December 6, 2018

Hawes: New Dirt

I still had some time after our ride was cut short near Sunflower. The day before, there was a huge turnout for a new trail build in the Hawes trail system. It's the first in a series of sanctioned work events approved by the Tonto National Forest. I couldn't make the event due to the Pleasantville ride, but wanted to see what was accomplished. I heard about 70 volunteers showed up.
The new trail, Scorpion, was easy to find off the east end of Wild Horse.
I wanted to ride the trail non-stop to see how it flowed. It is two miles of mostly gradual downhill riding. The trail twists & turns for the most part, berms were put on many turns and a few small jumps thrown in for good measure. It was easy to see how passionate our fellow riders are, lots of work went into the construction.
On my way back up Scorpion, my legs began to feel the effects from the prior day's ride. Those two miles uphill were a grind. I need to come back on fresh legs and give it a go. It's a nice addition to the system and will be fun to see how it rolls once it's packed in a bit more.
Great views of Red Mountain abound on this side of Hawes.

I then took a turn on to Wild Horse trail and saw...yep, Wild Horses!!

Time to turn it around.

High Horse is quickly becoming one of my favorite trails.
High Horse roughly parallels Wild Horse, but a bit higher into the foothills. The climbing grades aren't too steep and the trail winds around some rock features that aren't found on Wild Horse. It was my first time on it in a while and I was surprised how well it withstood the rains from October. It's a really well built trail.

A couple days later the weather wasn't looking too promising, but that meant there could be hero dirt at Hawes. My friend, Jennifer, had posted a ride earlier in the week on a route I didn't recognize on the front side of the mountain. She was game to give me a quick tour after work and we both were hoping for a little rain as the new routing was a bit loose. I packed all my rain gear, but in the end didn't need it and the trail rode fine.

I'll just say that this trail is some work to get to and a fun challenge descending. It's not super secret, but it's not widely known either. I'll leave it that way.
Near the top under brooding skies.


About 1/2 way down the trail cuts through this small pass. Peace out.
We finished our short loop as darkness fell. It'll be a regular addition to my rides going forward. Go explore, you may find yourself on it.

A few weeks later a second trailwork day was announced. I was able to make it this time around. We'd be constructing a spur trail off the new Scorpion trail called Scorpion Alley. Another good turnout gathered in spite of the close proximity to the holidays and the new trail was scratched out in a couple of hours.
The Wild Horses came by to check things out.

We'd all take turns working on sections of dirt.
We met the goal of the day with time to spare, so we continued west to begin work on a more technical trail - Stinger Loop. What ensued was pure genius. There were old car parts lying around, a vintage Beetle. The roof was wrangled up and anchored atop a rock outcropping tucked between two Palo Verde trees. The Beetle Roof feature was born!!
Igor gets first dibs on Beetle Roof!!

It looks like the entire car is buried!!
A few days ago the east side of the Stinger Loop officially opened. The north side of Hawes now has a few legitimate looping options for rides. Go check it out and lend a hand in the new build efforts as they are scheduled. 

The newly formed Hawes Trails Alliance has established a good working relationship with the Tonto NF along with other locals who have gone through their volunteer training program. Good things are happening in the east valley. I'm excited to see how the upcoming year unfolds.

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