5.20.2016

BCT North: High Plains Drifter

Flagstaff was the goal for the weekend, but I was able to jumpstart my travel north when I only had to work a couple of hours on Friday. I was on the road by 10am heading up I-17, but before making a beeline to the pines I thought I'd go check out a loop on the northern fringes of the Black Canyon Trail (BCT). I had heard the new(er) trail up there was good, just needed some tires on it and some catclaw pruning.

Of course I forgot my clippers. The forecast for the entire weekend was for windy conditions, 30mph gust kind of windy. It was already happening when I was getting ready at the Big Bug trailhead. This route was all new-to-me terrain and I hoped to knock out the 28 miles in under 4 hours.

The first 18 miles are on well graded dirt roads, Old Sycamore & Orme rds. They have a few short hills to begin with then get stupid fast when coupled with a modest tailwind!!
Downhill with a tailwind: Zoom!!
End of Old Sycamore rd. near I-17.
More quality dirt road on Orme rd.
I finally saw the first BCT sign near mile 15, but the 'trail' didn't begin here. It was more dirt road, slightly downgraded condition from the prior two, but still a very rideable section.
Northern terminus of the BCT.
A kinder, gentler Arizona jeep road.
Seemingly endless views climbing the hills.
Jeep road turns south, allowing the wind to smack me head-on, only for a short bit.
I dropped into Russian Well where a few cattle greeted me near the windmill. I rode passed the remnants of a stone structure and found the turnoff onto singletrack. Finally, some trail!!
Russian Well.
Singletrack!
Well contoured trail, something the BCT is famous for.
Talk about vague!! Good thing I had a GPS, barely a hint of other trail users.
I highly recommend riding this trail with a GPS loaded with a track to follow. There were many times where the trail was virtually non-existent or the multitude of cow paths often were more established.

I was cruising along and rode through a small dip in the trail and heard a very pronounced 'SNAP'!! Not the sound anyone wants to hear when riding. I stopped to find out what broke. It was my saddle...again. Second one in 6 months. Hmmm. Making me wonder if it's reliable enough for the crap I ride on. The Achilles Heel this time was the mounting bracket for the tensioning screw on the nose of the saddle.
A bit more sag, but it was still rideable.
Prickly Pear forest in full bloom.
A rare shady spot.
The Agua Fria River actually had water in it!!
Mmmm, good climbing.
Ranch greenbelt.
This gate made good camouflage for the Voodoo.
One final gate before crossing Old Sycamore rd.
Copper Mtn. Hopefully soon there will be a spur loop completed over there.
While I saw no evidence of tire tracks or footprints on the trail, it's a really good ride. Next time I'll tack on a bunch of extra miles for a full day outing. Go ride this trail!!

1 comment:

  1. Nice write up. I really hope that work continues on that area. When we ride it, we take a small pair of hand clippers to take out the evil catclaw

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