After waiting in vain for the weather to cool down, today I mountain biked the trails nicknamed “the K trails” in the Superstition Mountains near Gold Canyon, AZ. These are multi-use trails, and are great for mountain bikers.
I went with my long-suffering motorbike riding partner, Hal, but he said he wanted to go mountain biking. We got there around 10, which is really too late for these temperatures, but there is a big difference between a 100° F. day in late September and a 110°+ F. day in August. The former is workable, the latter, most definitely not.
We drove down a winding road and finally got to the trailhead, where there was a sign that told about the history of the area:
Not really knowing the exact layout of the trails, I chose one, and off we went, riding south on a trail that took us to Cougar trail.
It rolled and twisted, and was really fun. There were a few little spots that were rocky, and at one point I ended up with a big ball of cholla cactus stuck in my upper arm. I had to wait for Hal so he could help me get rid of it! This cactus is also called “jumping cactus” because sometimes it seems that it “jumps” to hang on to passers-by. It certainly seemed so today! The spines have little hooks on the ends so when I pulled it out of my skin, it hurt. But just for a moment.
We continued on the trail, where I saw this natural sculpture made by cactus “bones.” Behind it is the lovely trail:
It was more dramatic from this angle, but the above photo shows the trail, that is why I chose it for you to see first.
After riding for a while, we got to a split in the trail:
We chose to ride the Lost Goldmine Trail, but we also saw the “K trail” for which the network is nicknamed:
After this, the trail climbed a steep rocky climb, then dropped dramatically into a wash. I thought it was very much like the descent from Mine Trail on the Hawes network, but shorter. When I got to the bottom, Hal was not behind me. I waited a little while, but still he did not turn up. So, I began walking up the climb, which was too steep and rocky for me to ride up, and called his name. I got no answer, so I kept going.
I ended up walking and riding all the way back to the top, all the while thinking am I going to have to call 9-1-1? At last, he answered me, and we reunited. It was getting hot at this point, so we went carefully down the descent.
“Are you sure this way goes back to the parking lot?” Hal asked. I could tell he was ready to get back to the car, and really, I could feel the heat on my face. When I feel that, I know I am getting hot as well. I’ve been in this situation so many times it doesn’t bother me, I know I will eventually ride myself out, but I know other people are not as resilient and haven’t had the opportunity for as much mountain bike riding experience as I have.
“No,” I answered, “but I’m pretty sure this goes up, and over the hill in front of us will be the parking lot.” It looked familiar to me because I thought I’d seen it from the other side when we started out. We rode up to the top, and as I got to the summit, I looked down. There was the parking lot, a few hundred feet below me. It was actually a lot closer than I thought it would be, but I was glad for it.
Soon we were back at the car, got the bikes loaded, our sweaty clothes replaced by clean ones, and then we were on our way back to town. We had promised ourselves lunch, and I think we earned it.
I will go back to these trails. I thought they were really fun, and the more I ride them, the more of it I will be able to ride. Now I have them mapped in my head, and will soon be able to anticipate what is around the next turn!
(All photos shot with my little point and shoot digital, a Canon Power Shot A1000IS)