Filter effect. Wing Mtn on the left, Bill Williams Mtn on the far right.|
|Alfa Fia Tank.|
We were about 40 miles into the day at the road crossing and guess what? My legs finally woke up!! We didn't take any pics the final 15 miles or so finishing at a good clip. Shultz Creek is a really fun downhill run, but I actually prefer a different way down off the AZT. It's far less crowded, skinny singletrack the entire way and feels like an undulating bobsled run. Check it out: Lower Moto, Middle Earth, Chimney to Shultz. If that doesn't put a grin on your grill, sell your bike.
Thanks for the stellar day trip Kelly, hopefully next time I'll keep pace a bit better!!