Before I came to Arizona two years ago, there was an annual event in the White Mountains, called The Fat Tire Festival. Whelp, this year a collection of riders from Phoenix, Colorado, and Eagar, AZ, got together for few rides. This event was dubbed the "Not The Fat Tire Festival", and we got some schweet riding in, some good food in, some good conversation in, and some great views in.
The dealio started off officially with on Friday (8/22/08) with a night ride of Murray Basin. I got a late start, and I actually passed the group blazing back into town with their headlamps on as I was rolling into town about 10:30.
I found my camp spot at the South Fork Campground
, which was about 15 minutes from town. It actually worked out really good, cuz it the first ride we did spits you out right into the campground.
I woke up around 7:00 on Saturday morning (08/23/08), and I was actually chilly. Not freezing or anything miserable, but it's been a while since I been in temperatures around 60 degrees. I pedal outta the campground about 8:20, and met up with Paul B. and everybody for the shuttle at the intersection of 260 and 261. From there, we headed up 261 to Mexican Hay Lake Trail head about 8 miles up the road. At around 9,000 vf, we had a tremendous view of the valley below. I was really amazed at the high plains the part of Apache country has. We headed out headed out across the highway to trail for some very kewl riding. Although we shuttled up the trail, we actually still need to pick up a few hundred more feet of elevation before our descent down to South Fork trail. The trail was a blast, especially the last two miles into the campground. As the trail hugs the Little Colorado River (although its more of creek.
After chilling at Rhys house in Eagar, we gathered the steeds again and headed back up 261. We could see the gray storm clouds quickly gather, and once we got up to the high plateau, we new our original plan was in jeopardy as the storm was sitting right on top of Indian Springs. So we opted outta the Indian Springs plan, and decided to head back down to the valley and ride the Murray Basin trail. Which is an eight mile cross country route. I gotta say I didn't think it was gonna be all that exciting, but it turned into really, really enjoyable ride.
We knocked off the trail about 6:30, and headed back into town. We kicked it at Rhys house for a little bit, before rolling on up to Billy's amazing new custom home. Dood, this place was really, really kewl. It sat on top of small hill, where it had 360 degrees of amazing views; encompassing all the other much bigger mountains around. Bringing our own protein we took turns cooking on the grill. I rolled back to my campsite, and quickly conked out.
After a great night of rest, I split outta the campground and meet up with Paul B. and Dave. Out plan was to head up to Los Burros trailhead a little before the group to do a little scouting on another section of 4 Springs (aka: 5 gates) that was recently re-routed.
We knocked outta couple of miles, and then returned back to meet up with the group. The route of Los Burros we rode was about 15 or 16 miles. This trail was a freaking hoot. It had a little bit of climbing, but for some reason I got the feeling even though it was loop, that we had a bigger payoff on the downhill than we paid for.
My first trip to the White Mountains was awesome, but I did have one bummer. After everybody except Dale and Sonia had left the traihead, I notice I had a flat tire. And to really things worse, it was on just outside of the tread, so it was deemed unrepairable. Boo Hiss! Thanks To Dale for Sonia, for assisting me with the tire, and guiding me back into the Walmart in Pine Top. Say what you will about Walmart, I really dig that you can get something like a tire change on a Sunday there.
I can't wait until next years full on Fat Tire Festival.
Here are a few vids:
Ride 1)South Fork Shuttle
High Res Version can be found here: High Res South Fork
Ride 2)Murray Basin Loop
High Res Version can be found here: High Burros Murray Basin
Ride 3)Los Burros Loop
High Res Version can be found here: High Res Los Burros Loop