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: