This past weekend I went up to Flagstaff for Stan’s Buck’s Night. Flagstaff is about 2.5 hours drive north of Phoenix and over 2000 metres higher. I got a ride up Friday afternoon with Doug, Steve, and Stan. We reached the campsite just before dark and met up with Major Tom.
We spent the evening sitting around and talking. The temperature was steadily dropping and we got cold enough that we decided to turn in for the night. The temperature dropped to around 4 degrees. There were some clouds around which kept it from getting any colder.
When we woke up the next morning Humphreys Peak (3850m, the highest mountain in Arizona) had a light dusting of snow on it. We had planned on going for a ride this morning, but it was cold. We slowly got ourselves going and made some breakfast, followed by more sitting around. It was about 11:00am by the time we headed out on the bicycles.
Humphreys Peak Saturday morning
We camped a little over a kilometre from the Fort Valley Trails trailhead. We rolled down to the trailhead and headed east toward Shultz Creek. The trail rolled along with some small hills and nice twists and turns. We climbed up Schultz Creek Trail for several kilometres before turning right and up a rocky fire trail. This led us up to a meadow. We didn't really know where we were, but we kept going.
From the meadow we followed a trail up to a rocky lookout. We had a nice view over Flagstaff, but still didn't know where we were exactly. A faint trail continued on from the lookout. We decided to keep going thinking it would come out somewhere eventually. After a short while the trail got so bad we ended up carrying our bicycles.
We finally reached the top of a hill and the track dove off the backside with some really nicely cut switchbacks. These took us down to a trail which ended up leading us back to the meadow. Since we were now found we decided to just to head back the way we came. the descent down Shultz Creek was well worth retracing our steps. It was fast and flowing, with a few tricky spots to keep you on your toes. I was following Doug down and was just amazed at how smooth he rode through the corners and rocky bits.
The next day we decided to stick to the Fort Valley trails. Only Stan Doug and I managed to ride, the others were feeling a bit ill or had to leave early.
We cruised up the trails and stumbled onto this track which wound through a boulder field. We climbed up this track which was super technical but really fun. Every couple meters there was a boulder or some other obstacle that had to overcome. It was really fun because you got this great feeling of accomplishment each time you made it through a section.
Once again, when we reached the top of the trail we didn't know where we were (seems to often be the case when riding with Stan). We decided going back the way we came would be just as fun as riding up. It was!