January 22, 2016

Hawes: Gidro Pass

Were my eyes deceiving me? I was looking at a recent friend's ride at Hawes on Strava and something didn't look right. There were a whole bunch of squiggly lines going up & over the mountain to the north of the microwave towers. Upon further inspection, this route had only recently been ridden, since December!

I might as well make good use of my free Fridays and check it out. So, off I went after I swiped his track, since I wasn't sure how obvious this trail would be to find.
Bike ready to go, new pedals: check, plenty of tire sealant: check!!
I snagged a spot at the Park-n-Ride location off of Power rd and made a beeline to this new trail via the upper Hawes trail. Simply getting to this junction requires some climbing, nothing hard, but enough to get the heart rate pumping.
Not a real obvious trail split, but one nonetheless.
Same location below the microwave tower.
Right out of the gate the trail had a primitive feel, this didn't change the entire way. There was some good climbing though, then some really steep loose stuff, invading vegetation and tight switchbacks that required hike-a-bike. I was digging it. The views kept getting better and bigger the higher I went.
This had the feel of big kitty country.
Almost as high as Red Mountain.
Spotted a few cool locations to throw down a tent along the way.
Incredible view from a false summit.
Red Mountain now below, such a different perspective up here.
The trail has some real potential.
Near the top I learned what trail I was on. Accurately named.
Stunning vista to the east, Four Peaks, Bulldog Canyon and Weaver's Needle tucked in the background.
As I was snapping pics near the Cactus Garden sign I noticed another rider hiking up the trail. When he topped out I asked if it was his first time up here. He said he'd been hiking the trail up to the summit for a while, but this was his first time with his bike. Based on what I saw of the trail, I'd say it's been there well before December.

I got going while he soaked up the views and caught his breath.
At the top!! Let's see what this downhill is all about.
A short stint on this ridgeline led to a white knuckle descent. (and more HAB!!)
If you have an aversion to heights and sketchy trail, the Goat trail may not be for you. It's narrow, loose in sections, exposed, has some tight turns and is steep. So, I walked a bit, but rode plenty as well. That is, until I felt my front tire go soft. Huh, that pre-ride photo shows plenty of sealant in my front tire or at least ON my front tire. I hadn't topped off in a while and the small pinhole from a likely culprit - read: cactus spine, just wouldn't seal.

While I was prepping my wheel for some goop, the other guy rode on by. A few minutes later I was back in business ready to push my bike up an ultra steep grade to the second summit.
The Goat trail looked relatively new, perhaps this was the missing link?
A trail worthy of its name.
Most of the second downhill was rideable, just beware of the slippery kitty litter surface.
At the bottom of L'Alpe d'Huez. I think this would climb better than Cactus Garden. I'll give it a go next time.
I've been riding out at Hawes for over 20 years now (way to date myself) and I had never ridden Wild Horse in the westbound, downhill direction until this ride. What was I thinking? I'm not necessarily a huge fan of out-n-back rides, so maybe that's why, but after completing what seemed like a 10 mile descent it won't be my only time.
Red Mountain from Twisted Sister.
I had brief thoughts of stringing together a sizable ride, but opted to back off since I was all set to ride the grueling AES APC65 + bonus miles the next day. I finished off my loop going up & over the Mine trail which seemed so small after coming down Gidro Pass.

Little did I know my weekend plans of riding were about to be altered. As I put the wraps on the Hawes ride, I was less than a mile from my car on the fast, flat, easy Canal trail when a lone rogue bee met me head-on. I heard it clip the underside of my helmet, then it got caught under the right arm of my sunglasses! Like a spaz I tried to swat it away while I kept riding. Of course it zapped me, just above the temple - ouch!

I finished the ride, packed up and took a look in the rear view mirror - the stinger was still protruding from my head. I yanked that sucker out and drove home. I didn't think much of it, continued to prep for the following big day. My eye showed some signs of swelling before I went to bed, but nothing I was concerned about. At least not until 5am when my alarm went off...
Rut-roh, doesn't 'look' like I'm going anywhere today. Drat.
I looked like I'd been in a bar brawl. While it looks horrendous, it didn't hurt. By Sunday night it was almost back to normal. Jeez.


  1. I just accidentally found these trails today and when I did a Google search for "Gidro Pass" your blog came up. Thanks for the info! I came up from Usery Pass Road and was wondering if Cactus Garden would hit Hawes; it looked like it did. Thanks!

  2. Thanks runnergirlgo! Yes, Cactus Garden ties directly into the upper Hawes trail below the gnarly stuff by the towers. If you haven't tried it, check out trailforks.com & download their app. While it's geared toward mountain biking, runners share the same trails!

  3. Excellent post! Thanks for the recon - it got me up there after seeing some tracks on the Strava. I managed to climb up Cactus Garden ride triumphantly back and forth on the ridge a few times before heading back down Cactus Garden, saving the rest for another ride with some company.

    1. Right on! Glad you checked it out. I need to get back up there, haven't been since this ride.