|Mountain Biking (Big Sister), AZ|| |
Mountain Biking (Big Sister), AZ
|Mtn Biking||16.50 Miles
|Mtn Biking||16.50 Miles|| 2 Hrs 32 Mns ||6.51 mph|
|1,381 ft AEG||5 LBS Pack|
|As muggy as it was, I began with no plan... just start with my usual route and play-it-by-ear (by sweat?) and see how it goes. If it gets too oppressive I always have a number of bail-out options available.|
To ward off the worst of the heat and humidity I had 2 ice-cold quart bottles on my bike, a 100 oz ice-cold bladder in my backpack and my skull cap, balaclava and gloves were all soaked in ice-cold water. On the hose from the backpack is a squeeze nozzle which allows me to refresh everything with a fresh squirt of ice-cold water as needed.
I started at the Phon D Sutton staging lot and headed west to join the Lower Salt River Nature Trail, follow it toward the Phon D Sutton Recreation Site, southeast across the road near the cattle guard and follow the equestrian trail back to the lot where I began.
Only a half-hour in and I'm still feeling chill so I kept going east along old horse trails to Coon Bluff Road, crossed Bush Highway, connected with the Bush Lite East Trail, followed it to Scorpion Trail where I crossed Bush Highway again, followed the horse trail along the fence line almost to the Salt River Tubing parking lot, angled northwest, crossed the road and headed over to my favorite spot... a nice spot overlooking the Salt River near the Foxtail Admin site.
After a few photos, grabbing a quick snack and emptying the first bottle (which after an hour of biking at 98° was still cool) I started back, checking out the last of three pair of Nighthawk eggs I'd found on previous trips along the way.
(The two other pair have since hatched and the chicks are now gone as well, which I've included in the last photo of the photoset showing the other two pair before hatching and a few days later as hatched chicks.)
I retraced my route back to Scorpion Trail, which I followed 'up' (hill) to Scorpion Alley Trail, with the intention to complete my usual route north on Stinger East, east on Bush lite East before crossing over Bush Highway again (4th time) at Coon Bluff Road to finally return on the horse trails to the start.
However... I'm just over 90 minutes into the ride and I still have half of the second bottle with semi-cool water so I thought, 'where should I go to add another half-hour or so?' which got me to thinking. Then I remembered @DarthStiller posting a 'Big Sister Trail' triplog and I had yet to bike (or even hike) it since it was completed, so why not? (I'll second-guess that decision shortly)
So I headed over on Bush Lite West to Wild Horse, to Twisted Sister which I followed up to the entry point for Big Sister. The 350' climb in about a mile became quite a slog as by now I'm sweating through-and-through and thought, 'what was I thinking!? after all I knew Big Sister is a downhill-only trail so it HAD to start higher up. By time I reached Big Sister I was down to my lowest gear and barely moving.
However! Now that I reached Big Sister all was right with the world... and let the downhill begin. Of course, at my age I can't be taking anything I haven't even seen before at full speed so I took it easy... to start, anyway. But of course as I got into the hang of how it flowed I gradually picked up the speed, just enough a few times I gave myself a bit of a scare and slowed slightly.
I found I really liked this trail... if only I didn't have to ride up Twisted Sister so far to enjoy the downhill more often. But then I rarely ride on this part of the Hawes Trails due to so many bikers hitting up the newer trails. I'm fine if I don't see another biker whenever I ride. Which was today... of course it's likely nobody else was out at midday due to this heat and humidity. But I survived just fine with a good quart of still-cold water in the backpack... and an ice-cold cooler in the car.
Good thing I had my GoPro with me to video my first ride on the Big Sister Trail.
VIDEO: Mountain Biking Big Sister Trail