February 10, 2014

Trail Roulette

A couple of friends were out riding Pass Mtn over the weekend and reported seeing a trail heading off to the east from near the saddle. A conversation with a hiker, led them to believe there was indeed a trail connecting Pass Mtn to the Goldfields.

Of course this led to more poking around on satellite imagery. I did see the trail near the saddle of Pass Mtn, but it looked like a dead end. Then I spotted a well defined route parallel to Pass Mtn, hmmm. Sounds like a good excuse to go exploring.

I had a feeling Bev would want to tag along with her freshly minted 29er. I was right, we started out from the Meridian rd trailhead on a sandy, but rideable trail. Soon it pitched upward and became increasingly loose/chunky. We both knew what unknown trail conditions could lead to. Yep, Hike-a-bike. Would it get better? We could see where we were headed, a long way up towards a saddle. We asked a hiker how the upper trail fared compared to what we were on. She said it only became worse & we wouldn't be riding. A few more minutes of pushing, we flipped it and headed back down to the cars.
Tough pedaling conditions.
Pass Mtn. trail is in the shadows across the way.
Let's get outta here!
Nice trail near the bottom.
It was still early, just past 4pm, so we opted to head east and explore a bit through the Goldfields. I recalled a trail off one of the ridgelines from a recent ride that looked like it had potential.

One way to find out.

We backtracked a couple of times to find a road that lead out to AZ88, then made our way up to First Water rd. We jumped into the Goldfield network and soon spotted the trail I was looking for. The trail conditions went from favorable to HAB as often as the trail dipped in & out of washes. It was exclusively traveled by horses, was easy to follow, just difficult to ride in spots. Just when we were ready to turn around, it would get really good. There were sections of well graded contouring and tremendous views, then a crappy segment.

It was starting to get late as the sun dipped low and we were still on this trail to an unknown dumpout. I'm starting to know my way around out there, so I knew it would eventually put us on a jeep road that would take us back around, but when was anyone's guess.

A few minutes later we heard some ATV's over the hill and we found ourselves on the jeep road. The ATV's passed by and we followed over a small ridge to where I found the singletrack from a few weeks earlier. Cool. I knew this was a fast route back too. We came to a fork in the trail, last time we went up the hill to the ridgeline, this time Bev and I stayed low and bolted through the valley.
Singletrack leads to jeep roads & vice versa in the Goldfields.
We made our way back to the jeep road we entered on completing a short loop on some new trail. With a little trail work the horse route could be a really nice addition to the network out there.
Bev enjoying the new 29er.
Here's the short Goldfield loop:

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