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Granite Basin was Gorgeous Today July 23, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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Ray and I were the only two to show up to ride this evening.  Maybe because today was so hot, maybe because people were on vacation….who knows?

We went up the 349 today.  This is a trail that I have ridden down about 98% of the time, and hardly ever gone up.  It was really beautiful today, plenty of shade and because we weren’t bombing down it (yet) we had plenty of time to see things that are usually just a blur.  There are some big old ponderosa pine trees in there!  On the way up, Ray and I were talking about Adventure Racing, and I told him about the Gilmore Adventure Race.  He thinks he wants to get a team into it this year!  I told him to hurry though, as it is almost sold out for 2008.

When we reached the pavement we went down the 351 (lots of fun) to the Cayuse area. Then we chugged up the hill to the 2 gates.  Luckily it was getting a little cooler by then.  We absolutely bombed the “10 jumps” trail today!  What a gas!  From there we headed back towards the 351 and down towards the lake.  Part way down there is a little social trail that cuts over to near the camp host’s spot.  We headed across it and then started our climb back up the 350.

The 350 is always a pleasure because it is a “no horses” trail, which means that it is not torn up by horse hooves, and is smooth as silk.  Ray was climbing like a mountain goat, and I could feel myself running low on fuel.  We took the turn onto the 349 heading west (today was the first time I have ever actually made that climbing turn without dabbing). As we topped out before the big downhill, we admired the view of Granite Mountain and figured that the mountain lions that live on it have it made.  What a great habitat.

Ray and I bombed the 349 all the way to where it comes up over a little saddle facing west again.  That has got to be one of the funnest rides around, swoopy, and narrow with lots of ways you could easily blow a turn and end up in the pine needles 50 down an embankment.

From there, we played Michaels “coasting game” again.  Ray made all the right turns this time, I guess I just forgot to tell him not to pedal until you come to a complete stop…..that is the point, to see how far you can coast.  Michael’s record still stands.  I had a real chance at it, as I was carrying lots of speed into the last corner, but I started to wash out and had to dab to save it, thus blowing my momentum.

From there, we just road the pavement back around to the cars.  Great ride today, thanks Ray!

Stats:

  • distance 10.49 miles
  • total riding time 1hr 8min
  • avg speed  9.2 mph

Geocaching is Outdoor Recreation Too July 20, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Just Stuff.
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I haven’t written about Geocaching as Outdoor Adventure Recreation, but it is!  The official definition of Geocaching is:

“Geocaching is an entertaining adventure game for gps users. Participating in a cache hunt is a good way to take advantage of the wonderful features and capability of a GPS unit. The basic idea is to have individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the Internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is if they get something they should try to leave something for the cache.”

I am a Charter Member of geocaching.com, and have been since February 16, 2001.  At that time, Geocaching was only about 6 months old, and not widely known.  I happened upon the website while doing research about the new GPS receiver that Tracie had given me for Christmas. I was hooked……

I will definitely blog more about my family’s geocaching adventures as time goes by.  I have been lucky enough to introduce dozens of people (kids especially enjoy hunting for “treasure”) to it over the years, and it is something that you now can do almost anywhere in the world.

There are now over 617,000 caches waiting to be found worldwide, so get out your GPSr and log on and go have a self-guided outdoor adventure!

Overgrown Trails July 19, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Day Hiking, Just Stuff.
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Tracie and I took the dog out in the mountains yesterday, and found that all the recent rain has encouraged weeds aplenty to grow all over some of the less travelled social trails.  Next time we go out there, I will carry a small shovel and some clippers, and help it look like a trail again!

Gilmore Adventure Race is Only 2 Months Away July 17, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation.
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I will have to be spending some of my time out on the course of the Gilmore Adventure Race in the next few weeks, so my blogs might be a little cryptic.

Because we don’t release the event location until 4 days prior to the race, I will have to make sure that my blogs don’t give anything about the GAR away.  I will continue to blog about my outdoor adventures, but try to be vague enough so that racers don’t figure out where I have been……yes, they are like that!  I have had racers try and trick me into divulging the location in the past, so I know that they will often go to great lengths in order to know the location in time enough to either get out and scout it, or spend many hours on the internet pouring over maps and aerial photos.

I will tell you all this much.  This year, as always, it will be a lot of fun!

A Gang in Granite Basin July 16, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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Today I rode with a bunch of guys in Granite Basin.  Five of them got there earlier than Nate and I did, so they had already done a 4 mile loop.  Nate and I joined up with Hal, Tim, and Ray (Ray’s first ride with us).  We went back up the trail to meet with Michael and Ken, but never found them.  I figure they didn’t want to be held up by someone as old and slow as me, so they just ditched us!

So the five of us that were left had a great ride up to the top then down the single track commonly known as “10 jumps” and back toward the lake.  Hal and Nate left us then ( I think Hal had a dinner date with his wife), so Tim and Ray and I went back up and came down and around trail 349.  Boy is that a ton of fun!  At the bottom section we played the coasting game that Michael made up, and I just barely beat Tim by about 20 feet, while Ray missed the last turn and ended up on a different trail.  I had to whistle at him to get him to come back to us.  Welcome to the group Ray!

All in all it was another great way to spend an evening.  The decomposed granite had mostly dried from the last few days of rain, so it was tacky but not boggy.

Stats:

  • distance:  9.05 miles
  • riding time:  59 min.
  • avg. speed:  9.1 mph

Day Hike on Maverick Mountain July 15, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking.
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Tracie and I took the dog out on Sunday afternoon for a little bit of a hike along the Hassayampa River and up the north slope of Maverick Mountain.  First we drove in on FR 79 to Trail 284.  We walked down to the swimming hole I used to frequent as a little boy.  It amazes me that even such a high traffic area (relatively speaking) remains unchanged over the last 35 years.  We had a picnic lunch on the rocks around the swimming hole while the dog played in the water.  I spent a while building a small dam in order to redirect some of the water flow down a natural slide in the rocks.  Tracie watched a water beetle repeatedly try to scale the vertical rock wall next to the small waterfall.  I say repeatedly, because that darned beetle was persistant!  It would get part way up, only to loose its grip on the water-smoothed rock and fall back into the water.  She watched this happen about a dozen times while I played with the water flow.

Later, we headed up Maverick Mountain to Kendall Camp.  On the way we saw a young doe.  She was alone, and just watched us as we watched her.  Finally she sauntered off into the trees as we made our way uphill toward the old abandoned mining camp.  The apple trees in the old orchard are loaded, and will make good picking in about a month.  While we were there, the monsoons started to kick up, and we decided to head back down the mountain before we got too wet.

Though pretty steep, FR 79A and Trail 65 make for some great hiking.

Pines to Boulders and Back Again July 2, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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Our group plan was to meet for a mountain bike ride in “The Pines” today, and when we arrived there, the Prescott Cycling Club was also meeting there for a ride.  The parking area was full!  Our group of 6 decided not to horn in on the PCC ride, so we took off while they were still getting there gear together.  Michael, me, Tim, Rob, Toby and his roommate Steve headed out the Emanuel Pines road and then up the single tracks toward the old railroad grade.  After we climbed out into the borrow pit and onto the grade, another Steve (the hardcore variety) showed up, and the 7 of us continued up the grade to the 332.

When we got to the 332, Michael decided to head back down through “The Pines” and call it a day.  For various reasons he hasn’t been on his bike for nearly a month, and said it felt like it.  So the 6 of us rode on.  Where the trail bottoms out and crosses a creek, there is a gnarly, rocky, curvy, slippery climb that is almost impossible to clean.  In fact Rob tried it 5 times, each time getting progressively closer and closer but just couldn’t get it done.  No one did.  We stayed on the 332 all the way to where it meets the 346 and 347, then we took the 347 down into Granite Basin to the 348…lots of whoops and tons of fun!

We rode the 348 to the 351, then took a social trail over to the 350 and made the climb back up to the 349. Tim and I took the 349 east to another little social trail that runs south to the dirt road, while the other 4 guys took the 349 west about 50 yards to the dirt road then followed it south to where Tim and I came out.  Of course they beat us there, but we caught up with Steve (the roommate) right at the saddle and the 3 of us hammered it down the pavement back to the cars.  I topped out at 45 mph on the hill, with my eyes stinging and mouth grinning.

stats:

  • distance 11.63 miles
  • riding time 1 hr. 20 min.
  • avg speed 9.4 mph     (this is skewed due to the crazy paved downhill)