Saturday, January 6, 2018

Trail 4, Like having a Baby

Well, first, I don’t know what it’s actually like to have a baby, but based on experience being there and the comments made like, “That hurt like f*ck, I’m never doing that again!”, I have to imagine it’s not a terribly fun experience…But then a few years later, the memories of passing a bowling ball sized tiny human through your crotch seem to go away and they want to do it all over again.  The right response to such silliness is of course, “Wait honey, you said it hurt like hell the first time…and you want to do this all over again why?”
And that’s what Trail 4 is like…A solid shit show from start to finish...bowling ball sized rocks...10.5 miles of rugged, rocky, sharp, brutal desert terrain that makes you work for every mile…  After you do it once and say things like, “I’m never doing that again!”…a few years later, perhaps lured by the possibility of adventure and backcountry shenanigans, you’re ready to try it again…

Note here that there are no pictures of bikers...should have been a warning
That my friends brings me to today’s little adventure…Yes, this blog is not about Strava bashing, zone this or intensity that, but an honest to God blog about an epic ride (shocking, I know).
It all started a few weeks ago when Justin and myself did a little ride where we rode the newly completed Maricopa trail between the Bronco TH and Bartlett Lake Rd.  After that ride, I started thinking about better loop options and thought, “Hey, if you go up Trail 4 from Spur Cross, through 7 Springs, pick up the Maricopa trail, it would be about a 40 mile loop from Cave Creek.  No biggie right?  How hard can 40 miles be?

Well, after bailing this morning on some other ride options(Sorry Mark!), I decided it was time for a little solo adventure, a  vision quest of sorts….so I loaded up a gpx file on the etrex and got after it…Started a few minutes after 9AM from FTBS in Cave Creek and headed north.  Weather was perfect, a tad chilly and a nice thin cloud cover to keep the temps in check.  Up through spur cross; stopped to pay my $3 at the entry to the park and asked the lady, "anyone come through hiking Tr4?"  She looked at me like, "Hell no man, no sane person goes up there". I went passing some huge groups of hikers out for a nice 1/2 jaunt then like you would expect, the trail gets teeth quick after the first climb away from the creek.  
This is actually a good section of trail...still not rideable

These signs are scattered along the 10 or so mile stretch...just to mock you.

From there, it’s a constant cactus dodging, rock hoping, HAB up, HAB down for at least the next 9 or so miles.  I really can’t say I’ve HAB’d that much in quite some time…truly a Schillingsworth type of route.  In all this suck ass trail, I will say that the views are spectacular, its incredibly quiet, and all in all a pretty cool experience (to walk beside your bike).  Honestly, it was quite enjoyable!...I was in no hurry, no strava KOM's harmed, just enjoying a nice HAB....
Lots of water up there

Flowing water right here...neato.

beautiful scenery

more water...would have been nice to soak my feet.

Some rideable trail!  actually this section was REALLY cool and very much not desert-like!

Old fashioned Ride-Over gate...need skillz to ride over this one.
Finally, I emerged near the 7 springs campground where there is still quite a bit of water flowing (which is amazing considering our lack of rain or snow).  
On down to the Bronco TH where the new section of the Maricopa trail ties in.  Here the trail follows the powerline access road but they reworked much of it. 
new bridge on the Maricopa Trail
It takes a turn upward and eastward to go through a valley climbing towards Kentuck Mountain before topping out.  This is where the suck really started to get me...the trail in this section is oatmeal...a slight uphill is a HAB...  Finally, I got to the top.

View from the Highpoint...let the brake smoking begin!

Then the scree slide begins…basically a 1300 ft descent to Blue Wash (with a few stinger climbs tossed in there).  The final grunt up out of Blue wash and an easy roll back into Cave Creek…
It was quite an adventure…after all the “training” and other intensity nonsense, I was due for a good ol’ fashioned adventure…and this one delivers!


1 comment:

  1. Glad to see a good 'ol fashioned ride report...HAB included!! Keep the stoke alive.