PHX - PNF Switchback Fest!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Nightstalker, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. Nightstalker

    Nightstalker YO BUDDYPAL!

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    The Phoenix exploration crew had such a great time the past two weekends in the Prescott National Forest that we decided to return, again, and ride some more new to us trails!

    Slowred - KTM 350
    Yardstick - KTM 530
    Jerry K (special guest appearance) - KTM 300
    Nightstalker - Honda 450X

    We started by looking for trail 9235, Crystal Springs trail, or more commonly known as the Pipeline trail.

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    Trail started as a ATV/side-by-side sized trail.

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    #1
  2. Nightstalker

    Nightstalker YO BUDDYPAL!

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    We missed a turn and ended up on trail 9434, Little Wolf. It sure looked like a dead end on Google Earth last night... No longer ATV sized.

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    Yardstick demonstrates some trail maneuvering.

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    Jerry comes through.

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    #2
  3. Nightstalker

    Nightstalker YO BUDDYPAL!

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    Not far in we began to encounter questionable obstacles.

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    Jerry coming up the steps.

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    #3
  4. Nightstalker

    Nightstalker YO BUDDYPAL!

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    The trail was quite a bit grown over.

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    Regrouping at trail 304.

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    #4
  5. Nightstalker

    Nightstalker YO BUDDYPAL!

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    We were on a saddle between Big Bug Mesa and Little Mesa. Searching the landscape, there was no visible trail up the side of Big Bug Mesa, but a trail was just ahead of us. There was only one way to find out where it went...

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    It was and incredible climb! Steep switchbacks, rocks, roots, bushes grabbing at your bars and jersey, but we continued on!

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    Many, much needed, breaks were taken during the ascent.

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    Only 20 more stories to climb in about 0.2 miles.

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    #5
  6. Nightstalker

    Nightstalker YO BUDDYPAL!

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    Somehow I managed to crash only once this day, but I went big! Jerry had to help me get my bike upright and back on the trail.

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    Jerry coming up.

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    #6
  7. Nightstalker

    Nightstalker YO BUDDYPAL!

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    More climbing and switchbacks.

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    Yardstick approaches the final 180.

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    Jerry rounds the final switchback...for this trail.

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    Almost made it!

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    #7
  8. Nightstalker

    Nightstalker YO BUDDYPAL!

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    June probably isn't the best time to be on this trail. 8.4 miles in 2 hours is like a new speed record for our troop.

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    Topping out at 6700 feet! I was relieved!

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    We made our way to Forest Road 103 and found this sign. Trail 304 is listed as a 50 inch motorized trail on the MUVM, one of many discrepancies we've found over the past 3 weeks. Of course, this sign is correct, there's no getting anything larger than a motorcycle through this trail.

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    Jerry's got some battle scars.

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    #8
  9. Slowred

    Slowred Been here awhile

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    What a great day of exploring in the PNF! Outstanding navigation by Yardstick kept us from hitting any deadends.:clap

    This time we headed for Tr. 9434 right out of the box. Which turned out to be a good thing, because I would not have had the energy to tackle that #@$%%^ of a trail later on. Pictures do not do it justice. It was an extremely steep, rocky, climb with nasty switchbacks requiring every ounce of momentum you could muster. Stopping only exacerbated your problems. So I have almost no pics of said climb.

    The start was really nice flowing ATV trail. But it quickly came to this.

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    No matter Nightstalker came prepared!

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    The fun begins. Yardstick navigating a couple of steps. He could a pair of shears. They still worked!

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    #9
  10. Nightstalker

    Nightstalker YO BUDDYPAL!

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    Yardstick found some pruning shears on the 9435 trail. Look for them on craigslist later today.

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    Easy roads took us over to the Dandrea Trail #285. We rode part of it last week, this week we rode it end to end. I had forgotten how tough the lower section was. More steep, rocky, switchbacks. Not many pictures.

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    Trail 285 drops you on Walker Road. A short ride over to Senator Highway and FR101 and we were now on the Wolf Creek loop trail #384.

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    Trail 384 was quite different from the other trails we had been riding this day. Fast, flat, and sandy. Lots of fun!

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    No 4x4's on this trail. Lots of horse tracks! Be careful not to spook the large beasts and throw their riders.

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    #10
  11. Nightstalker

    Nightstalker YO BUDDYPAL!

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    The day was growing long and we were tired and hungry. We started heading back to the trucks, but thought we could make it a little interesting. We jumped off trail 384 and headed down road 79 to Kendell Camp trail #65. It's a 50 inch double digit trail. How bad could it possibly be??

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    More incredibly steep climbs, switchbacks, and loose rocks took us to this false summit. The trail ahead looks daunting!

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    Trail 65 took us to Forest Road 9403C. A road, what a relief, NOT!

    Arriving at the bottom of this impossible rocky climb, I called bullshit! I was done. No more pushing, pulling, picking up bikes. Yardstick makes a failed attempt.

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    On his failed attempt, he did find a secret passage that would take us up past the worst section of this road. More steep rocky switchbacks.

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    #11
  12. Nightstalker

    Nightstalker YO BUDDYPAL!

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    The rocky hill topped out just shy of 7400 feet and turned into a proper forest road. We stopped at Davis Dunkirk mine to take in the view.

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    Heading for the Senator Highway.

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    We stopped to chat with a mountain biker at Palace Station.

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    We took a side trip up Forest Road 86 searching for the far end of the Pipeline Trail we were supposed to start the day on. We did find the ranch at the end of FR 86.

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    #12
  13. Nightstalker

    Nightstalker YO BUDDYPAL!

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    We finished the day with 55, long, tough miles and headed for the Fiesta's Country Cafe for some grub. The best kind of grub!

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    Open faced roast beef - AWESOME!

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    The German Burger.

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    Swiss cheese burger and fries.

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    #13
  14. Nightstalker

    Nightstalker YO BUDDYPAL!

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    55 miles.

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    High altitudes and shady trees made for a relatively comfortable ride.

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    #14
  15. Slowred

    Slowred Been here awhile

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    Great RR Nightstalker!! I'm still amazed at how you manage to ride these tough sections but still have the energy and wherewithal to snap such awesome pics. You are the man!:clap
    #15
  16. Slowred

    Slowred Been here awhile

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    Nightstalker, looking good, coming out of the creek bed .

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    Once again Jerry is the smart one, bringing a machete to a knife fight. The mighty 300xc 2T with a trials tire and Rekluse. He made short work of some very tough sections!:clap

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    This was the vista for much of the day.:D

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    We were one tired posse at the top of Tr. 9434

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    #16
  17. Slowred

    Slowred Been here awhile

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    Injury report: 3 badly bruised egos :loll, plus,

    Jerry took a branch to the face that nearly knocked him off his bike. Nothing broken, we kept moving.

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    Yardstick caught a branch on the inside of a turn that pushed him to the outside of that turn. He caught it and kept moto'ing

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    #17
  18. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

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    That was a fun ride! Checking out the climbs in Google Earth gives some sense of how steep they were. I took a few screen shots that I'll put up along with more pics. Unfortunately that will all have to wait for later this evening.
    #18
  19. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

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    The Gladiator fire took away two of the great trails in the Bradshaw Mountains (Bull Road #202 and Bradshaw Trail #216), but I think we found their rivals this week!

    Like the others, this one starts easy enough:
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    Slowred approves this trail.
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    And Nightstalker proves that he does indeed have a right leg. :lol3
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    It didn't take long for the trail to funnel down from quad width to singletrack! :clap
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    This was an active route at some time in the past. These are ruins of an old shack.
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    These types of trails can be tricky. It's easy to get distracted by something that looks like a trail (the creek bed) when the actual trail is less apparent. In this case it is pretty easy to spot the real trail going up the bank to the right of the larger tree.
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    #19
  20. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

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    Not much room for error on this steep, narrow track.
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    Sometimes we couldn't see what the trail was going to do until the front of the bike broke through the brush or hit the last piece of visible dirt ahead. In this case, the trail goes up the bank on the far side of the ravine, but then where? :dunno Prepare to turn in either direction or make a real sudden stop! :eek1 It turned right and went UP!
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    Nightstalker came prepared for smaller branches and I eventually found a pair of clippers, but we were no match for this kind of trail obstacle.
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    Fortunately there was a bypass already in place. Just a quick wall ride...
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    Followed by shooting back up the bank.
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    I'm not sure exactly where I took this picture. I remember thinking it looked pretty bad at the time. Little did I know what was to come!
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    #20