July 30, 2011

AZT #27 - Blue Ridge Passage

Headed north for some cool(er) riding, yes it was cooler than Phoenix, but we were still sweating like mad in the higher humidity & mid 80's.  We've been wanting to check out another section, or Passage, of the Arizona Trail (AZT) so we decided on the Blue Ridge Passage just north of Payson.  Our group of 6 had never been on this section of trail so there was an air of uncertainty about what conditions we would encounter.  The online trail reports were few and mostly dated, we just had to find out for ourselves.  The plan for the day was to start at the northern terminus of the Blue Ridge Passage just off Rt, 87 @FR138 (approx. 40 miles north of Payson)

Locked & loaded

Photo by Phil

Photo by Phil

Seron coming into focus

Good day to be on the bike

One of a handful of gate crossings
Photo by Seron
Photo by Seron

Bottom of our descent & start of some HAB. Photo by Seron

Rescued this poor fella for a couple of tandem mtn. bikers. Photo by Seron

Diggin' in. Photo by Seron

Photo by Seron

Phil rolling on the Fred Haught / AZT. Photo by Seron
Photo by Chuck

Nice to see a bit of water on the ride. Photo by Seron

Photo by Seron

Where's the trail?

Phil. Focused.

Just like that the ferns are gone.
I thought it was supposed to be 'cool' up here!! Photo by Seron

Turnaround spot for the day, looking down from the Mogollon Rim

I'd love to have one of these signs in my garage!!
General Springs Cabin. Photo by Seron

Photo by Seron

It would be nice to have a choice of rides everyday! Photo by Seron

Every limb was covered in dirt after my second tumble.
Photo by Seron
Starting up a 3/4 mile HAB, fun stuff. Photo by Seron

Phil throughly enjoying his HAB efforts!!
Cool overlook that I missed on the way out.

Photo by Seron
When it was all said and done, 32 miles & 4300' of climbing at around 7000' elevation makes for a tired body.  Aside from the 2 HAB sections both coming & going the trail was a really fun ride.  I thought the trail flowed a little better going south to north.  It also helped to know when the tough sections were approaching.  I'll be back to ride this one again for certain.  Thanks to Seron, Phil, Chuck, Jeff & Dave for the great riding company as usual.  The drive home was entertaining as we were all glued to the windshield watching a phenomenal lightning show. One of the best I've seen in years.  Looking forward to our next big ride in the pines for sure.  A few more pics here.

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