Dec 26, 2010

The Bear ( El Oso Rd.)

I was in need of little fitness ride, and I wanted to do a little exploring in the Mazatzal Mountains. I was also inspired by a ride Maadjurguer did last spring. My goal one day, is to pedal from the traverse the Mazatzal's from the Beeline Highway to Roosevelt Lake (Bee to the Bear and Back).

I believe there are a few trails open to bicycles in the area (outside the wilderness), but I'm not sure what the condition these trails are in. Here's a link to the trails that are open to mountain bikes in the Tonto Basin. If I get some beta that these trails are in rideable condition (not overgrown), then maybe I'll check 'em out.

The Bottom of El Oso Rd - Highway 188:
Roosevelt Lake in the background:

Anycow, I started my pedal up El Oso Rd. here, at 8:30, and ended up at the Lone Pine Trailhead around 12:00. It really shouldn't take this long to get up to this turnaround point, but I took my time once I got up on top of the ridge. I was also pedaling my heavy bike today, which was also unnecessary, but its all I had available. Plus I had the idea that there was gonna be some chunk on this road. BTW, the armor I packed up to the top did serve a purpose; it kept me warm on the rip back down the hill.

I'd say temps were in the upper 40's to low 50's when I started my ride at the 2,200 foot level. I was pedaling in shorts and just a long sleeve shirt, but I certainly wasn't cold on the pedal up. Once I got up on top of the ridge, about 3,500 vf higher in elevation, the temps were probably about the same as when I started(Lone Pine T.H. sits at nearly 5,700 vf).

Sitting on top of the ridge:

obelisk top of the ridge (near the radio tower):

El Oso Rd. (the bear), had absolutely no gnar on it. It was probably smoother than half the roads in Mesa. It did have an occasional water rut/bar. The biggest obstacle of this road, was the steep, steep grade. Even this wasn't as bad, as I had expected. Every single inch of this route, I could pedal. I had been looking at this road on Google Earth and did a few searches, and I thought it was gonna be chunky and to steep to pedal in some sections. Boy, was I wrong.

Once I got up on top of the ridge I turned onto onto Pigeon Spring Rd and decided to check out the Pigeon Spring and Loan Pine Trail-heads. This 2 or 3 mile traverse across the ridge had a few sections of ups and downs, so there is some elevation change. Pretty nice views though.

The rip back down El Oso was a hoot. It took me 45 minutes to get to the bottom from Lone Pine T.H., but most of that time was spent traveling across the ridge back to El Oso road, and fixing a flat tire. This was the first flat I've had in prolly 2 years; time for some new tires. From the top of the ridge to the bottom (about 8 miles) in reality only took about 25 minutes.

The big rotors on my 'barcalounger' were kinda nice to have, as I flew down the mountain. Even though the gravel road was in excellent condition, it wasn't totally brainless riding. It was fast, and slipping on the crushed granite/cinder was keeping me tame. At the curves of the road, the inside edge had a really nice berm to roll through.

Not the most inspiring ride, but the speed rawked, the views were of the lake and surrounding peaks ruled, and it was all new to me. I'm looking forward to rolling this again.

Here is a short and dorky little vid:

Here's an interactive Google Earth Tour:

Dec 19, 2010

Warpain Foothills

So this morning I got up and wanted to get some trail time in, but I'm fighting off a little bit of a cold, so I wanted to keep it pretty easy and brief.

My plan was to play on the small foothills at the Warpaint entrance to South Mountain (these hills are found immediately at the entrance of Warpaint - a bit to the south).

I've climbed the foothills few times before, but generally ignore them because I'm usually out to pedal more XC oriented riding (Desert Classic). Sometimes though, I will pull out the heavy big travel bike for some rolling on DC and the Helipad, and will include the little loop that rips around on these hills.

The terrain up on these foothills have some established yet not recognized hiker trails, and the trail composition is loose-gravelly gnar on a steep fall line. Although it is a hike-a-bike to get up on top, I did find one primo line off the top that is actually pretty freaking schweet. If you click on the Google Earth Tour below, it is the loop in yellow, and the really fun line is the north section of trail (in yellow). The yellow line loop is exactly 1 mile, and as I was saying it is normally overlooked because of the nasty HAB.

I did a little exploring, but instead of doing the normally little hiker loop, I wanted to drop off the west end of foothill and and tie back into Desert Classic/Warpaint. There is a little bit of a rogue trail that doesn't get much use that I was able to connect to Desert Classic/Warpaintw with.

I'd like to know is how hard would it be to get Park Service at South Mountain to allow this section of trail to be established?

I suppose if these trail sections are on private property, then that would stop this discussion in its tracks right now. But it would be kinda kewl to have an established connector to the west between the foothill and Desert Classic/Warpaint.


Below is an interactive Google Earth Tour (you need to have Google Earth installed and the trail photos may take some time to load up), and after the tour plays you should be able to navigate around the area and click on the pics.

Here a couple pics of my small adventure:

Dec 12, 2010

Goat Camp

Did a little roll on out to Goat Camp with the boys.

The sun was out.

I broke a sweat.

OTB's happened.

No flats occurred.

Goat Camp (West of Phoenix) did not disappoint in white knuckle riding.

...and here are the results:

Dec 10, 2010

Javelina Trail - 12/9/10

A dood I went to high school with, who is living in CO, came into town, and we managed to get a short roll in on Javelina.

Here's a short vid:

Dec 4, 2010

Snowbowl PreSeason

I sauntered up to Snowbowl for a couple of preseason laps on the groomers.

My plan was to skin up from the bottom of Sunrise Chair which sits at 9,200 vf to the top of Agassiz Chair which tops out at 11,500. Heading up the groomers was easy except a couple the steeper slopes hadn't been groomed on my first trip up.

I ended up doing 2 laps, for a total of 4,600 vf. Turning around for the second lap was a test of will power. Ya see the snow was pretty horrid, it was nice that the cats had mashed down the snow on most of the runs, but it was far from groomed. Not that this what I was looking for, but early season conditions anywhere in the Kachina Peaks were gonna be pretty awful. Fresh snow on no base aint fun skiing.

Anycow, I had driving had I drive a ways to get to this snow, so I was gonna get some fitness in even if the turns kinda sucked. Not that I really do tele turns anyways, but today was strictly p-turning survival skiing.

Here is a little vid of the day:

And here is an interactive Google Earth Tour of the route (just click the play button and let it run out):

Nov 23, 2010

Inter-coastal Paddle - Stuart, Florida

Picture taken from Gilbert Bar at the House of Refuge:

Being in Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday had me yearning for some time on the water. So I did a little search for kayak rentals in Stuart, FL., and landed on a really, really good company.

Paradise Kayak Tours, LLC had a most excellent tour planned for the day on their schedule, and it involved paddling around the inter-coastal waters of the Stuart Causeway. I booked the tour online the day before. I selected a single sit on top kayak.

I met up with Mike from Paradise Kayak Tours at 9:00 at the SE end of the Ernest Lyons Bridge

I was his only client for the day, and the set plan was to circumnavigate the Stuart Causeway and hitting up a few of the islands along the way. The route was going to be between 10 and 13 miles and take about 5 hours. And lunch was provided. Pretty schweet deal for 78 clams.

We hit the water sticking to the eastern shore of the spit (Gilbert Bar) that separates the causeway from the Atlantic ocean. Our first pullout spot was the the historical House of Refuge. Pretty amazing this house had been here since 1876. The spit here is only a couple hundred feet wide at this section, so I trotted across the road to check out the ocean for a while.

Our next stop was on an island across from the Sailfish Point Marina. Then it was back in the boat, and we paddle out of the inlet (near the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean). I kinda wanted to head out to the ocean and considering my experience in the surf was, but it prolly wasn't the best idea in the little kayak I was paddling. Besides, I didn't want to be a liability for Mike.

We turned around, an headed back into the bay. We ended up arching around a couple of islands near the western shore of the causeway. We then settled on a white sandy beach for some lunch. Mike had an awesome sammiches, chips and sodas for us. Nom, nom, nom, nom...

The weather had been perfect all day, as the temps were in the upper 70's and the winds were pretty much nonexistent. The winds were expected to pick up in the afternoon, so after lunch , we looped another island and called it a day at that point. And as expected the winds started to pick up as we returned. We were off the water by 2:00.

I normally like doing these tours on my own, but Paradise Kayak Tours pretty much rawked. I would highly recommend this company.

Good stuff. The bad stuff is that I shot some really good video of the day, and actually cut and edited the footage, but I dropped my computer and lost pretty much everything including all the footage off my Gopro camera. That was the camera with all the good shots. Very frustrating and disappointing, cuz that video was awesome.

I did have a little bit of footage on my other camera, so I did put together a little bit of a video:

For this video I ended up using a new (to me) screen grab video recorder for the Google Earth Tour recorded video shot. Fraps pretty much rawks. I had been using Cam Studio and has worked very well, but after reinstalling Cam Studio after I got my computer up and running it just wasn't working right. Fraps is so nice for pulling the Google Earth Tour, because I no longer need to run the tour in ultra slow mode and then speed up the video file in my video editor. My old workflow with Cam Studio I needed to create a tour that would take about 20 minutes to play otherwise the clip would be really, really choppy.

Here's an interactive Google Earth tour of our Stuart Causeway:

Nov 11, 2010

Apache Lake - Alder Creek Wash (redux)

Last June, on hot Arizona summer day, I got up early and paddle down to Alder Creek on Apache Lake for a little exploration, so today I decided to do a little repeat of that adventure.
This time, I gotta sleep in a little bit later, so I didn't leave my house until 5:00. Two hours later I was parking at Crabtree Wash up at Apache Lake, and on the water by 7:30.

I had my eyes peeled as I scanned the north shore for big horn sheet, but I was denied any real wildlife this trip. Well except on my hike I stumbled up see a coati in a box canyon, but he bolted before I get my camera out.

Like past trips out on Apache Lake the morning winds were a little more than a gentle breeze, but it was blowing in the direction I was heading. As for the temps, it was probably about 45 degrees when I started paddling, as the sun was just coming up.

As I made my way down to Alder Creek Bay I heard exactly one boat, and he was behind me about 2 miles. So I pretty much had the west end of the lake to myself.

Once I got down to Alder Creek Bay, I noticed the lake level was down a slightly from my trip in June, and it kind of surprised me considering my October trip Canyon Lake had the highest water I had ever scene. The Apache Lake level was hardly noticeable, but it was down about a foot or two.

From Alder Creek Bay, I tucked my kayak away and grabbed my cameras and trekked up the creek bed, which soon transitioned into a box canyon. Really neat stuff. It didn't take long before I was up the creek high enough that the was actually water pooled up, and being fed by a spring.

I rambled up to the waterfall, and man is this a beautiful place.

I spent a lot of time filming the hiking portion of this trip, actually a little bit to much as I used up all my batter on my wide angle gopro camera. Drat! I wish I had enough battery for the waterfall, because the footage from my utter camera just can't capture the majesty of this place.

Once I came back down to my boat it was about 12:30, and it was very comfy out and the winds were done for the moment. So chowed down on some cold pizza and took a little mid trip siesta. After my nap, I noticed a few puffy white clouds were billowing over the cliffs above. No concern at that moment, but once I paddled out of Alder Creek Bay, into the main portion of the lake, I look back at where I had come from, and there were some big gray clouds quickly building on Four Peaks. Four Peaks, as the crow flies is about 7 miles away from the Alder Creek Bay. These clouds did concern me, 1) with a rain storm comes rain. Me getting wet isn't that big of deal, but considering my car was parked in a wash prone to flash floods was a little unnerving. 2) With a rain storm usually comes big winds. And about halfway back to the car the winds went from calm to really strong. Not only was it a headwind, but it was strong enough for white caps and chop. Drat. I hunkered down and paddle hard for about 45 minutes and kept looking over my shoulder for the storm, which was counter intuitive, considering the lake level winds were blowing from the east down the lake, but the peak level winds were blowing the clouds in from the north. I caught a few rain drops, but the storm was moving across from where I was a couple hours prior.

I got back to my car about 3:30 and felt secure no significant moisture was gonna land where I was at. Phew.

What a great day, and an adventure I look forward to repeating again, and again.

David Grayson said, "Adventure is not outside a man it is within."

Here is a little video of the day;

If you have the Google Earth on your computer, here is an interactive map of my tour route:

Nov 9, 2010


Nothing to see here, but I just wanted to note that Where the Streets Have No Name has had 20,000 visits since it was launched in June of 2007.

Well, I need to keep it real, so I also say that most of the those visits were from yours truly – heeheehee.

The number one search item that lands people on my site, are my Blue Ridge Reservoir trips.

I also get a number of visits from people linking from thanks, mtbikeaz!

Crossposting to MTBR and other forums have landed people here too.

I also must note that lotsa hits from people looking for info on Six Shooter trail and Pinal Mt. in Globe, AZ. Oddly enough the strangest misdirection to my site, are people searching for the faux picture of guy in Globe with a giant rattlesnake. I’ve got a couple posts of Haboobs (desert dust storms), and that gets an unruly visitor or two.

Thanks everybody for checking in!

And thanks everybody for putting with my atrocious writing. I rarely go back and proofread that stuff I kickout here. The purpose for this blog is for me to show a little video, and to have somereference links so I or somebody else can recreate the adventure. You wouldn’t believe how often I go back to post to find pinpointing location of a parking lot on a google map from a trip I’ve already have done.

Safe travels and no matter where you go, there you are.

Oct 30, 2010

National Coast to Coast to Coast - South Mountain.

Met up with TurtleGerl, Chongoman, Justin, and Troy (L. joined us for the roll up Mormon Loop) for a little Coast to Coast to Coast action on National.

We Split form Pima Canyon on out 25.5 mile tour de gnar a little before 7:00, and we finished up around 1:30. We skipped the last couple of flat/lowland miles of National - we took the road back up to Buena Vista.

Sure the pace was slow, but it was social riding and I was moving as fast as I could with my heavy bike.

With the bad also comes the good when pedaling such a heavy bike on National. The West of of the park isn't traveled as frequently, so the trail condition wouldn't be considered being 'buff'. The loose and rotten rock still was no match for my Giant Reign X.

Here's dorky little vid of the day:

Oct 17, 2010

Two Thumbs UP - Tom's Thumb x's 2 - McDowell Mountains (October, 16, 2010)

Yesterday I set out for a little solo ride up in the McDowell's promptly at 7:00 am from the Gateway Access Area trailhead.

My plan wasn't absolutely clear, because it depended on how ambitious I felt once I got up to Tom's Thumb.

With my heavy bike, it took me two hours to finally get to the pass at Tom's Thumb, but I felt good as I conserved my legs on the climb up. Since I wasn't absolutely destroyed, I decided to run down the North McDowell Access trail to see if I could find a connector to Pemberton Trail. If I was able to find Pemberton, I could make my way back into the lower east side trails I was already familiar with.

I bugged a couple of hikers who had climbed up the North McDowell trail to see if they new of a connector, but said it wasn't possible. I knew there had to be a way, but I just had to get a look of the terrain below and talk to the right person.

The ride down the North McDowell trail, was actually pretty fun. The recent heavy rains only inflicted minimal damage. The crushed granite cinder on the trail was slipper but fun. I was glad I had big phat tires and big rotors.

Once down at the bottom of hill, in the North McDowell Access Area, I could clearly see where I need to be (on Pemberton), but I just need to figure out the route to get there.

I bugged one more hiker in the lower lot, and he said that I am on the jeep road I need to be, and if I keep heading east down the road I find cow gate and a trail head. About 1.25 miles and slight change in directly I found the connector, and it was very intuitive.

The connector trail is Rock Knob trail and from the gate to Pemberton was less than 3/4 of a mile. It spat me out at the fun section of Pemberton. From here, I headed due south for less than 2.75 miles to Coachwhip Trail.

Once I was on Coachwhip I had to make a decision on what route to take back over the McDowell Mtn ridge to the Scottsdale side??? I still had some legs left and when I transitioned from Pemberton to Coachwhip, so I decided to do the totally unnecessary and painful hike-a-bike back up the East End Trail back up to Tom's Thumb. It was about 10:30 (about 3.5 hours into my little epic ride).

It took me another half hour to get to East End Trail after I pedaled Coachwhip to Windmill Trail.

The climb up East End Trail was miserable. It took me a solid hour of push my 37 lbs bike the 1.3 miles back up the steep-steep hill. The 7" fork put my handlebars at eye level, so I struggle to leverage the monster of bike up the hill.

East End Trail got hammered pretty hard by the rains, and it come away looking very good. A number of deep trenches down the middle of the trail would make riding down it not very fun. The steep and sharp swithbacks are ordinarily fun, but I don't think it would be all that entertaining with the new trenches.

Once on top I rested for while in the shade of the two leaning boulders. At 12:00 I hoped back on my bike and ripped down the Tom Thumb trail, and that was a hoot.

I got back to my car at 12:45, and was thoroughly fatigued.

I didn't GPS the route, but I'd estimate it at 22.5 miles and about 4,000 vf of climbing.

Here is a Google Earth interactive map tour I put together of my route:

Here is my blatant rip off of Maadjurguer Tom Thumb photo composition.

Sitting on the Pemberton Trail looking west at the Mcdowell Mtns.

Here are a couple trail marker signs:

And here is a big phat diamondback rattlesnake that gave me a few ticks with her tail as I rolled by.

Oct 11, 2010

Canyon Lake Paddle

My annual Columbus Day paddle was cut a little short due to an appointment I had to get back into town for.

I also had kind of an early start as I pulled out of my driveway at 5:00 am and was at the Palo Verde boat ramp at 6:00. 15 minutes later and after I parked my car up in the upper lot (trailerless cars have recently been ticketed in the Palo Verde lot for parking in the trailer area) I was paddling on a serene lake.

I took my time shooting video and dinking around with new camera mounts, so my mileage wasn't all that high. I did manage to get up to Crucifix Canyon before the turnaround clock gave me signal it was time to head back. This little inlet has got to be one of my all time favorite spots I've ever been to.

With a slight wind at my back I paddled from Crucifix Canyon back to the car in 45 minutes, and I was off the water by 11:15.

Here is a little video I shot (drat! I just noticed I have 2011 as the yeaar):

Desert Classic Gnarcissism

I spent some time putting a little video of my riding around South Mountain. Please excuse the vanity shots, as I tried to make it as interesting as possible.

Oct 2, 2010

Gopro HD 360 View

Here is a little vid of a little 360 view I did with the Gopro HD cam:

And here is a little panoramic sunset time lapse. The clouds are chased out of the desert.

Sep 19, 2010


Here's a little scorcher of a ride in Sedona:

Sep 5, 2010

Sunrise 9/04/10

Another day at Sunrise, and it was a blast.

We had a huge group up there ripping the trails.

AZMikey and met up at DurtGurl's house and split PHX around 6:00, and rolled into the Sunrise Resort about 10:00.

This time we went up through Globe and the Salt River Canyon, and I find this route a little more scenic. But since I was driving, the scenery was a blur.

The trails were nice an tacky, but riding in such a big group led so a few more pile ups compared to last weekend. I fell of the 'log rolls' two times in a row, and pretty much wrote that feature off for the day. I was trying to do it faster, but this led to me eating it a couple times.

At the very beginning of Sticks and Stones, a fellow rider to a spill, and I ended up bailing myself. But where I went down, I landed on a some bee's and ended up getting stung twice. I didn't stick around to see if I landed on a nest or what???

Mental Note #73: I kinda like taking the little bypass route around Pine Top/ Show Low by taking the 77. It may be a tad bit more mileage, but was way more scenic and a lot less traffic.

Great day!

Here is a little vid of the day:

Aug 28, 2010

Sunrise Park Resort: Greer, AZ

SurfnDav met up at his house at 6:00 am and split from there via the Payson route for a little downhilling at Sunrise Park Resort.

I'm not sure what took us so long, as traffic was pretty mild, but we didn't get to the Sunrise Parking Lot till about 10:00. It was nice to be back in comfy temps again. A few puffy clouds were floating by, as threw on the armor and crash helmets. The lift tickets for a the day were still $20, which is pretty much a bargain in my opinion.

The trails were in super great shape, it didn't take us long to figure out that Chutes and Ladders was pretty much our favorite run of the day.

I was riding my Kona Stinky, and the travel was sufficient for these trails, but the handling (weight and brakes) were a struggle all day. I was reluctant to roll the really big boulders and drops with this thing, cuz once it starts toppling over, it is hard to stop. It is that heavy.

We didn't beat ourselves up to much, and managed to get 6 laps in.

Our last run, we had short rain shower that made the trails tackicious.

Great day up there. We each had a couple small spills, but not carnage and no painful landings.

Here is a link to my last trip to up there: Sunrise 2009

Here is a short vid of the day:

Here is another video of just helmet cam footage:

And here is a higher quality (Quicktime) version (note: it will take a few minutes to download):

Aug 15, 2010

Goat Cirque - Mt Rainier

Big Brotha Steve and I split from his house near Olympia, around 5:30 and ended up to the Summerland Trailhead inside Mt. Rainier National Park a little after 7:00. We also picked up our backcountry overnight permits at the park entrance. Parking is at a premium, hence an early start.

There we met up with Kurt and Matt. Eric joined us around dinner time up at our bivy spot.

Our beginning elevation was about 3,600 vf, and I think the approach to Summerland was about 4.5 miles. The elevation at Summerland was about 5,800 vf, and the snowfield we marched up into Goat Cirque was about half mile up the trail from Summerland.

We marched up to the top of Goat Cirque, but avoided the steep headwalls. We had a primo bivy site, that sat around 7,000 vf. We arrived at our bivy site around 1:30, and it was pretty comfy and sunny. Here, we drank some beers, and just enjoyed the scenery.
Itching to get some turns I strapped on the skis for couple before dinner runs on the short patch of snow near out site.

From here we just waited for the sun to go down, and have the meteors rain down on us. I woke up several times during the night and each time I fixed my gaze on the shooting stars ripping across the clear and star speckled sky.

I'd say that I packed exactly the right amount of food and clothing for this trip, but still my pack remained light. And even when I woke up in the morning I wasn't cold.

We all pretty much rolled out of bivy sacks around 7:00 were marching up the Frying Pan Glacier at around 8:30. The 2,100 vf climb up the glacier to Whitman Crest (9,100 vf) was easy, and only took about an hour and a half.

The five us kicked it on the prow for about an hour, while we gazed the massiveness of Mt. Rainier and all the points of interest. Lil Tahoma sat immediately in front of us, and across the glacier (miles away), we could see climbers returning from summit climbs back to camp muir, Sherman Camp wasn't far away either. The panoramic view was one off the most terrific sights ever scene.

We strapped the skis on, and ripped down the Frying Pan Glacier, and then back to our camp to grab our overnight gear for the our return back down the mountain.

What an amazing trip, and I truly miss this mountain.

Here's a vid of the weekend:

And here is a high res version:

If you happen to have Google Earth, here is a link to interactive tour of our trip (once the link is open, hit the "Play Tour" button on the upper right hand side):

Here are a few pics:

Big Brotha Steve at Summerland with Rainier in the background:

Kurt at Summerland with Rainier in the background:

Me at Summerland with Rainier in the background:

Climbing Goat Cirque:

Chilling at the bivouac:

Panaromic view at dusk:

Perched at Whitman Crest:

Woodard Bay - Puget Sound: Olympia, WA 08/13/10

I flew up to Olympia from the desert, and I headed out to Boston Harbor for little paddle out on Puget Sound. I made a reservation a couple days before for the Eddyline Fathom kayak, by calling the number on the Boston Harbor Marina website. I got to the marina a little before they opened at 8:00 am, and did a full day boat rental.

My plans were to paddle NE out of Boston Harbor and ride the tide out of Dana Passage to Henderson Inlet then paddle into Henderson to Woodard Bay. I timed the tides just right, as high tide was at 8:30 am, just as I was heading out. And then I killed enough time in Woodard Bay to let the tide ebb, and then slack reverse to push me back to Boston Harbor. Low tide was about 2:45, which means I had plenty of time to take it all in at Woodard Bay.

My first stop on my way out was Fishtrap Loop, as I wanted to hit this up before the bay emptied. The water out at in Dana Passage was calm, when I left, but this little cove in Fishtrap was even more peaceful.

I continued on with my journey, and Dana Passage was in full on flood mode, and aided me as it pushed me out. The rip tides were actually pretty mellow; double bonus.

Once I approached Henderson Inlet, the temp change was creating rather breezy conditions. No worries though, as breeze actually worked for me; itt pushed me into the inlet which had tide I was slightly bucking against. The chop in the water built up a bit, but the Eddyline Fathom, took it very well.

As I approached the long train pier used to bring logs out to the ships back in the day, I could see plenty of seals sunning themselves on the log booms. I tried to keep my distance, so I wouldn't disturb 'em.

I really took my time getting to the facilities of the Woodard Bay Natural Resource Conservation Area. Here is Wikipedia description of the area: Woodard Bay Natural Resource Conservation Area.

I ate lunch napped for a little bit on the bench of the picnic table located on the Chapman Bay side (northern bay of the conservation area). This was very peaceful, and necessary as I was exhausted from a very late night flight into Washington from Arizona, and I wanted to kill some time, as I waited for the tide to change.

Rested and fed, I jumped back into the boat and headed around the spit of land, where the massive train trestle crossing over Woodard Bay came into view. I picked my line and stuck to it as paddled my boat through the pylons of the trestle. Once I passed under the bridge, a big phat bald eagle came into view of the atop big fir tree located on the western shore of the bay.

I paddled up to the bridge where Woodard Bay Rd passes over. The water was still flowing out, especially under the bridge. This is where I turned around. The was midway point, which was about 7.5 miles from Boston Harbor Marina.

I dinked around the bay for a little bit, and decided that I had killed enough time that I would finish the last little ebbing tide of Henderson Inlet, and by the time I got back out to Dana Passage it the tide would be slacking and changing into my direction.

I don't recall exactly what time I got back to the marina, but it was a little after 3:00. I really moved at a snails pace, but my paddling was less than strenuous as I road the tide in and out of the bay.

I was great to be back on Puget Sound again. Here is a link to my last paddle on Puget Sound - Hope Island

And here is a vid of the day:

And here is a higher quality (Quicktime) version (note: it will take a few minutes to download):

If you happen to have Google Earth, here is a link to interactive tour of my trip

Here are a few pics:

View from Boston Harbor Marina:

Eddyline Fathom sitting in Fishtrap:

Dana Passage:

Pylon's of Henderson Inlet:

Aug 7, 2010

Geronimo - South Mountain: Phoenix, AZ

Today was Chongoman's Annual roaster ride, and guess what? The weather was actually tolerable. The were a few thunder clouds floating around the valley as we met at 5:30 am at Chongoman's house. I saw a couple of flashes of lightening, up on the hill, but it looked like things were moving off.

It was dry where were at in but as we started climbing up Javelina trail, I counted 23 raindrops, and that was it. We were left with big phat cool clouds.

Once we had climbed up to the resting spot on Mormon Loop trail, we could see a ferociously dark cloud dumping big time on the sky scrapers of downtown Phoenix, but we could see this storm moving away from where were at. Spared!

The 18 or so of us made it up to Buena Vista lot, and prepped ourselves for a most delicious drop down Geronimo trail. The torrential monsoon rains were not kind to the trail, as it left it a little rutted and chunky. Was it fun? SURE WAS!

Aug 1, 2010

National - South Mountain: Phoenix, AZ

Did another ride another ride SoMo today with a crew of MTBR riders. The temps have dropped, and the cloud cover was a savior, but the humidity was OH-pressive.

Pretty nice crew this morning. You can read about how this ride materialized, wrapped up here MTBR Thread.

Here is a little vid of the day with a very special ending:

Jul 17, 2010

National - South Mountain: Phoenix, AZ

Did a little sufferfest ride up Javelina then Mormon Loop then National to the pass, then back down National and Javelina.

ETSX Rider was in town visiting his folks, and we met up with BrettN and Chongoman at the Javelina Trailhead. It was about 6:15 when we hit the trail, and although the cloud layer provided some protection from the sun, it was miserably hot and humid.

We moved pretty dang slow, but it was nice social ride pace.

No carnage or mishaps.

Here is a little vid of the day:

And here is a higher quality (Quicktime) version (note: it will take a few minutes to download):

Jun 25, 2010

Apache Lake/ Alder Creek Wash/Brown's Cave

I took a mental health day yesterday, but in Phoenix this time of year you need to get up at an insane hour to get some outdoor play time in.

I got up at 3:30 am and was on the road at 3:45, as I had my kayak stuff all loaded up the night before. My plan was to drive up to Apache Lake (two hours away from my house in Phoenix) and do little paddling and hiking exploration.

I was on the water at 6:00 am, and the temps weren't all that cool. Perhaps the temperature was 80 degrees, but it was fairly gusty. Luckily the wind was gonna be blowing me in the direction I wanted to go, and my hopes were that as the temperatures climbed and settled that the winds would die down for my return trip. And they did.

After reading about this trip report about Brown's Cave, I decided to see if I could duplicate this adventure. Instead of heading staying on the south shore of the lake, I darted across the lake to the north shore, anticipating that I'd might catch a glimpse of some Big Horn Sheep, and I was rewarded almost immediately. Directly across the lake form Crabtree Wash, where I put in, and down about a half mile, I spotted a single sheep way, way up on the bluffs. The cliffs I was paddling under were very tall and steep, so the sheep got out view very quickly. I continued west on down the north shore, and about 2 miles down the lake I spotted another big group of sheep between Ash Creek Bay and Alder Creek. They're were several up pretty high, but then I notice one a couple hundred feet above me. The horns weren't very big on these sheep, and there were a number kids running with this flock, so I suppose the bigger ones were all ewes. I believe the rams and ewes run in separate crews until mating season. Although the I didn't get a very good view of the horns on the first one, it was very big animal, and very well might have been a ram. I am easily amused, so I thought this was pretty kewl. I think I know what to spot these animals now. In the future I will look for isolated cliffs, that will offer the flock some habitat protection, and then I will scan the the hillside for a big white hiney moving about.

At 8:00 I arrived at Alder Creek Bay, it shouldn't have really taken that long, but I took my time and shot a bunch of video.

From there I tucked my kayak way, and started walking up the dry creek bed. I was kinda creaped out because a rattlesnake could very well be hiding behind each and every rock, but I didn't see one on my entire hike. Phew!

According to the Brown's Cave trip report I alluded to earlier, I need to head up the wash and about .5 miles I would run into a waterfall. Although the wash started off dry, about .1 mile up from the lake there was actually water coming down, and the amount water coming down the creek built up in volume as I climbed up the wash. I was actually surprised to see water, considering it has been a very, very long time since we've had significant rain. The wide and dry river rock turned into really, really kewl box canyon that had narrow rock walls. Very scenic and confining.

I made it up to the waterfall,and I was rather impressed. You can actually go behind the waterfall. Neato!

I ended up finding a rope to the west (left hand side) of the water fall that I used to climb up to the top. I continued up the creek and followed the rock cairns, which were kinda helpful as the was splits into two about .1 mile past the water fall. Stick to the left. The instructions I had said the cave was about .3 mile past the waterfall, and I found the barbed wire fence on the east side (right hand side) of the creek bed. And as mentioned, it really isn't a cave, but more of an overhang.

The hike up took me couple hours, as I took my time to carefully climb up the boulders and shoot some video. Coming down took me about 45 minutes. I ended up gaining 400 to 500 vf of elevation above the lake. The lake sits at about 1,900 vf and some of the surrounding peaks are as high as 4,000 vf. And the nearby Four Peaks, climb as high as 7,600 feet.

I got back to my boat, and ate some lunch before paddling the 5 miles back to my car. It was pretty hot, but not entirely miserable. When I actually pulled back into parking lot, it was 1:00 and was well over 100 degrees.

Very fun adventure.

If you have the Google Earth on your computer, here is an interactive map of my tour route: Apache Lake/Alder Creek Wash

Here's a vid of the day:

And here is a higher quality (Quicktime) version (note: it will take a few minutes to download):

If you have the Google Earth on your computer, here is an interactive map of my tour route: