December 31, 2023

Goodnight 2023 Campout

 For the second year in-a-row presented a year-end challenge to get out on a local overnight ride. Last year we had a fun crew do a short bikepack ride on the Hawes trails with the intent to get riders new to bikepacking out there. We didn't get any first timers last year, but had a few who were new to the bikepacking scene.

This year Heidi and Kara reached out to see if I wanted to join again, but this time we'd promote it a bit more to lure those on the sidelines to join in the fun. We had some interest as they posted about it in a local women's mountain biking group. I had a few of them over to my place to borrow gear and make sure it all fit. One girl, Shelly, ended up being my wife's co-worker, but hadn't realized it until we were introduced. Small world.

I slightly tweaked the route from last year to cut off some paved riding in favor of singletrack, but otherwise the route was the same. We'd stage from the west side of Hawes, then camp on the east side just beyond the Usery Park boundary. The first day was only 10 miles or so, the second about 17. I opted to ride from home.

We planned our ride for the night of Dec. 30th, so if anyone wanted to do any New Year's Eve festivities, they still could.

I still hadn't fixed my geared bike, so I put my bikepacking gear on the 'ol Voodoo, trying my first bikepacking ride on a singlespeed.

32x20 gearing.

Some greenbelt riding at the beginning.

Crossing under Germann Rd.

Picking up dinner for the night at the Burrito Shack. *Note: So glad I stopped here, a few weeks later the building was condemned. Hoping for a quick return of the Burrito Shack!!

Crew of 12: 7 ladies, 5 guys with 3 first-timers!!

Yoko is all smiles!! Photo by Jeff.

We stopped often to re-group, leave no one behind. Photo by Gary.

Gary leads it out.


Garett, one of our first-timers.

Kathleen, made some of her own bags.

Shelly, another first-timer.

Bev, aka: Bevinator.

Kara, co-organizer.


Heide, our third first-timer.


Heidi, co-organizer.

Red Mountain always provides a great backdrop.

It's like riding into a postcard.

Re-group as we make our way through the Hawes trails.
It ended up being quite warm during the afternoon, maybe reaching 80ยบ. Yoko wasn't feeling so great and decided to head out. Heide opted to ride with her to be sure she got out ok.

Spectacular view of Four Peaks as we rode through the Hawes trails. Photo by Gary.

Karen joins the mix for a bit.

Our home for the night below Pass Mtn.

Some of the different camp setups. Photo by Gary.

Fiery glow of sunset. Photo by Kara.

My cowboy camping setup. Photo by Gary.

Shelly trying out my one person tent. Winner. Photo by Gary.

Time to break out the marshmallows!!

I think this was the unanimous favorite photo from the ride. It was featured in the Goodnight 2023 Campout story on!! Photo by Jeff.

Rise and shine!!
We had a short climb to begin the day, get the blood pumping and heart rate elevated. That'll wake you up!! We were now at the top of Rattler trail with about a 1000' descent on deck. Yeehaw!!

Kara reaches the top of Rattler, ready to turn around for the fun downhill.

I found a good, sunny berm on lower Scorpion trail for a few good pics.

I was a bit surprised to see a group of horses going up Scorpion trial, but thankfully I saw them well ahead of time to slow down. Photo by Gary.

Yours truly wrapping up Scorpion trail. Photo by Heidi.

Random bones along Bush Lite East. Photo by Gary.

This is what it's all about. Photo by Heidi.

Bush Lite East meets West.

A little road riding.

Back on the trails to finish the Hawes portion.

Be careful out there, lots of spikey bits are after ya!!

Garett rocking the drop bars. Photo by Jeff.

Nice to have a tool work stand out on the trails. Photo by Gary.

Regroup at the HAWES logs. Photo by Heidi.

Grind up that climb!! Photo by Jeff.

Home stretch!! Photo by Gary.
Afterwards, a few of us heading out for some lunch and shared thoughts on the ride. It was so great to see the new folks really enjoying the different way to travel by bike. I think they're hooked.

I still had to ride 20 miles or so home...
Thankfully, the Phoenix area has a vast network of canals, no need to fight traffic to cross town.

I cut through the Mesa-Gateway Airport.

Doppler radar nearby.
My route:
Strava link.