AZ Bulldog and Willow Canyons

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by azredline, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. azredline

    azredline Wobbly Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    538
    Location:
    Chandler, AZ
    Cyberdos and I decided to check out Bulldog Canyon Sunday before the heat sets in. We decided to meet at the staging area off Usery Pass Road, south of Bush hwy.

    On the way, this guy passed me in his chrome Lamborghini. I guess if you can afford the car you can make it whatever color you wish, but chrome? C’mon man. Italian cars should be red. Black is acceptable, but red is better.

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    Staging with the horse peeps. You need to get a permit to enter this area and they have a locked gate to keep you honest. (We also saw 3 enforcement vehicles leaving about the same time we were leaving, so they mean it.)


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    From this gate, things start out with a long, sandy wash. (FR3554)

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    Lots of interesting rock formations.

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    Rode the trail up to the North Gate at Blue Point, part of the Great Western Trail.

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    Then backtracked on FR10 all the way to the south gate, Wolverine Pass. If you want to check this area out on a bigger bike, start at this end and there is plenty of non-sand, semi-rocky road to explore.


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    From there, back to FR1356 to the east gate, aka Cottonwood, which is on Hwy 88 to Tortilla Flats just before the curves start on that hwy.

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    From here things got interesting. A couple with horses came over to chat with us, asking about the trails etc. They asked if we’d been on the one just down the road, (we later learned it is called Willow, or Willow Springs. Since we hadn’t and they said it was gnarly, we had to try it. Apparently, this road, FR12, is also part of the Bulldog Canyon area, and you must still have the permit to be riding in there.

    It starts out sandy, and pretty much stays that way with some rocks mixed in for fun.

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    We made good time going in, and at the first real rough spot, stopped for a break to enjoy the rugged scenery. We didn’t realize how badly we were going to need that rest!

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    A couple of jeeps came in, so we got back on the bikes to get ahead of them.

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    Looks like THE END of smooth sailing.

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    Cyberdos heads in…

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    Some parts were nice because the rock provided good traction.

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    Cyberdos drops back into the sand off a big slab

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    Of course there was water mixed in to help make the rocks slippery and the sand soft.

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    This is the best definition of the trail we saw the rest of the way in, or at least as far as we made it.

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    We found it was sometimes easier to skirt the stream bed by staying up on the side rocks. All was good as long as you could keep your balance and not get tipped away from the wall.

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    A couple of the drops were bigger and a bit intimidating. Some of these were just commit and hold on.

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    As we got farther in, we started to think more about getting out. We had dropped off some rocks that might be tough to get back up.

    The main problem was the sand on the approach. It was really tough to gas it and get the front end light, the rear would just spin and sink. (For those of you keeping score, that would mean lifting, and neither of our bikes were featherweights.)

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    Taking a break to pick a way through. Cyberdos still had enough energy to joke around, but we were fading by now.

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    After about 45 min of wrestling down this canyon, we “threw in the gloves” here. Cyberdos checked the GPS and found that we had covered a whopping 0.7 miles in the last 45 minutes.

    Bad news was it was going to be harder going out.

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    I had stopped about 30yds behind Cyberdos when we decided we’d had enough.

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    While we rested and contemplated the ride (push) out, at least we had some nice rocks to look at.

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    Turned around and heading out, the first obstacle of any size turned out to be a lift and push opportunity. Too much wet, soft sand at the bottom meant no momentum and you had to hit this rock just right to make it. We didn’t, but were able to push over the top.

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    The path wasn’t much better once over the top.

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    This one we were able to cling to the rock better because it was dry. It was another “commit and hope” situation.

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    I went around this big boulder first and promptly got stuck in soft wet sand with rocks all around. I tried to manually lift my front wheel over a smaller rock, but my boot just sunk in about 10 inches while the front wheel stayed on the ground. I turned to ask Cyberdos for a hand, but he was stuck on a different rock. We decided it was a good spot for a break.

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    Break over, and we were able to get my BRP spun around. Here is Cyberdos getting personal with my bike.

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    We finally made it out of the rough stuff and hit second gear again. I’ve never been so happy to see relatively open sand wash!

    I think we had actually ventured off FR12 when we went down the canyon. I’ll go back there, but not on a 650! We both agreed a tiddler bike would be best!

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    We finally came back to hwy 88, which this culvert crosses under. We went back down to Bulldog Canyon’s Cottonwood entrance and scooted back to the trucks at Usery Pass.

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    I was happy to get out of there, but it was a very scenic canyon. Thanks Cyberdos for the punishment!
    #1
  2. AZ TOM

    AZ TOM Long timer

    Joined:
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    Prescott AZ
    Great photo's. I got tired just reading the RR:huh
    #2
  3. seabee1

    seabee1 we build, we fight

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Man, I missed a great ride! I swear, next time! And you'd better have a smaller bike, cause I want to try that canyon, too! :clap

    Thanks for the report.
    #3
  4. Too Many Toys

    Too Many Toys Adventure Poseur

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    1,200
    Location:
    Just off the Lincoln hiway in Ioway & Mesa, AZ
    3 miles from my AZ casa, have to try & join you guys sometime!
    #4
  5. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop

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    Queen Creek, AZ
    Your pics are a lot better than mine. I had a smudge on my camera lens and didn't find out until I downloaded the pics when I got home. :cry

    Here are some of the better ones.

    A lot of riders in this area. Gotta keep your eyes out for horses. (and dune buggies) :rofl more on that later.

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    No matter how many times I see this stuff I never get tired of it. Of course the picture does this place no justice. The colors yesterday were real nice.

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    Off of trail 10 and into trail 1356.

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    1356 is shorter than the 10 but a lot of fun. There are several sections where you can really get into a rhythm and catch real nice air off of some sweet jumps. We had the scala riders on and azredline was following me most of the day so he had a heads up every time there would be a jump.

    All he needed to do was listen to the magic word: WEEE!!! :rofl

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    #5
  6. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop

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    :huh

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    Looking at it in hindsight I think it was a saving moment when we stopped for that brief break before venturing into the pits of trial 12.

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    I'm glad you took a lot of pics because I hardly took any. I was more concentrated on holding on to the bars.

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    did a lot of scouting for the perfect line. and every time we'd take the worst. :lol3

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    Finally out of the nasty stuff azredline does a fist pump.

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    A silty sand wash has never looked so sweet.

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    #6
  7. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop

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    Believe it or not, even with that little trail kicking our butts we were able to log on 50 miles for the day! :clap

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    We touched all 5 gates at bulldog. I'd say we rode at least 70-80% of it. There's still some exploring to be had in there. Not to mention we still have unfinished business with lady 12. :evil

    here's an "as the crow flies" view of how far away we were at from the point we turned around to the lake. Remember when I told you we're only .9 miles away? GPS is really accurate. Don, I'm never giving this thing back to you. :lol3

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    I made a path on Google Earth zigzagging the canyon to figure out exactly how far away we were. Turns out we were exactly 1.4 miles away from our destination.

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    We might have made it. but we would have never made it back. :twitch

    Next time.

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    #7
  8. azgsgirl

    azgsgirl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    105
    Location:
    Gilbert, AZ
    Nice report, guys! Thanks for sharing.

    - Jo
    #8
  9. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop

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    a little video I put together. Unfortunately, by the time we ran into 12, I was out of batteries. :cry

    <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/61070068" width="500" height="375" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/61070068">Bulldog Canyon 3-3-13</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user12919799">cyberdos</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
    #9
  10. GoneAllDay

    GoneAllDay n00b

    Joined:
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    Desert Southwest
    Great post and pics! Thanks for sharing. HK
    #10
  11. Nightstalker

    Nightstalker YO BUDDYPAL!

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    Location:
    Sunny Phoenix, AZ
    Man, I'm glad I don't go riding with you guys!
    #11
  12. AZ Mark

    AZ Mark Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
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    888
    Location:
    Wickenburg AZ
    Great RR guys...
    It makes my Li'l trip to Swansea on Saturday and then meeting up with DR650Eddy and his gang on Sunday a walk-in-the-park compared to your excursion...
    Again great report and Pix's.:clap
    #12
  13. seabee1

    seabee1 we build, we fight

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Scottsdale, Arizona
    looks like a great ride. i'm bummed my plans fell apart and i couldn't join you. but there's always next time!

    cyberdos, that gps works great in the proper hands! i do need to come out for a class.
    #13
  14. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop

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    :photog

    I'm just preparing myself for the next one you throw at me. :D
    Yeah, I'm a glutton.
    #14
  15. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop

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    I forgot to add the dune buggy bit:


    I was nearly plowed down by one as we were heading out of trail 10 back to the trucks. I was hauling ass down a trail and as I crested a hill, the buggy was coming straight at me. We both went into panic mode and I tried to go around his right side but he was too wide. We locked up the brakes and I was able to get the bike sideways, narrowly missing his bumper by inches. His wife who was riding with him was almost in tears. We both had a good nervous laugh about it and we chatted for a minute before continuing on our way. Gotta keep on your toes out there.
    #15