November 8, 2015

AZT #4: Temporal Gulch

Things were stirring early on Sunday morning when some disgruntled target shooters couldn't use their prized dirt area due to our camp setup. So, they set up a blast zone across the road, in another designated shooting area, and began squeezing off rounds shortly after 6:30a.

That was enough of a wakeup call and we slowly packed up camp. I think all of us who spent the night had ride plans for Sunday, but Shannon was the only one up for an adventure ride.

Our plan for the day was to drive south to Patagonia to the beginning of AZT Passage 4, ride it northbound until we reached the Wilderness boundary, then hike through the Wilderness to the opposite boundary I rode to on Saturday. Of course we had no real idea how the riding would be. Time to find out.
Main drag in Patagonia.
We were about to buy water at the store behind us, then Shannon spotted this fountain.
The first 7 miles were easy pedaling with fantastic views of Mt. Wrightson. Look closely, you can see the Vatican's observatory on the distant peak just left of center.
The AZT trailhead for Temporal Gulch.
The AZT continued northbound on a dirt road, but the terrain degraded as fresh tracks from a bulldozer had recently gone through. We guessed that the road had been severely washed out beforehand.
Some old metal signs along the way.
Our first big grunt of the day, mostly HAB.
At the top of the grunt, the views really started to open up.
Mt. Wrightson getting closer as was another steep pitch in the road.
More pushing as we entered the land of trees.
We knew we weren't too far from the Wilderness boundary, so we opted to ditch our bikes in the brush and continue on foot. It was a wise decision as the terrain was steep & loose. A short time later we arrived at an AZT marker signaling 1 mile to the boundary. There was water flowing over a small dam creating a mossy hanging garden of sorts. Perfect spot for a break & snack!
End of the line for the dirt road.
Spring fed runoff.
So much easier without the bike, but I swear these rocks were dumped here. No rocks on either side of the trail!!
We never saw a Wilderness boundary sign. This was up at the saddle leading into Casa Blanca Canyon.
Our closest viewpoint of Mt. Wrightson.
Our turnaround point.
The afternoon was starting to drag on, we weren't quite sure how much farther we had to hike. It was at least a few miles, so in the sake of time we picked a spot to turn around. It was the smart decision since we didn't want to get back too late. I'll have to head back down to finish it off sometime soon.
On the hike out. Photo by Shannon.
The hike back down to the bikes went by fairly quick and we were a bit excited to rip down those grunt climbs we did early in the day.
Bombs away!!
One of a dozen water crossings.
The Canelo Hills outside of Patagonia. Photo by Shannon.
Patagonia Mtns. next to town.
We finished just after 4p and were packing our things up when a local approached Shannon and asked her if we had been out riding. He mentioned that we must be hungry and told us about a local taco plate fundraiser going on in the building next to us. Patagonia doesn't have a ton of food options, so we jumped at the chance for post ride tacos!! Score.
This ride was a little unique, it had a bit of everything it seemed, except rideable singletrack. It was extremely scenic, good/bad climbs & fun descents, but I probably wouldn't do it again due to the Wilderness blockade.

This ride did, however, complete all the bike legal passages along the AZT for me. I only have a few stray miles scattered about for my tires to roll on, maybe 15 total. This now brings my AZT miles complete up to 675. Only 130 or so to hike!!

Photo album:


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