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Old 09-25-2013, 09:40 PM   #1
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Hunting for the End of Golden Eagle Trail

Last year Slowred and I found Golden Eagle Trail in the Prescott National Forest and almost got to put our survival skills (or lack of?) to the test when we encountered locked gates on our planned route out (RR Link). We would not have had the energy to ride that trail the other direction.

I have been looking at tracks in the area to find another route out of that trail. I caught a break with the Howling at the Moon Dual Sport tracks from the last time that event was held in Prescott. A couple of the routes came within a short distance of where we were on the Golden Eagle Trail.

This Sunday Slowred and I went on a mission to find the continuation of Golden Eagle Trail that we rode last year! Only this time we are both coming back from injuries and wanted to "take it easy" . Slowred had a really bad crash in Moab earlier this year that took its toll on his strength and endurance. We did one comeback ride together before I got hurt. My injury wasn't on the bike, but I'm sure biking (and various other activities) had something to do with it. I have been dealing with the doctor visits and PT from a torn disc in my lower back for about the past five weeks. Maybe there's something wrong with us aside from our obvious injuries because we both decided it would be a good idea to spice up the A/B route.

I considered calling this one, "How NOT to do a recovery ride". Or "How NOT to recover from a back injury."

We started at a small staging area near Lynx Lake.



The route is fairly fast and easy until you come around a corner facing a steep hill with plenty of roots and rocks to throw you off. Slowred made a little mistake and stalled in this rocky section.



I hiked down to help if it was needed. Or gawk and take pictures if it wasn't.



And then I had to hike back up!



I huffed and puffed my way back up the hill. It's easier with a motor!
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:49 PM   #2
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To spice things up a bit, Slowred introduced me to a new piece of trail that bypassed some gravel road droning. It was too fun to get pictures. Then we took the upper part of Yankee Doodle Trail. It's steep and full of tight, rocky switchbacks.

Slowred was fighting his 350 more than normal up the switchbacks and only stopped to check why toward the top of the trail. Apparently 1 psi feels a lot different than his normal 6-7.



Axle out!



Wheel off.



Flat repaired!


Okay, it wasn't NASCAR fast. Since we were both carrying 21" tubes I figured it would be better to patch the small hole in the 18" tube. Pulling the tube took time. Patching took time. Pumping with my little mountain bike pump took time. Eating oatmeal chocolate chip cookies took time... We weren't in a hurry anyway.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:00 PM   #3
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The time and energy it took to repair the flat got me thinking about alternative ride plans. Since it was noon already we wouldn't want to run the next section of Yankee Doodle because it gets pretty technical and we still had a lot of ground to cover. We could have bailed out and run a couple of fun pieces of singletrack and then headed back to the truck. Instead, we rode down a trail called Dandrea, that we have done in the opposite direction before, to connect to the A/B route again. Dandrea isn't exactly easy either, being full of boulders and a few tight turns. But it's probably faster than Yankee Doodle. Maybe...

Slowred coming in hot to Palace Station.



Cabin at Palace Station (under the tree).



We cruised through Bodie Mine Rd. and toward the start of Golden Eagle Trail. Beyond that point we were in new-ish territory.



We were making fresh tracks in this area since the last rains.



As we dropped elevation we went through a section of very different dirt/sand.



Lots of gates on the route.

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Old 09-25-2013, 10:15 PM   #4
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On a different ride in this area, Slowred and I had a hard time finding the continuation of a certain forest road in the valley below. We found it this time. We weren't looking straight up before!



I don't think these pictures do this hill any justice. It's VERY steep. And I managed to have a little wobble that caused me to slam my ankle into the shifter, knocking the bike into neutral part-way up.



Eventually we made it to the trail that looked like it would connect to Golden Eagle Trail. I was content to have found that there was a marked trail. But I agreed with Slowred's assessment that we came this far, so we should see where it goes!



First it drops down a steep, off-camber piece of 2-track into a river bed. But it doesn't go South.



There was a "trail" going North. It was rideable, but it wasn't exactly "well traveled".



We decided to just go back the way we came. But I said; "Let me just check something out. It's probably nothing." This is what we came down.

Yardstick screwed with this post 09-25-2013 at 10:39 PM
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:28 PM   #5
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On our way to check out the more obvious trail to the north I saw something that vaguely looked like a trail. There was no disturbed dirt or pine needles. There was no depression in the ground, like a worn path. There was just something about this little section of wooded, brushy area that looked trail-like to me. So I followed it. And Slowred followed me!



The first turn (approximately 90-degrees and going up-hill) surprised me because I couldn't see where the trail was going. I stopped and jockeyed the bike around the turn, then restarted. After that we started hitting the tightest switchbacks I have seen in a long time. If there's a technique to ride around them, I don't know what it is. They were tighter than some of the tightest switchbacks I have done on a mountain bike. And steeper too. We did some 5 point turns to get around those.


And then we hit our limit.



Slowred is on the lower trail and my bike is pointing up the next section. I tried to push my bike across the steepest part of the switchback but the rear end just lost traction and slid down.



We came from down there. According to the topo lines we climbed ~80 feet. It felt like much more.

Yardstick screwed with this post 09-25-2013 at 10:40 PM
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:33 PM   #6
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Time to retreat!



Fortunately the switchbacks had just enough room to turn around one bike at a time.



Going back out the way we came in you can see the trail and a couple of the switchbacks on the other hillside.



We were so close to where it looks like it might get easier! Now that we know there is an exit, Golden Eagle Trail is in our future again.
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:51 AM   #7
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Wow, those are some crazy trails you and slowred get on. The RR and pics are fantastic as usuall. A great way to spend some time at 40k feet in the air.
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:55 AM   #8
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Nice
Looks tough !
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Old 09-26-2013, 05:01 PM   #9
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As stated a "Not To Recover Ride".
Keep working on that stamina... not certain if this is the physical therapy your Dr's had in mind. But... good mental therapy...
Thanks for the report & pic's.
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Old 09-26-2013, 06:21 PM   #10
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Nice photos but how aobut GPS tracks? I see you had a 60!

Honda Bob in PV knows every trail in Prescott Forest, he built many of them.
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Old 09-26-2013, 08:45 PM   #11
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Excellent RR and ride Yardstick!

I'll throw up a few pics I shot tomorrow.
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Old 09-27-2013, 07:23 AM   #12
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Like Yardstick said, the conditions were perfect for the ride in the Pines.



Even mud puddles!



Yardstick finishing the secret ST



Bodie Mine rd. We came down that hill in the background. It was steeper than I remembered.

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Old 09-27-2013, 07:28 AM   #13
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Yardstick taking a breather on Bodie Mine rd.



And up again.



After a bit of searching, we found the connector to the A/B route from HATM Prescott. It was a steep, momentum kind of hill.


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Old 09-27-2013, 07:43 AM   #14
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The usually indefatigable Yardstick was feeling the effects of being unable to ride for the last few weeks due to injury. I told him that's how we old farts always feel!




We were on a mission to find the escape route from the Golden Eagle trail we found last year. Yardstick said it existed on Google Earth. We finally found a nothing looking crack in the trees. Yardstick took it and I being not so bright, followed. The "trail" was more of an animal path straight up the mountain. these switchbacks were unbelievable, requiring us to drag the rear around to make them. Yardstick's bike was trying to follow gravity to the bottom of the hill. We called uncle and retreated.




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Old 09-27-2013, 04:09 PM   #15
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It's great watching your adventures while I'm not able to do them myself! Thanks for posting.
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