November 22, 2017

Goldfields: Slice O Heaven

Evan was in town for the week of Thanksgiving and looking to do a series of rides. I had some extra days to get out so we planned to meet up. He wanted to check out the Goldfield Mtns. after seeing my post back in May. Now that it was much cooler, I too was eager to get back out there. There's so much more terrain to explore.

The Goldfield Mtns. are not a trail system. No buffed out singletrack here. Rather, it's a series of primitive singletrack routes most likely created by equestrians. There's also a maze of jeep roads throughout the hills, that for the most part, ride fairly well. Couple all that with a few connector washes, rugged terrain and encroaching vegetation, you're bound to a slow paced ride. Sounded perfect to us.

We'd start out doing the route I began back in May, but had to turn around due to time constraints.
Our first bit of singletrack, leaving the Superstition Mtns. behind.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood was a complete shitshow. It appeared to sustain damage due to high water during this year's lackluster monsoon season. Large cacti were uprooted and much more sand than in May.

We were in hike-a-bike, HAB, mode for most of this trail.

Nearing the end of Frankie, we ride.
A short spin on jeep road brought us to Horse With No Name. There's a 10 minute HAB for the price of admission to this playground. Worth it? You decide.
Evan pedals a brief moment on the way up.

Four Peaks comes into view as the playground opens up.

Time to play!!

Weaver's Needle & Superstition Mtns. frame the climb.

Traction for days.

Evan had his GoPro, so a couple laps were in order.

Down the hatch.

So many alt lines in this area.

Most of the climb is rideable, perhaps all of it?? There are a couple uber steep spots.

Looking over the top.

The perfect confluence of rugged and freeride.

Let's see what the rest of the trail has in store.
There are a few steep, loose descents to contend with before returning to primitive singletrack that winds through the desert scrub. The trail was fairly obvious to follow. One thing that seems to be a constant in the Goldfields is that the continuous riding is very limited. Lots of on/off/on again riding. You've been warned.
Dropping off the freeride area.

A bunch of the trail simply needs a brushing of loose rock.

There's fine singletrack out there too, in doses.

Some small rock features to mess around on.

Plenty of cholla to keep things interesting.


Beautiful Saguaro forest.

It looks so fuzzy!!
I started to ride ahead for a photo op, Scott Morris style. You know, fist pump skyward. It went well...until my front tire hit some soft sand and my weight shifted forward!! I missed grabbing the bars with my right hand on the first try...and the I continued to sink in the sand and lurch forward. Ruh-roh. Bars crossed up and down goes Johnny. Smooth. I'm still waiting to see Evan's animated .gif of the wreck. The still shots were hilarious.
Flat trails are hard. Photo by Evan.
Shortly after my mishap, Horse With No Name dumped us out to Cottonwood Wash. It's a 99% HAB wash at this point. Deep gravel, large boulders, but incredible surroundings!! We did find another small freeride area to sample before slogging over a mile to the next trail.
Cottonwood Wash.

Found this alcove above the wash for a quick diversion.

Back to the HAB!!

Slow going through here.

Slow was fine with us though.

Whoa!?! What do we have here??
Yep, our HAB through Cottonwood Wash paid dividends as we turned onto Slice O Heaven trail. As we found out, it was aptly named. There were hardly any HAB bits. I'll be back for more of this one.

A little slice O Golden Hour too.

Willow Springs Tank trail rode well in a SE direction.

Back at the vehicles as light fades over the Superstitions.
There's still plenty more to explore in the Goldfields. Due to the nature of the terrain and trails out there, it may be best to go with another person. We never saw anyone on our ride (7 hours) and I doubt it gets a ton of traffic anyway.

I hope to find a viable loop for Slice O Heaven, thus avoiding the Cottonwood Wash section. Time will tell.


No comments:

Post a Comment