We split from Waddell at about 7:45 and being the beginning a May, in the desert, it was already warm. We were on the trail about a minute before the comments of how warm it was already started flying.
The first half mile has pretty substantial hike-a-bike section, that on return qualifies a downright gnarly. After that, it is pretty sanitized trail that gains loads of elevation over about 9 miles.
Some of the highlights of this trail are that it has a 45 minute climb at the beginning, then a little bit of downhill that provides a nice relief, then it has nice flat to gentle climb for another 15 minutes, and then its onto another hour and half of climbing. There is nice grotto at the midway point that has a rare to see in the desert pool of water in it. Chongoman was the first of group the head back to the oasis for a look, and he spotted a really big Great Horned Owl perched on the cliff. It split before the rest of us got the grotto. Su Ling and I were about 10 minutes from the turn around point, when we spotted Black-tailed Rattlesnake stretched across the trail. He was about 2 and half feet long. We didn’t wanna harass the rattler, but we did encourage him to move along.
The five cross country riders gathered up at the turn around point, before enjoying the sweeeet, sweeeet single track return. It was a hoot. Fast and swoopy is what this trail is all about. A few technical spots, but all in all pretty tame (other than the bottom).
The heat didn’t end up being to big of a problem, but the bugs were out in full force.
Here's a vid of the day: