S24o – Cold Camps

T’was the night before Christmas, and out at Rogers Lake…

…yeah, I’m not doing that.

So, in true holiday fashion, I decided the good and prudent thing to do for my own sanity was get out in the woods, sling a hammock among friendly trees, and watch the stars come out and the moon rise through my eyelids.

What, it’s supposed to get down to 24 degrees? Eh, I’ve done that before. It’s supposed to snow tomorrow? Eh, I’ve ridden in snow plenty. Part of me camping in winter is finding the point where it stops being fun.

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So I wound up on the western side of Rogers Dry Lake. I wanted to have a view of the Peaks, and I wanted the sun to hit me in the morning. I definitely got that in this spot.
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Home for the night.
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A room with a view.
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Kendrick Mountain basking in the sun. Also, turkeys (I think!)
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The five highest points in Arizona.
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It’s dinnertime! Go go homemade wood stove! (I know the needles are close, but they are wet, and the outside wall of the stove doesn’t get hot enough to ignite anything.)
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Seasons decorations.
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It’s like being in a boat on the water.

After the moon came up, a pack of coyotes started singing. They might have been a half mile or so away. They kept it up off and on all night, because every time I woke up, I could hear them howling and yipping.

And the world turns.

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Good morning! I watched this storm front roll across the sky all morning.
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As I was starting to pack up, last night’s coyotes decided to pay me a visit.

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“Y hello thar!”
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Right when I was getting ready to ride home, I spotted this guy. It started to melt as I got the camera out. I took a picture anyways.

The title, S24o, is short for Sub-24 hour Overnight, which is what most of my camping trips are. Fun, simple, and relaxing.

Oh, it got down to 19 degrees, and I was plenty warm.

Be kind.

Fall: Dark Evening Rides, Colorful Trail Days

As the Sun sets earlier in the fall, my after work rides get a bit darker.

I love night riding, especially when I’m in quiet, low traffic areas where I can ride without a headlight. There’s just something about being out with nothing but moonlight (Or less sometimes!) lighting the path. It’s liberating.

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At the same time, there’s something about riding singletrack at night, with nothing but a headlight. What you see is so limited. It’s a big world around you, and you can only see what’s in your beam, and nothing outside it. Scary, but exciting!

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With the changing leaves, the trail days get colorful. It’s magical being out in the woods working on the trails, with the trees changing colors and dropping their leaves. Fall really is one of my favorite times to be out there.

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Brand new trail with a view!
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It’s hard work building new trail. Sorry, big mahogany bush…
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I did save a couple big pieces of it to make something out of, so it’s not wasted.

Winter’s coming though… The Peaks have some snow on them!

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Fall Colors in the Inner Basin – 2018

It’s my favorite time of year to be riding a bike. It’s not too hot, it’s not too cold, the wind is reasonably tame most days, and, best of all, the leaves are changing color.

A ride I do every year, is a ride up Waterline Road, to the Inner Basin of the San Francisco Peaks. It’s a ride that I think some people have come to expect me to do every year. It’s a long ride, with almost a vertical mile of total climbing, but I look forward to it, even after the Schultz Fire burned that side of the mountain. It’s been interesting to see the ongoing recovery. It’s also a ride that I typically do in it’s entirety only once a year. It’s just not the same without the yellows and reds and oranges.

We start off riding from the house to Schultz Pass, where the bottom of Waterline Road is. We then go up, under the Dragonspine, and wind along the ridges of the east side of the mountain, through the Schultz fire scar, and through pockets of green trees that didn’t burn. We wind up at the maintenance cabins for the city wells in the Inner Basin, where we have a few choices. Either up the steep trail to the Inner Basin, continue up Waterline to the north side of the Peaks, or down to Lockett Meadow.

I always head up to the Inner Basin first, as that is my main goal for the ride. I’ll come back down one of the lesser known maintenance roads to the cabins, then head up Upper Waterline. The grade starts off fairly light, but the last mile before the end of the road  gets steeper. That combined with the thin air at 10,000 feet has me start thinking about the long downhill to come. Waterline Road dead ends at 10,200 feet, in Abineau Canyon, surrounded by avalanche scars, and in the shadow of the highest point in Arizona.

After butting on thicker gloves and a jacket, it’s fifteen miles of downhill back to Schultz Pass, then my choice of routes back home. Today I hooked up with the Arizona Trail, then retraced my steps back over Observatory Mesa and home.

Enough text, on to the pics, yeah?

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Mt. Elden and the Dry Lake Hills, from (almost) the bottom of Waterline Road. Usually I’m riding over there, taking pictures of over here!
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The Dragonspine.

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What I meant by “under” the Dragonspine. Choo choo!
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The aspens are growing in after the Schultz fire. Part of the recovery.

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Feeling walled in by the young aspens.

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Almost on level with Mt. Elden.
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Follow the yellow leafed road!
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I’m a little early this year. Not all the trees were changing,  but almost all of them still had leaves. It was nice to see the trees full.

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Why I do it. Fremont on the left, Agassiz on the right. Come around the corner, with these two huge peaks presented to you… it’s amazing.
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Break time! Looking back down the way I came.
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Fueling up the well pumps. The wells up here can supply up to 10% or so of Flagstaff’s water.

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Up and up, Upper Waterline Road.
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Lockett Meadow from above.
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Upper Waterline is not regularly maintained, so there are usually a few blowdowns to contend with. We’ll call this one a show stopper.
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End of the road! Looking north from ~10,200 feet.
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Looking south-ish up Abineau Canyon, at Humphrey’s Peak.
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I spent a good 5 minutes taking pictures of these two red-tails. They were having fun.
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Relaxing after playing, probably making fun of the camera guy.
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More local wildlife, spotted on the way home on the Loop Trail.

Stats for the day?

Miles ridden – 60.6

Total vertical distance – 5,280 feet (One mile!)

Total time – 9 hours

Time stopped – 2 hours 18 minutes

Crashes – 0

Flowers smelled – several

Trees hi-fived – at least 10

Campers camped in the middle of the road – 2

 

The Things You See – 4

I may or may not have been busy. Lots of trail days, the Taylor House Ride, and after spending a few days in the back country up on the North Rim with friends and taking well over a thousand pictures… the thought of going through them all to find the best ones to put up was a little daunting. Maybe I’ll do a North Rim photo dump, yeah?

Anyways… a few highlights up until a few weeks ago. More to follow when I pull it off the camera.

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Bzzzzzz…
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Wotan’s Throne, Cape Royal, North Rim of Grand Canyon.
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Sunset at Cape Royal, North Rim of Grand Canyon.
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Fire on the rim from Bright Angel Point trail, North rim of Grand Canyon.
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Agave fractal, Point Sublime, North Rim of Grand Canyon.
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Curt Walters, painting plein air at Point Sublime, North Rim of Grand Canyon. 
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One of the coolest rigs I’ve seen in a long time!

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