I bolted the balmy confines of urbania around 3p. It was 108º. A little under 3 hours later I was pulling into my camping spot for the night, windows down, pine infused air filling the car. It was 75º. Perfecto. I set up camp and walked around a bit taking in the lofty views.
|This greeted me only a few yards from my tent.|
I called it an early night, climbed in the tent at 9:15p. At 9:20p Lee & Kate showed up!! We hung out for a bit then I crashed out to a good nights sleep.
The next morning as we were packing up I began stuffing my sleeping bag into the compression sack....rrriiipppp!! Drat. It was toast. Thank goodness Kate was driving SAG support on this one.
We met up with most of the others over by AZ87 & FR300, Seron & Jason had just arrived, while Holly was bouncing around the forest roads sans GPS. No sign of Carlos, so we finalized our gear and rolled out hoping to catch him along the route after Holly tracked us down.
|5 riders started out, Kate was driving SAG support, i.e. beer for the campsite!! Way to go Kate!!|
|FR218 was first. Photo by Seron.|
|Our first pullover viewpoint.|
|Lee enjoying the view. Photo by Seron.|
|Jason taking in the sights as we head east. Photo by Seron.|
|6 of 7 accounted for. Photo by random hiker dude.|
|First cabin of the loop, General Springs, right at the beginning.|
|History lesson for the day.|
|Jason cleaning a tight switchback, yeah!!|
|Lee rolling with a rear tube.|
|Carlos working a sharp right. Photo by Seron.|
|Deep ferns burying the trail...awesome!|
|Seron fresh off a little tumble over there in the background. :)|
|Holly rippin' through a fast piece of trail.|
|1.5 miles of pleasant climbing until camp.|
|Crossing the light flow from Aspen Spring. Photo by Seron.|
|Aspen Springs, great place to call camp.|
|All that remains of the historic cabin is the brick fireplace, the spring flows from under the giant boulder on the right.|
|Candice making the rock bridge crossing.|
|Beer transporter. Photo by Seron.|
|We even loaded up Hank with a few beers. Photo by Seron.|
|Team Voodoo at the turn around point.|
|I don't think there were any ghost stories floating around, only the occasional wisecrack. Photo by Seron.|
|Early morning over camp.|
|Taking a break at the AZT split. Photo by Seron.|
|Holly gaining momentum after the first HAB.|
|Seron's GPS shows the upcoming Blue Ridge dip.|
|Some chunk going down, but mostly rideable. Photo by Seron.|
|Jason begins the big push.|
|Holly's loving the HAB!! Photo by Seron.|
|'On your left', pushing my way to the top. Photo by Seron.|
|Topped off our water & cooled ourselves down as it was getting warm.|
|Seron crossing AZ87.|
A few easy miles led us to a sustained downhill, an approaching turn gave me pause as it was nothing but a dry creekbed littered with babyhead rocks!! I think we'll pass on this option. It was an easy re-route, a mile down the road and hang a right, back on track.
A few more easy graded dirt road miles passed on FR211. We then proceeded onto FR211F for a mile or two until we came to a gate. A padlocked gate!! Crap. 'No Tresspassing, Private Property' signs were strewn along the fence. Let's see what the good 'ol Garmin has to say.
|Stopped in our tracks. Photo by Seron.|
|Crossing through Jacks Canyon on FR211F.|
|FR211C provided a solution around the private property.|
|Seron dropped his camera around here in the moon dust.|
Clints Well was going to be a welcomed sight. We had guestimates of how many miles remained and were hopeful the forest roads remained friendly. We rode on looking for our next turn, it never came. My track showed a forest road veering off to the right, but nothing existed!! Onto plan D I believe. We stayed on the main forest road and gladly welcomed AZ87 as our direct path to Clints Well and some much deserved cold drinks.
|AZ87 a few miles north of Clints Well.|
|Clints Well service station & post office.|
I want to thank everyone who came out for this ride, it was a blast. Especially, Seron, Holly & Jason for tagging along some unknown forest roads. I think this ride will be an annual trek. I would like to see more first-time bikepackers take the plunge. Here's to next year!!