AZ-Back way to Crown King+a little exploring

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Slowred, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. Slowred

    Slowred Been here awhile

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    It started as an easy cruise to Crown King, the back way on the big bikes. The conversation went something like;

    Hey Yardstick, are you up for a ride Sun?
    Sure. How about a BB ride since I've got the 530 apart trying to find the source of a vague rear floating issue.
    Ok. BB's the back way to CK?
    Let me think about it.

    The next day,

    Hey Slowred, is your 3fiddy ready to ride?
    Sure, but it needs a shakedown cruise after some work.
    Great, I've got the 530 back together and it needs a shakedown as well. I've also, got a couple of trails I found on Google Earth to explore. :evil (when Yardstick has a trail that needs exploring, one must always be prepared) :eek1 :D

    Staging at Lake Pleasant, it was a beautiful 65* of AZ Polar Vortex! Yardstick with an evil grin. What does he know, that I don't?
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    The first part of the back way to CK is smooth and fast.
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    Gorgeous views!
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    CK Rock turnoff. Yardstick, still not happy with the way his 530 is handling tries kicking the tire. :D
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    Yardstick passing a 4x4 on the first rough uphill.
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    We took this road to the first trail we were going to explore. Minni Trail.
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    Minni Trail. Although, it isn't on the trail marker, it was clearly marked as a 50 inch motorized trail on the NF Map, which takes precedence. Plus, the trail had quad tracks leading in.
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    Yardstick making clicker adjustments to try to fix the vague floating sensation.
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    Once underway, the trail quickly deteriorates. It's heavily overgrown and challenging in spots.
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    Yardstick powering through a tough, loose climb. We kept finding trail and yellow ribbons to guide us.
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    Until here. The end! We searched for a long while, but couldn't find where the trail continued. Frustrated, we turned around.
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    #1
  2. Slowred

    Slowred Been here awhile

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    Next we wanted to try the upper part of Wagner Trail to CK. It definitely has a few challenges.
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    Upper Wagner.
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    Lots of off camber narrow spots. The creek was in full algae bloom.
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    A few logs to cross.
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    This one was tricky. You had a small log to jump, but then had a fallen log at waist height 5 feet later. We ended up dragging the bikes under it.
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    The canyon was beautiful.
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    Several tough technical sections.
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    Further on we found more challenges. At this point all I could think about was food at the Mill!
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    Yardstick
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    I'm on the trail just below Yardstick here. These switchbacks required getting off and dragging the rear around to make the turn. Tough stuff!
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    This is the payoff for tackling these trails. Awesome scenery! :clap
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    #2
  3. Slowred

    Slowred Been here awhile

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    Lunch time at the Mill in CK! When we entered we met our old friend Javalina eating with his family. This became important a little later on.
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    We decided to head back the easy way after our morning explorations. The views were phenomenal!
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    Yardstick taking a pic of me taking a pic.
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    We were moving quickly down the mtn and even passed Javalina and his family on quads. When I pulled up to the CK rock turnoff, Yardstick pointed to his front tire, which was flat. As luck would have it, Javalina pulled up just as we were patching the tube and offered his compressor. Sure beats a MTB hand pump! Yardstick with his new best friend!!! :freaky
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    From there it was an easy 10 miles back to the truck. What an awesome day of riding in AZ!:clap
    #3
  4. azredline

    azredline Wobbly Adventurer

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    Man you guys are supreme bushwackers! Looks like you had a great time. Thanks for the pics!
    #4
  5. utefan

    utefan Been here awhile

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    You guys should just start carrying handsaws and come along's to move rocks. Your rides just keep getting tougher and tougher!
    #5
  6. Nightstalker

    Nightstalker YO BUDDYPAL!

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    NICE! Glad to hear that Wagoner trail is rideable in that direction!

    I had lunch with Javalina on Tuesday!
    #6
  7. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

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    Nice pics Slowred! I have a few more to post. Hopefully I can get to that tonight.
    #7
  8. refokus

    refokus Hmmmmmm

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    Great RR Slowred. You and Yardstick just keep finding the trails that are less traveled and tear em up, so to speak. I really enjoy reading these RR and looking at the photos. :thumb
    #8
  9. refokus

    refokus Hmmmmmm

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    Slacker.....:lol3
    #9
  10. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

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    Oh... I've been busy. :evil
    #10
  11. Reidy008

    Reidy008 I,m in if we go fast

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    A few of us did Wagner this winter. That is a fun trail. When we rode it there was about 4" to 6" of snow on the top half and the waterfall in your picture was frozen solid.
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    I was riding my Husaberg for the second time... no side stand which sucks
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    The little canyon is so pretty and the trail is super cool.

    We were intending to ride it up but I didn't have a gps track for it and the guys I was with weren't sure if we were on the right trail down the bottom so we ran to the top and rode it down. There are a few spots you wouldn't want to slip of the side of the track. The switch backs are super tight. I thought riding it up might make those easier if you popped the bike up on the rear wheel and spun it around but the drop off's to the side would be penalizing if you screwed that up.
    #11
  12. Slowred

    Slowred Been here awhile

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    Thanks guys! It was a fun ride.

    Reidy, very cool pics of Wagner in the snow. Some of the switchbacks I was able to float the front end around, but a couple required lifting the back end up to make the turn. Awesome trail! I'm ready to ride it again, except the entire trail this time. :ricky
    #12
  13. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

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    Up or down this time? I have some ideas for loops! :deal
    #13
  14. Reidy008

    Reidy008 I,m in if we go fast

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    Is there more to this trail other than the road portion past the old mine site?
    #14
  15. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

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    Like Slowred already said, the idea started off as an easy cruise up the back way to Crown King on the big bikes since I have been chasing a handling issue on my 530. I didn't think I would have time to check everything, but with the ride planned for Sunday, I had Saturday to investigate. Finding nothing significantly out of the ordinary I dug up a plan I put together sometime last year.

    We have passed by Minni and Wagoner trails many times on various routes to Crown King. The weather and timing seemed perfect to check them out!

    These two donkeys were playing or courting up and down the road while we got ready to ride.
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    I thought they were going to come over and say hello at one point.
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    I knew within the first few miles that something was still not right with the bike. The best way to describe it is, it's like having a flat rear tire. The rear of the bike wanders slightly. It's never so much that it puts me on the ground, but it's enough to make me back off the pace and ride extra cautious.


    I can't find any history on Minni trail but it looks like an old one that was probably closed at some point.
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    Someone is obviously working on pushing the trail through.
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    Did someone order a shrubbery? :huh This is the end of the line. I hiked up to the peak and found more ribbon in trees but no obvious sign of a trail.
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    #15
  16. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

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    Defeated for lack of a trimming tool, we retreated from the overgrown trail.
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    The trail is pretty good where it has been cleared.
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    There are a couple of small obstacles.
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    Our escape seemed much faster than the entry.
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    #16
  17. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

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    We had a decision to make. With Minni a bust, we could head straight up to the Mill in Crown King for an early lunch or see if we could find the section of Wagoner trail we always miss. I have done some looking around in the past for Wagoner trail from the bottom with no luck. I planned to take Minni to the top where we should have been at the top of Wagoner, then take Wagoner down after lunch. Instead, we decided to risk it and head for the bottom of the trail, knowing we might not find anything and have to go all the way around to the top. Maybe we should have had a little sanity check since we have some experience with the western section of this trail (Check out post 9 and beyond of this RR). I could have at least used those handy topo lines on my GPS map to predict what we would have to climb.


    The trail started off really mellow.
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    I made the cursed comment, "well if it stays like this, it'll be cake!"
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    At least it's not so grown over that I can't see the trail! :huh
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    Slowred prepares for the descent to the creek.
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    And down he goes!
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    This wouldn't be so bad if you didn't have to duck!
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    Ducking under the branches in the creek means you lose sight of the trail up the other bank.
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    Since you can't spot your line very well it's tempting to back off the throttle.
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    But you have to keep moving to get up the steep slope on the other side.
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    And he made it!
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    #17
  18. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

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    This low/high tree combo was interesting. That upper tree wasn't budging so the bike-drag was the only option.
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    This is a very obvious trail, so you can appreciate how faint Minni was.
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    There were a lot of these off-camber situations. Remember that handling problem I was having? These were extra-hairy for me! My mantra for the trail: "don't fall off the edge, don't fall off the edge, don't fall off the edge!"
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    The switchbacks might have been a little smoother without the wobble, too.
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    These old trail markers are all over in the Bradshaws. They're fun to find. These trails have been around a long time.
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    #18
  19. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

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    This trail had some really nice flowing sections between the obstacles too.
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    They were mostly in the lower section of the trail, though.
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    The higher you get...
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    The rockier and steeper the trail gets.
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    And then there was this rockpile. From the bottom you can't really see the line, so it looks like you're headed straight up the pile.
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    I was holding the camera in portrait orientation for pictures and at the last second decided to hit the video button. I think I jinxed Slowred's climb!
    <iframe width="853" height="480" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/PbBY4ErIdzQ?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    #19
  20. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

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    Slowred coming into the next rock garden.
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    Oh no! Not again!
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    Just kidding! :D
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    A little dab'll do ya!
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    The 350 is the right tool for this job!
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    Another point!
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    And now he's on my rear wheel. :lol3
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    #20