September 10, 2016

Arizona: Newness

New things are great. I've had a few over the past month or so. No, not things I've purchased. Better. New trails, new parks, new friends, new hikes and making new routes on familiar ground. It's what keeps the passion alive. I'm not one for the same old thing, I like to mix things up from time to time.

Gold Canyon:

A while back word leaked out about a new trail in Gold Canyon. It's a fantastic place to ride as it is, but drop in another place to play and it keeps getting better. I headed east to check out the new fella: Phantom Trail. Dang. It's a XC Tech playground taking all that Mother Nature has to offer: Rock drops, rock piles, ledges, drainages and swooping singletrack.
This ledge is part of the trail. Send it.
Steep roller into a wash crossing here.
That's not an optional B-line, it's the trail.
This one's not from the Phantom trail, rather the Vortex. Just shows how stunning Gold Canyon is.

Wupatki & Sunset Crater:

I was asked to share my AZTR750 experience up in Flagstaff at the annual Arizona Trail days back in September. It was an open forum where people could ask all kinds of questions. It was a fun time hanging out with a few friends and listening to questions people had. Kinda wish it would have been a larger turnout, but it was still fun.

Afterwards, K and I drove through Wupatki & Sunset Crater National Monument. She had never been and it had been over 20 years for me.
We entered from the north entrance.
Lomaki ruin.

The big house.
Nearby Kiva.

Best view of the crater from the park.
The big crater across the highway...Humphrey's Peak.

Meet the Queen:

The Queen of South Mountain that is. You see, Lee-Ann is a beast on a mountain bike, but don't call her a downhiller!! She'll crush you on the technical climbs as well. How do I know? Our first ride together I couldn't believe how easy she made some of the difficult lines look, ones I've struggled with for years. We had been digital friends for a bit and finally put that to rest with a couple of South Mountain shreds. She's also from PA, so there's that. It was only fitting that I lugged a Yuengling along on the first ride!!
Who needs pads when you ride like this!!
B-line action on National trail.
Solid attempt at a Waterfall climb.
Focused determination!! We sessioned this one for a while, so fun!!
I almost look like I know what I'm doing! Photo by LA.

I'm looking forward to learning a few things from her, I could obviously use it!!

Pinnacle Peak Hike:

I like to hike. Really. I just prefer to bike, but hiking is tons of fun too and can take you to places that a bike simply can't or isn't allowed. One local hike I've never done is up in North Scottsdale, the Pinnacle Peak trail. It's nothing crazy, 2.1 miles end-to-end, but offers great views of the Valley. K had been wanting to hit the trail, so why not? Off we went.
K heading up towards the Peak.
Nice view of downtown through a saddle.
Huge boulders made for an interesting landscape.
K turned around at the one mile mark, I hoofed it for the full out-n-back.
Looking NE from the high point.
Great view of the Brown's Ranch landmarks: Cone, Brown, Cholla & Granite Mountains.

It was a fun hike to ring in October, even if it was still pretty hot!!

SoMo: Climb Day:

I wanted to mix up my normal South Mountain rides and do something different. I've been meaning to head over to Bajada trail, I had heard rumblings of some trail work a few months ago?? I also wanted to do the Alta trail climb. I figured I'd add in some more bonus climbing miles by starting with an up & over on Bursera trail, then finish the loop with a climb up Ranger. I wasn't sure how long this ride would take, but it would be tough.

The initial climb up Bursera was much more rugged than I had remembered. Perhaps it was simply more weathering of the trail, but I don't recall it being so loose. Not sure how I made this climb with only one dab a few years ago. I had plenty on this day.
Rogue west side connector trail.
Bajada was just how I remembered it, sucking. Time to climb Alta, see it meandering up the mountain?
It's really a fantastic climb and highly underrated IMO. The view at the top isn't half bad either.
The Voodoo was kind enough to pose for some snaps before the descent.
This shot came out really cool.
I guess my frame is Ocotillo green.
Time to point it downhill.
I made the grunt up Ranger and onto National just as the sun was setting..
Towers aglow in the fading light. I opted to skip a West National descent to the Gila Valley, instead I took the uber steep, but shorter Eliminator II trail down.
Nearing the Eliminator II split. Break out the lights.

I was able to pack in 3000' of climbing in under 15 miles. Good stuff.

Here's the flyover.

Break from the norm, mix it up, do new things. It's fun!!

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