9.27.2011

AZT SF Peaks round 2

The first visit a few weeks back was so good, many of us immediately started to plan a return trip.  This time of year turned out to be extremely busy for most, but luckily, Chris decided to join me on a 40+ mile ride along the AZT.  This was the first time on this section of trail for Chris, so I was interested to see what his impressions were.  Our starting spot was a little different from last time since we weren't camping out, plus I really wanted to finish this ride railing down Shultz Creek. A twisty turny downhill run of about 4 miles.  We met up early and hit the road arriving at the Shultz Creek TH around 9:15a.  Our route for the day would be an out-n-back starting with Shultz Creek up to the intersection with the AZT then head west on the SF Peaks passage up and over the shoulder of Humphrey's Peak down to FR418.

View from Shultz Creek TH
No caption needed here

New signage at the Snowbowl Rd crossing
 We were pleasantly surprised to find the new connection, south of Aspen Corner, had been completed in the 3 weeks since our last ride.  No HAB needed!!

We even ran across a couple of mtbr buddies on the trail. It's always nice to run across old/new friends while out exploring.

BrianC taking some reflecting snaps

The AZT is multi-use, share the trail

Chris is already comtemplating if the ride can get any better.

View from Aspen Corner

Chris sums up the day in one swift motion!!


Kathleen sans her trail dogs on this day


We took a slight detour and rode down to check out Bismarck Lake, really to see if there was any water at all.  There was, but only enough to call it a pond.  We then ventured on the circumference trail to see if it connected back to the AZT....sure does!!


The forest can yield some funky creations

This is where our Bismarck Lake scenic tour converged with the AZT


Chris carving up some sweet singletrack

Rolling through another aspen grove
We made our way down to FR418, broke for lunch & headed up one of the easier 4 mile climbs you'll ever do. 

The scent of Autumn was in the air

In a few short weeks the trees will be dotted with gold...
After rolling up and down across the high meadows of the ride we descended for 5 mostly uninterrupted miles to Snowbowl Rd.  We still had 13 or so miles to go and about 1 hour of daylight left so we picked up the pace as best we could.  The last couple of miles on the AZT seemed to take forever, we were anticipating the forest road of the Weatherford Trail to lead us straight back to the Sunset TH, but we consistantly were duped by the multitude of dirt road crossings we had bisected on our way out.  Finally we found our runout to Sunset TH and ironically enough the sun was setting.  We knew we had 4 miles of rolling downhill bliss on Shultz Creek, but would we have enough light?  Halfway down we had our answer, no.  Luckily Chris had his helmet light and for the last 2 miles I kept a close wheel watching for any sudden bobbing of Chris' wheels to alert me of upcoming obstacles.  By the time we arrived at the car the stars were out, the temps were cool, and we had slayed 50+ miles of high alpine singletrack!  Time for a Beaver Street Brewery run and some of their fantastic Oatmeal Stout, well deserved on this day. Cheers!!

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