Dec 31, 2011

Year End Video

Here is my 2011 Year End Compilation Video.

verde river float

Here's a short little vid of the New Years Eve float down the Verde.

Dec 24, 2011

Another Daily Double - Mountain Biking and Skiing

Inspiration hit, as Chollaball mentioned, for Christmas Eve, he was heading down to Tuscon to pedal.

I thought to myself, heck I wanna ride down in Tuscon, but I also wanna ski. But wait, Ski Valley, the dinky resort at the top of Mt. Lemmon was up and running. A plan formulated that I would ride the lower trails in the Catalina Mountains (the trails not covered in snow), and then following the ride, I could head up to Ski Valley for an afternoon session of skiing. So I posted up a Tuscon MTB, that I wanted to find somebody who wanted to do a quick shuttle run on La Milagrosa. Luck would have it, Miracle (Chris) replied that he was in. Stoke was high, and I knew my plan would now come to fruition.

I met up with Chris at Le Buzz at 8:00. We then dropped my car off at the end of the Millie, and then we took his truck up to Prison Camp. We hit the trail at about 8:45 and man was it cold, but I had the perfect amount of layers for the whole ride. I didn't freeze in the shadows and didn't roast by the we time we finished up at 11:15. We the shuttled back up to his truck, and the lap was completed in 3 hours. Just as planned.

From there I head up the highway to Mt. Lemmon, got my ski boots on and grabbed my skis, and paid for my lift ticket just as they were discounting them at 12:30 (afternoon skiing is 32 clams).

The mountain biking was pure awesomness, and the skiing conditions were ...

...well, just okay, but hey it was still a day on the slopes (day 5 for the season).

Here's a Vid of the Day:

Dec 18, 2011

Skiing White Pass - Cascades

Here is a little video of my weekend up at White Pass with the old krew.

Man, I miss that place.

I just wish they had some freshies.

When I get a chance, I will fill in a few more details of my trip. In the meantime, here is a video I put together:

Dec 15, 2011

Squaxin Island and Hope Island Paddle - Boston Harbor, WA

I showed up at the marina a little before 9:00 am under typical December dreary skies. It was cool (about 40 degrees), and was expected to warm up more than that. The water was calm. The makings for a small epic day on the water in the on Puget Sound.
I did a full days rental of Eddyline Typhoon for about 33 clams, which was bad. In the past I had paddle the Eddyline Fathom, which is a tad bit longer and little less beamy. I think the Fathom paddled a little bit faster and easier, but I really don’t have any complaints about the Typhoon. For todays paddle, where it had long stretches on going straight, and not much tucking into tight spots, I would have preferred the Fathom. Both boats are really-really good, and I would certainly consider buying one.

Anycow, I split from the dock about 9:30 after getting my foot pegs all Feng Sui, and the my cameras all set up. It was a dreamy crossing of Dana Passage as the tide was still in slack mode. The outgoing flood wasn’t supposed to be all that big, which is good because I couldn’t remember what which way the current was going to flow around Squaxin Island. My counterclockwise loop around Squaxin took me up through Peale Passage. I like this island and Hope Island because there is barely any development on them, so it is a nearly perfect outdoor experience.

I didn’t look at my watch at what time I got up to the top of the Island, but I think it was around 11:30 or 12:00??? I still had about 3 more hours of tides, and it was nearly reaching its zenith. Just my luck, it seemed to be going against me. Rats, but it was all that bad. I honestly couldn’t tell the tide was hitting me until into a tight point about of the Island on my southbound leg.
I did spot a pair of bald eagles on Squaxin; just hanging out giving a screetch or two as I approach their shallow little harbor. I think the video I shot of them came out pretty good. Other than that, the only other really neato wildlife I saw was a stinking seal or two.

Todays trip wasn’t very demanding, so I opted to loop around Hope Island too. This also allowed me to get of the boat and stretch my legs out. Squaxin Island is covered with no trespassing signs, as it is part of the Squaxin Island Indian Reservation.

I noshed on some turkey-cheese-crackers at damp picnic table, and took in the sights and sounds of the sound.

I road the last little trailings of the outgoing tide back to Dana Passage, and by the time I got to the point of the doing the open water crossing the tide was slackening.

I pulled back into the marina about 2:30, and was purely satisfied with my little excursion.

Thumbs up to the mild tides, mild temps, and keeping dry under dry skies.

Here is a vid of the day:

When I make it back home, it is always a goal to get some paddling time in. For my third Boston Harbor Marina rental, I paddled around Squaxin and Hope Island (about 14.2 miles). Here are couple other trip reports from my Boston Harbor trips.

Dec 4, 2011

Snowbowl - Preseason

I did a little preseason skiing up at Snowbowl, as I work on getting 'the sickness' back.

Actually it was pretty good day.

Pretty good snow on the groomers, but beware the off piste stuff has NO BASE.

It was really cold up there. Shoot, my camelback (with insulated hose) froze within 5 minutes of leaving my car. I had to tuck it into my shirt in order for it to thaw out.

I moved pretty slowly, as I started at the Sunset Chair and topped out at Agassiz Chair (11,500 vf). Both laps took about 2 hours.

The first lap, I came down Upper Ridge, and the second I came down the Spur Catwalk.

There were plenty of people up there doing what I was doing, and there was plenty of talk up on top of hitting the ungroomed stuff on the new runs. I didn't interject, but I did object, cuz I knew there was nothing in between the fluff and the rocks under it. I pretty much stuck to the groomers, and when I did flow threw the freshies on the side, I hit rocks. I actually hit ate it kinda hard when my ski hit a rock, smashing my knuckle on a boulder. That smarts. At the bottom, I heard over and over how the off piste skiing the utters had done was so not worth it.

I fear for the fools who try to get good turns in backcountry on terrain that has no base.

Nov 27, 2011

Picketpost/AZ Trail 11/26/11

Ugh, that was a beatdown yestaday, and I am in pretty sorry pedaling shape.

I planned on bailing early, but the trail and scenery just got better and better. I survived on the fruits and vegetables I ate for breakfast, one apple (plus a slice of apple - compliments of Dag Nabbit) one stale package of cliff blox, one gu, a handful of scooby snakes, and two handfuls of peanuts. Oh yeah, that I and shorted my camelbak bladder out of a good 30 oz, cuz there aint no way I drank 100. I actually had to crack open my 5 oz safety reserve bottle. No real cramps, but my quads were really tight.

Utter than that it was an ahsum day on the trail. Good company. Outside of Sedona, I think the portion of AZ trail we pedaled was the probably the most scenic trail I've been on.

Thanks everybody for letting me shove the camera in your face.

Nov 24, 2011

Apache Lake

So much to be thankful for, especially for the natural beauty that Arizona lakes have to offer.

I headed out to Apache Lake for nice little Thanksgiving day adventure out at Apache Lake.

I left my house about 5:30, and was paddling by 8:00. The waters were calm as the sun was coming up, but I as I experienced many times before that the winds usually pick up out of the east as the earth comes to life. Today played right into my plan, as I road the winds down the lake to the west.

I had a few things on my list to explore and see today:

1) See some bighorn sheep - CHECK
2) Find the canyon/cave/grotto at the Alder Creek Wash - CHECK
3) Climb up to the waterfall - CHECK (Well mostly, the spring wasn't kicking out enough water)
4) Find the Hermit's Cave - CHECK
5) See a bald eagle or two - DENIED to

I headed immediately to the north shore and had my eyes peeled for the sheep roaming around the bluffs. Before I knew it, I was at Alder Creek Wash (party cove) and I didn't see one stinking bighorn. I still had my hopes up and my eyes were still peeled.

I left my kayak down in the wash, and set out to find the canyon/cave/grotto, and I found it almost immediately. I saw a youtube video a while back that these doods shot of the canyon, and I've been intrigue to find it ever since. It was really kewl when I stumbled upon it. I found the trees that obscured it and the entrance to the cave had a RV sized boulder laying on top of two equally sized boulders. I was super excited at this point. The first room led into a second through a narrow passage. I had a scramble up to the third room and beyond that. I was a little on edge, cuz this seemed like prime mountain lion habitat, so I had my pepper spray handy the whole time. Really neato exploring. I did spot a few beer cans, so I knew this was pretty popular destination. I could have continued farther up the canyon, but opted to do that another day, and I didn't want to get hurt while traveling alone. I must have topped out about 100' vf, near the big obelisk that you see from the wash. There is no way to capture this grotto in video of neato it was, but I tried...

I scramble back around the top of the canyon, and then started my hike up to the waterfall. There was a little bit of water in the creek bed, but when I got up to the waterfall, and I could hear it on my approach, but the water coming down was hidden by the boulders. When the water is flowing from the spring, it is really neato, but today I was denied.

On my 1 mile back down from the waterfall, I saw a ram way up bluffs above me. He certainly saw me before I saw him. He was probably about 300 or 400 yards away, and about 400' up. The saving grace about my situation was that I wasn't forced to capture him on video from my boat. I am amazed at how stable the footage turned out, I also wish I was a closer. I am also amazed at how agile this bad boy was. I did catch on video, him scramble and leaping on the rock face above. Neato! On my way back down the wash, I spotted a second ram on the opposing bluffs. I bet these two have had some serious rutting battles, and I wish I could be there for that.

Once I got back down to my boat, the clouds were setting in, so I decided to call it a day. I did have one more stop, and that was at the old Hermit's Cave on the south shore. It is a couple miles west of Crabtree Wash, where I started my trip. This was a pretty neat cave. Inside, it a bulkhead built up and backfilled, for a level platform.

The only disappointment was not seeing any eagles today, but I did see a small tarantula.

Lotsa things to be thankful for in my life, but being in the moment, in such a neato place rules. I literally heard about 1 minute total of boat noise on the water, and that was about a mile away. The other thing I was extremely thankful for, was that my car started back up, cuz the battery was on its last throws. (It actually died the very next day).

Here is a video of the day:

Nov 21, 2011

Verde River (Novembe 19, 2011)

Not much of a post here, but I just wanted to jot down a few notes on my trip down Verde River on Saturday.

The pedal up from Beasley Flats to White bridge (about 10 miles) took me less than 50 minutes (I was on my mountain bike this time). The other times I've done this, it has taken me about a little over an hour, on my wife's cruiser .

The flow was about 200 cfs, the highest I had done it yet. Still far-far away from being a crazy float down the river.

It took me 2 hours and 45 minutes to float the 11.4 miles from White Bridge to Beasley Flats.

Nov 11, 2011

Saquaro Lake

Here is a little vid for today's paddle on Saguaro Lake:

Oct 25, 2011

Daily Double - Mountain Bike Ride and Kayaking

What better way to follow a most excellent kayaking trip on Canyon Lake yesterday, but with a most excellent ride on South Mountain's National couple with a supported (bike shuttle) float down the Lower Salt River.

Knocking out two schweet adventures in a day is something you can do in Phoenix.

I split from Pima Canyon about 7:00 as the sun was just coming up, and the temps were primo for pedaling.

I actually had a pretty good climbing day up National, except I for being held back by a worn out cassette.

The ride back down I was just "feeling it" and the flow was good. It was so good, that hesitated to leave good flow to go find good flow, but I wanted to get some more water time in.

So wrapped up my ride, headed home, unloaded the mountain bike, loaded up my wife's cruiser bike, loaded up the WW kayak, change my cloths and headed out to the Lo Salt River. I dropped off my kayak at the Lot #1 at the top, then shuttle my car back down to Granite Reef Dam, then shuttled the bike back to the top.

I was on the water about 12:00, and the flow was of the river was good.

The temps were plenty warm.

On my way down I came across several raptors, and even an owl hanging out on the banks at Coon Bluffs. That was pretty kewl. I also saw the smartest heron I have ever seen. What makes this heron so smart? Well instead of getting spooked and flying down river about 50 yards like most stupid pterodactyls do, only to get spooked again, and again. This one actually double back and flew back up river. Never to be hassled by me again.

I saw a few horses, and the loads of big fish.
It took me about 3 hours to get down to Granite Reef, but I did spend some time getting vid footage.. I was pretty fatigued after 20 miles of flat water paddling yesterday, about 20 miles of biking today and 12 miles on the river today.

Here is a vid of the day:

And here are a few pics:

Oct 24, 2011

Kayaking on Canyon Lake

I had they day off and wanted to get some flat water paddling in, so I headed out to Canyon Lake. I've paddled this lake several times now, and it never gets old. While I was out there, I did a little scouting on a future adventure, which I kinda comes to fruition soon.

When I got to the lake, there was just a hint of daylight, and I dig this in time of the day.

My plan was to paddle up to the top of the lake; all the way up to Horse Mesa Dam (well to the barrier at least). I also hit the all the usual coves on the way.

The paddling temps were the most comfy I've had in half a year. I did have to battle a little bit of a head wind all the way up, but the nice part of this lake, is that all twists and bends give me occasional protection. Then again, the twist and bends also funnel the wind at you too. I did have a tail wind for a good portion of my return trip, so my wager was a push.

When I paddled off the main portion of the lake into the canyon, I had my eyes fixated on the cliffs; scanning for bighorn sheep. When I rounded the bend to Beer Can Point, I saw some heads with horns peering down on me. The problem with these dang old sheep, is that they like to sit way high on the bluffs, so you can't see them when you are directly under them. The best view I had is when I was about 1/4 mile away, as the sat perched on a sheer 400' cliff. Cross that off the list of things to see for the day. I was denied on seeing any bald eagles, drat.

Today's paddle was a solid 20 miles, with lots of close quarters maneuvering in my touring kayak. This left me pretty tired when it was all said and done at 2:30 in the afternoon.

Here is a video of the day:

And a few pics:

Oct 11, 2011

Kayaking down the Verde River

If been paddling a bunch lately, but I just haven't taken the time to document to post up my excursions.I did nice little self supported trip (bike shuttle) down the might Verde River on Sunday.This is pretty much the same trip I did here, so I won't cover the logistic details, utter than the river was flowing about 140 CFS.Here is a video of the day (please excuse all the vanity shots):
I also snapped a few pics with my phone, that was running a cheezy little camera app that simulates HDR.Here are some faux HDR pics:

Sep 18, 2011

Horses of the Lower Salt

Here are a few pics from this mornings paddle down the Lower Salt.

I think every time I been down the Lower Salt, I've seen the free roaming horses.

Today, I lost count on how many I saw, but there most have been about 30 soaking up the goodness of the river.

Here a few pics:

Sep 5, 2011

A day at Sunrise Lift Area for some DH

I was feeling more inspired to ride than shoot video, but I did get a few clips. Nothing special.

Man, did it rain. I've been sweating the heat and wishing for rain all summer, and I got more than I wanted in relief. A 12:00 thunderstorm rolled through Sunrise, and we got completely soaked. The put a lightening hold on the lift for about 45 minutes.

Once they started the lift back up, cold and wet, we froze at the top. Then about an hour later, we go another storm. At that point I was super muddy on top of being cold and wet, so I called it a day at about 2:45. 6 runs in, but I certainly didn't ride very aggresively. Good bye Sunrise DH riding for another season. Booo!

Thanks to Gnar Gnar Tours for organizing the trip up and back.

Here's a littl vid of the day:

Aug 27, 2011

Verde River Kayaking

I wanted to get some float time in, but I didn't have anybody to paddle with, so I did a little self supported shuttling up and down the Verde River (near Camp Verde). Mind you, river paddling alone is not recommended, but I felt pretty secure in doing river solo.

I left my place in Phoenix a little after 5:00 am, and made it to The White Bridge in Camp Verde at 6:45. I quickly dropped off my kayak, paddle, PFD and Skirt down at the river, and secured it to a tree with a my bike lock.

Then I shuttle down to Beasley Flats via Salt Mine Road, 10 miles down river. I pulled out my wife's super awesome bicycle, and pedaled it the 11.4 miles back up to the top. I definitely set no land speed records on the way up. It took me an hour, but that included me taking the time do some staged video shots (all for my vanity). The difference in elevation from the top of the river where I put in and where I pulled out, is literally only about 100 vf, but the road had me doing about 1,000 climbing. This was due to two kinda big hills I had to go up and over. Oh yeah, and the temps were starting climb...

I got back to my kayak, and everything was still there. I locked up my bike, near the parking lot (up above). Then I set out down the river about 9:15. This were going pretty smoothly, and as planned.

I was hoping for more water in the river, but it was flowing below 70 CFS . The was even less water than the last time I came down the Verde a few months ago. I knew it was low, but I still had my fingers cross that a storm would pass over before I got up there. No such luck.

The river was really slow and the pretty boney in some place, but I only had to get outta my kayak once. And running aground there was just a mistake in not seeing the were all the water was flowing too.

The 10 mile paddle down the river took me 4 hours, and I had to do a great deal of paddling to do it in that time. I suppose that much paddling would've turned some people off, but I still had a pretty freaking good time. I was off the river by 1:15. It was crazy hot at that time, and there definitely thunderstorms crashing on the ridges on both sides of the river.

Oh yeah, the wildlife. I saw no alligators or lions or wildebeest, but I had a pair of osprey squawking at me, and I followed bald eagle down the river a couple of times. Actually that same eagle took flight just as I saw a doe and two fawn came into view. The deer were just chilling down by the river, and felt very secure in me floating by.

Good time, and I look forward to repeating this adventure, but I can only hope I do it with a little more water.

Here is a dorking vid of the day:

Aug 24, 2011

Baking Cookies in the Car

Just when you thought I could be much more of a dork, I got and pull a stunt like this.

Temps were posta get up around 113-114 today so, I thought I give something I've been wanting to do for a long time, and that is back cookies in my hot car.

I grabbed a bag package of Toll House Brownie Bites, cut then I wouldn't haveta worry about them browning up.

I forgot to grab my tommeter to get a temp reading, but lets just say it was hot, and the freaking cookie sheet was hot.

I put 'em in at 12:30 and it was 107 outside, and when I pulled them out at 5:00 it was 113.

How'd the turn out. Well not exactly appetizing looking, but hell I didn't put much prep time in. They were surprisingly crisp.

I don't know how safe it is eat something like this, but I did chow down on a couple, and they were DONE!

Aug 18, 2011

Canyon Lake

Maadjurguer and I headed out to Canyon Lake for ferociously hot paddle.

Here is a little vid of the day:

Aug 10, 2011

Jerry-on-Moe Trail - South Mountain - Phoenix, AZ 8/7/11

Yep, I'm still alive.

Sorry for the lack of updates, but July has been a very busy month.

Here is fun video of a group ride at South Mountain:

Jul 6, 2011

Another Lower Salt River Run (July 2nd)

Here's another video float down the Lower Salt River, but this one includes Maadjurguer.

Most excellent group of 20 other paddlers from the Desert Mountain Paddlers group.

Here's a little vid:

Jun 26, 2011

Salome Jug - Tonto Nationa Forest - Arizona

Since looking at this MTBR Thread posted up in May of 2010, I been wanting to the opportunity to do a little adventure into the Jug.
BrettN put out the notice that he wanted to lead a group (along with his brother ScottN), and just like that we had 11 people who wanted to wade/swim the pools, hit the granite slides, and rappel (or jump) the final cliff.

Brett and I split from his house at about 5:15 and we knew it was gonna be warm day. We then picked up Dave and drove into Fountain Hills to meet up with the rest of the group (Mr.& Mrs. Chollaball, ScottN, Justin, Isaac, Alex, Markus, and Jessy).

We then set out AZ-87 and then took a right on AZ-188 and then took a left on A-Cross Road. I'd say we got to the lot about 7:30, and we started the 2.5 mile across and down to the top of the Jug at 8:00.

The walk down was pretty easy, but the concern of being blasted by summer AZ sun on the way out was heavy on our minds.

The top of the Jug was had a small pool of water with a plenty of green algea, and the marks on the rocks told me the water level for the typical pools was way down. But hey their was water at the beginning. Woot. Actually as we headed do the jug the pools got deeper and deeper. Suhweet!

The pink granite at the top was utterly amazing; a really neato contrast of colors up there.

The granite slide barely had a trickle of water, but fun none the less. I can't wait to shoot these with more water flow. We hit it very late in the year, as I'm hearing the optimal time to do this trip is April or May, but a wet suit is pretty much mandatory, as the pools will be cold because they don't get much sun to warm them. The pools were perfect temperature today for just shorts and t-shirt.

As we made our way down, the cliff walls got higher and higher and in some spots they got really narrow.

This is not a hike, it is canyoneering. Beginning canyoneering, but dangerous and having the proper equipment is a necessity. We all had climbing harness just in case the second to the last pool was to shallow to do the 25 to 30 foot cliff jump. Jumping this cliff can be a little hairy and certainly isn't for everybody. Rappelling is the only other option down. If you go here, please do yourself the a favor and bring your rope an harness.

The whole 5.8 (or so) trip took exactly 4 hours, not bad considering the size of the group.

Here is the vid of the day:

Jun 12, 2011

Kayaking the Lower Salt River

This morning, I met up with a the Desert Mountain Paddlers for a float down the Lower Salt River.
I split from my house a few before 6:00 am and cruised over to the Lower Salt River along the Bush Highway. I got to the meetup spot (Lot #1) before 7:00, and I quickly unloaded my boat, and then we shuttled some cars down to the Phon D Sutton Rec Area down river.

I didn’t look at my watch, at the official launch time, but I bet is musta been around 7:45 when we hit the water.
We had 21 people in our group, and there were two or three other groups launching about the same time. Believe me, this time of year it gets pretty crazy with all the tubers floating the river, but luckily we were off the river before the party animal crowd showed up.
This was my first time down this bad boy, and it I gotta say it was pretty fun. There are a few class 2 rapids, and the south side of the island (left channel) about 10 before the bridge really had a nice series of rapids. Nothing to hairy, but just fun fast stuff. The river was flowing a little under 1,500 cfs (Lower Salt – Below Stewart Dam).

It looks like they started releasing water down the river around the first week of May this year. Any cow, it was flowing good.

I’ve been working on my roll. It isn’t bomber yet, but I was successfully pulled out of all three of the rolls I attempted today. Woot! It also felt good to cool off without getting outta my boat. BTW, it was a perfect temp day. Probably about 85 or 90 when we finished up.

Again, I was so jazzed by this float down the river, that I forgot to check the time of when we pulled out of Phon D Sutton, but it musta been about 10:45. Not bad considering how big of group we had. I got home around 12:30, not bad for such a fun adventure so close to home.

Here is a vid of the day:

May 29, 2011

Sunrise Lift Area w/ GnarGnar Tours

Today, I rolled on up to Sunrise Park Resort with Gnar Gnar Tours.

It was super nice not having to do the long drive up there, and it was certainly worth the 50 clams. This was opening weekend for lift area downhill riding, and it was also good to know that the lift tix were still only 20 bucks.

We split from Cactus Bikes in Ahwatukee at about 6:15 and we rolled into the lot at Sunrise at 10:45, so certainly took longer than driving up in a car, but it still pretty much ruled that I didn't haveta drive. Actually, this is the first time up to Sunrise when I wasn't the driver.

The stoke was high being here and knowing all the trails I wanted to ride were open. Things were a little dusty, but the high winds (even though we were on the leeward side) actually kept the dust from getting in my eyes when I was following somebody closely.

No major crashes for me or anybody I was rolling with. Woot!

One highlight was seeing a newborn elk that was yelping for its momma near the top of the lift. Hopefully the elk was reunited with momma???

Thanks GnarGnar Tours for the most excellent day.

Here is a little vid of the day:

May 21, 2011

Kayaking the Verde River (White Bridge to Beasley Flats)

I joined this Desert Mountain Paddlers for a day of floating down the Verde River today, and it was way fun. I haven't done much moving water paddling other than a day of white water kayaking down the Cispus River in Washington and playing in the surf with my touring kayak in the Pacific
I left my place in south Phoenix a little before 7:00 am, and easily made it to the meet up spot at the White Bridge put in on the Verde River (Camp Verde, AZ) for the schedule time of 9:00.

Ron, the Canoe Guy, was leading this paddle, and he was the first one there. Shortly after I showed up, the other two paddlers (Eric and Bill) arrived. We unload our gear and shuttled the cars down to Beasley Flats Rec Area (off of Salt Mine Rd). The round trip shuttle took about an hour, and we were on the water about 10:15.

Ron, the Canoe Guy, did an outstanding job guiding us down the river. He set the tone right for the paddle by having a short safety talk. His guidance was super helpful. Thanks, Ron.

Strange enough that we actually had rain in May???, but the water level was about 80cfs when were on it. I'm pretty much a rookie on find the proper channel, but the butt dragging was pretty minimal. And we actually had to paddle in the slow spots. There are several class 2 rapids, but was extremely tame. I only had water on my deck a handful of times.

I paddle in just a heavy lycra shirt and shorts, capped off with a pfd and bicycle helmet. I opted for a baseball cap halfway down the river.

The 10 mile float took us about 4.5 hours, as we pulled into Beasley Flats at 2:45.

Very pleasant day on the water. Mildly exhilarating, nice scenery, good company, and virtually nobody else on the river. That I don't get, how can there be so few people actually not doing this???

Interested in more AZ paddling adventures, check out Desert Mountain Paddlers.

Here is a vid of the day:

May 14, 2011

Mine Drop - South Mountain: Phoenix, AZ

Chongoman lined up an ahsum loop today, which consisted of parking at the SoMo Enviro Education lot, pedaling up Ranger, traversing west on National, and then a really fun rip done Mine Trail and then rolled Gila Trail to San Juan Rd/Central to complete the loop.

We met up at 6:30 under sunny but warming temperatures. By the time we finished at 10:30 it was 90 degrees. Warm weather riding is here.

Anycow Stumpy29er, KennyB, Aaron,Durtgurl, ScottN, Cenobite joined in on this 12.5 mile loop. Pfft, 12.5 miles? The were pretty hard miles with about 2,500 vf of climbing.

At the bottom of Gila Trail, we took a peak into the Mine shafts.

Here is a vid of they day:

And here is a Google Earth Tour of the route:

May 6, 2011

Apache Lake Paddle (Overnighter)

Spending the night in the backcountry at Apache lake is your typical Cinco de Mayo, but it is an ahsum way.
I split from work at 2:00 and was on the water at 4:30, as I left my car at Crabtree Wash (with Tonto Pass).

The humidity in the valley was literally 2% and the temps were over 100 degrees, but the lake felt slightly more cool, and the bump in humidity actually felt good with the breeze.

I was a little fatigue from busy work week, and paddling a loaded down kayak into the wind was not killing my thrill of being on water again.

As I made my way west along the north shore, I had my eyes peeled for bighorn sheep, but I finally saw some ewes way up on the cliffs above. The ones I spotted were just before Alder Creek wash. My video footage was pretty shaky due to the length I was throwing my zoom lense and tad bit of chop in the water.

I pulled into Alder Creek wash, and was surprised how low the water was. Obviously, I knew it was down lower than normal before I got there, but it was down to the muck deep in the wash. I wasn't sure where I was gonna park it for the night, but in the was wash was out of the question due to the mud and bugs.

Plan B was to head out to peninsula at the entrance of Alder Creek Bay. I found some suitable bivy spots, and parked it here for the night. By this time, it was 7:00 and I knew the sun was gonna be down about 20 minutes later. I scurried to unload my stuff and get my tent set up. A fire wasn't necessary, but I opted for one to add a little light to the situation. With the humidity so low and everything tinder, I definitely used some discretion and selected a pit down on the shore. The beers by fire certainly tasted yummy.

I had a close encounter with bobcat on Pinal Mt. last weekend, so just as a precaution against a bigger cat I brought small bottle of pepper spray. It was nice getting away from the all the white noise of the city, and it was neato hearing the sounds of everything zooming around me. The fish were jumping all night. I didn't know Apache Lake was know for its big hooters, cuz the owls were hootin'-and-a-hollerin' all night.

I rolled over around 4:30, a noticed the shooting stars I was seeing was switching to dawn. I got up about 5:00 to set up a camera for time lapse. I kinda wish I started later and let it go longer, but vid turned out 'just okay'. Definitely not worth the missed sack time.

I rolled outta camp about 7:00 and slowly made my way down to Horse Mesa Dam. The only real wildlife were some vultures kicking it on the shore. On my way back up the lake, I spotted the bighorns again, but they were even higher up than before.

I really took my time heading back up the lake, but I wrapped up my trip at 12:00.

No real new exploring, or a huge amount of miles(about 14 or so), but just a good time on the lake.

Here is little video of my trip:

And here is an interactive Google Earth map of the area:

Mar 20, 2011

AZSF (Arizona Spring Fling) - Highline and High on the Hog in Sedona

Day four of AZSF (Arizona Spring Fling) - Highline and High on the Hog in Sedona.
After crushing down some pretty hard chunk, today was all about slicing up some nice red slick rawk in Sedona.

I met up with Tim and Gary over at Durtgurls house at 6:30 am and we carpooled up to Sedona, where we met up with the other flingers at the IGA Supermarket.

We had a pretty big group, the plan was to ride Highline and High on the Hog. I brought my little bike today, which my legs thanked me for. The pedal up Highline was super easy thanks to pedaling a bike that weighs 9 lbs lighter than my utter one.
Coming down was pretty dang fun on it to, but obviously I dialed back the aggressiveness a bunch because the tires were skinnier (less sticky) and not enough burly travel.

Both trails were in primo condition and the temps were perfect for riding. A little breezy up there though.

Our five hour tour was led by Zul and a couple other locals who are outstanding riders. Local knowledge is good to know. The best part of the ride was heading back around the eastside High on the Hog back to Chicken Point instead of heading west around the housing development.

Here is a vid of the day:

Mar 18, 2011

AZSF (Arizona Spring Fling) - National/Holbert on South Mountain

Day three of AZSF (Arizona Spring Fling) - National/Holbert on South Mountain.
Today was another gnarlicious beatdown on Somo, as the Flingers met up the Pima Canyon Lot at 9:00 to go pedal some of the best South Mountain has to offer.

I hung with Maadjuergers group, but I had no real intention of doing portions of his ride, one because I new my legs would be tired from the days before, two I wanted to have fun in Sedona the next day. I think it is safe to say that I was easily on the heaviest bike, so I was going no where fast.

The group today consisted of Tor-y-Fol from the U.K., Chuckie33 from Mississippi, Marky-mark-and-the-funky-lunch from Chicago, CTuttle from Moab, Maad, Dgangi, Theorem all from PHX and myself.

Basically the route I did was up National and down Holbert, back up the road and return via National. A few utter crazies threw a few more punishing miles in there.

Here is a vid of the day:

Bug Spring & La Milagrosa (Tuscon, AZ) AZSF 3/17/11

AZSF (Arizona Spring Fling) Day Two – Bug Spring/La Milagrosa (Tucson)
Tor-y-Fol from the U.K. rolled on over to my house about 6:30 am, and we loaded up the bikes into my car for a two hour drive down to Tucson.

From there we met up with the other AZ Flingers (Ben-Jamin from Minnesota, Chuckie33 from Mississippi, Magro from PHX, Mad Max from Tucson, Steve from Tucson, Evil Patrick from Tucson and a few utter riders) at the usual meetup spot: Le Buzz.
We dropped off a couple cars at the usual spot at the bottom of Millie (Off of Snyder Rd - Corner of De Suzenu/Horsehead Rd.) and then we shuttled up to the top of Bug Spring trailhead.

I think we started the hike-a-bike out of the parking lot at 10:00.

I rolled this trail a month earlier, and there were patches of snow then, but none now. It was kinda warm out, but the breeze kept us from over heating.
We weren’t riding terribly fast, but the stops were short, so we made it to Prison Camp in about 1.5 hours. Bugs trail rawks.

Mad Max stashed some much necessary water at the beginning of Millie, so we filled our camelbaks, and we were off again to slay some gnar.

On the hike-a-bike up to the saddle on Millie, I dropped my sunglasses and since nobody behind me saw them on the trail, I figured it was fruitless to go back down to find ‘em. That meant heading down the trail with no eye protection. Oddly enough about 5 miles down Tor-y-Fol found a pair of cheap/nasty sunglasses that just so happened to colored silver, just like the ones I lost. (I ended up using there glasses all weekend.)

I had a little elbow dab on the ‘waterfall’, as I opted for the easy line to the left. No style points, but I got down without much thrashing.
The rest of the trail was a dream, but I was sufficiently fatigued when we got back to the car at the bottom around 3:00.

Here is a little vid of the day:

And here is an interactive Google Earth Tour of Bugs/Millie:

Mar 16, 2011

Hawes AZSF (Arizona Spring Fling) Kickoff Ride

Here is the video for the kick off ride for the AZSF (Arizona Spring Fling)

We all met up at the Walgreens at the corner of Thomas and Power in Mesa about 5:00.

I don't ride Hawes all that often, but our 12.4 mile loop took us on a new (to me) trail know by the locals as TRW.

It was a really incredible sunset.

Here is the video of the 2.5 hour ride:

And here is an interactive Google Earth map of the area:

Hat tip to AZFreeskier for the GPS tracks and video soundtrack.