February 8, 2019

Friday Twofer: Goldfield Mtns + Hawes

The desert has sprung to life, moreso this year after consistent rains. That means the grabby vegetation is everywhere, especially the trails that don't see a ton of traffic. I needed to get out and clean up the trail corridor through the Goldfield Mtns. for the upcoming Queen's Ransom bikepack and for any hearty souls who tackle the Four Peaks options during the AZTR750 in April.

I recently met Mike after the AZT Jamboree last month and he was more than willing to lend a hand. I took him up on his offer and we met in the shadows of the Superstition Mtns. at the east end of the route. This would be Mike's first time riding here and it's always interesting to bring newcomers to the Goldfield's ruggedness. It takes a specific kind of mountain biker to truly appreciate what is offered out here. Buff singletrack aficionados need not apply.
Mike dives into the goods.

Of course the Goldfields have hike-a-bike. Duh.
 We made relatively quick work of the trimming. There were a few sections of excessive loose rock areas, which we did our best to clean up. Hopefully this portion of the route rides better now.

We exited the singletrack portion of the routes and made our way deep into the Goldfields. I wanted to show Mike two of the main areas: Horse With No Name & Slice O Heaven.
Land of Lichen.

Not only were there plenty of water pools, but the water was actually flowing!!
I gave the lichen covered rock a solid effort, but it proved too steep. Photo by Mike.
Mike gives the upper portion a whirl.
Distant view of Weaver's Needle & the Superstition Mountains. Photo by Mike.
Up top, I was surprised to see a small trickle of water.

Mike descends the backside of Horse With No Name.
I decided to cut the far west end of Horse With No Name out due to time, so we did some boulder hopping until we re-connected with the last bit of trail.
Mike's shoes had seen better days.
We fumbled our way over to Cottonwood Wash. In spite of it's chunkiness, it was much more rideable than last time. Photo by Mike.
Mike picking and prodding a rideable line.

Taking a moment to soak in the scenery. Photo by Mike.
We bounced our way over to Slice O Heaven where we encountered two groups of horseback riders. Each was surprised to see us out here.
Horsey folk.
What's not to love out here?? Photo by Mike.
Trailside water tanks.
This is probably the signature view along Slice O Heaven. Photo by Mike.
Mike crests the climb on a clean run.

Momentum is your friend on terrain like this.

The Superstition Mountains dominate our view on the ride back.
It was a really fun route and a bit more rideable overall than my last visit. I guess timing is everything. Thanks for coming out, Mike, let's do it again real soon.

I still needed to get some training specific miles in. I grabbed a quick lunch and briefly thought about heading over to Mt. Ord for some climbing drills, but it was getting late in the afternoon. I opted for the new trails at Hawes. Scorpion trail is a steady 2 mile climb and gives a good workout.

I completed a lap and wasn't really feeling too great, borderline wonky. Then I heard the distinct sound of horses...wild horses!! Seems as though they followed me down Scorpion trail and were looking to cross the highway, but I was in the way.  I scooted over a bit and sure enough a couple minutes later they all galloped by. Very cool.
Checking me out.

Returning the favor.

It was almost like they've done this a few times.

Heading towards the Salt River.

I opted to check out the newly minted Stinger Loop before sunset.
This new trail is sure to become a local favorite. It has really nice routing using the topography, splits between two giant Saguaros, has a few jumps built into natural features and has plenty of speed in sections. Well done, trailbuilders, well done.

Tough to beat the sunsets in these parts.
It was a quick ride, not exactly what I had planned, but I made the most of what my body was up for.


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