Nov 28, 2009

Six Shooter - Pinal Mt. - Globe, AZ

I needed a long grind, and I knew exactly where to find it, Pinal Mt.

I've done several posts already on this ride: Six Shooter Trip Reports, so I won't spend a bunch a time rehashing the maps and stats.

I started pedaling up the road at 7:40 and 3 hours and 15 minutes later I was at the top of Six Shooter Canyon Trail. It was boring and painful, but I didn't bonk so its all good. I've done it faster, but this time I pedaled my Giant Reign X up. This thing pedals great, but it weighs in at 37 lbs. It is slow a fatiguing.

It was overcast when I started, and really windy up on top, but when I blasted out of the the trees near the bottom the skies were blue. When I looked back up on the hill I could see some ominous clouds building.

Here's a vid of the ride:

Nov 11, 2009

Apache Lake - Tonto National Forest

In observance of Veterans Day, I wanted to get out some paddling in. I also wanted a lake I hadn't been on yet, so I asked for some suggestions, and the replies were to head to Apache Lake. I was a little concerned about the drive, more specifically the road to get there. The road was pretty much a none issue, as The Apache Trail was in great condition and actually provided spectacular views. Of course I wasn't seeing much when I hit the unpaved portion of the road at 6:00 am; it was still dark out.

I got the the Apache Lake Recreation Area at about 7:00. It was kinda smokey and hazy out, word is Mt. Ord nearby is burning (hattip Maadjurguer). It was also really breezy; it was blowing a consistent 15 mph plus wind from the east. I ended up taking a gamble on heading down to the the western half of the lake. My thoughts were that I'd ride the wind down to the end of the lake (Horse Mesa Dam), while hoping the winds wouldn't increase. I had a feeling the winds that were blowing were being caused by the usual sun up winds and could die down later in the morning. And for the most part they did die down and my wager paid off, I still had to battle the winds on my return, but they had diminished a ton.

My Seaward Quest kayak is actually pretty unstable when it isn't loaded down, so in order to reduce the bobber effect, I grabbed a couple of big rocks and put them in the for and aft storage compartments for ballast. It really helped the boats stability, but I just had to be careful not punch a hole through the hull. I had done this before, but usually the water I've been paddling lately is calm enough that I don't need to.

As for the lake, I was really jazzed. I love the cavernesque sections of Canyon Lake, which Apache Lake doesn't really offer (at least on the western half), but it does have some of the similar dramatic cliffs that seem to go from the top of the sky straight into the water. What I really liked about these cliff, were the contrast of color - reds, blacks, green and normal rock color.

I resist the urge to head to any AZ lake on the weekend, because they are just to busy for my taste. Although it wasn't perfect solitude on Apache Lake, there were only a few boats out fishing. Nice, real nice.

For my route I closely stuck to the shoreline coast as I circumnavigated the lake in clockwise direction. I tucked into just about every little bay and cove. These bays also helped protect me from the wind. My trip totaled 14.6 miles and took me about 6 hours.

As for wildlife, I had my eyes peeled for some big horned sheep, but saw none. I did spot a bald eagle hanging out cliff, and I got some footage of the bird taking flight.

Here's a vid of the day:

Nov 7, 2009

Lemmon Drop - Tucson, AZ

mtbiker2u organized a ride I've been meaning to do for a very long time down in Tucson, and it is commonly known as a Lemon Drop. Basically we drove up to the 7,300 foot level on Mt. Lemon, where we found the Green Mt. Trailhead.

There were 6 of us, Evil Patrick, Evil Tracey, Turtlgerl, NoelG, mtbiker2u, and myself. We started heading down about 9:30 am, as we blasted down the trail. Mind you this is not all downhill. The 20 mile tour had some long, draining hike-a-bike sections. Although the total descent was over 7,000 feet, we actually had 2,500 feet of climbing in there. Our actual route was Green Mountain - Bugs Spring - Molino Basin - AZ Trail - La Milagrosa. We did the full meal deal, but since this trail crosses over the highway a few times, the numerous starting and stopping points allows for many options to doing some shorter rides here.

From top to bottom this trail, had some serious gnar, and steep descents. Unfortunately, my rear brake had an air bubble in it for the whole ride down. So if I wanted any rear brake at all, and I had to charge the brake up and then ride the brakes the whole way down. That pretty much sucked. And it lead me to eating it a few times at crucial times when all I was left with was a front brake.

When we got to the base of Molino, the thought had crossed our minds of skipping La Milagrosa, and taking the road back down to our cars, but we continued on. And the gnar continued on. I was surprised how fatiguing this ride was. I wasn't fully tapped or bonked, but it was what it was. And it was also a hoot.

It was about 4:30 by the time we made down to cars at the bottom of the hill.

I can't wait to get back up there again.

Here's a vid of the day: