June 23-24 Prescott, AZ
We loved Prescott! SO many trails! We weren't sure if we were even going to visit Prescott or not. I called a bike shop (High Gear) and talked to a kid named Travis. He said, "You have to come to Prescott, it is one of the best places to ride in AZ! Stop by the shop, I'll show you where to ride!" Okay! Well then! To Prescott we go! I made a little navigation error and pointed us in the shortest route over a giant mountain. We went over Mingus mtn through Jerome along this narrow, winding road. Whoops. A mouse popped out of our hood (probably got too hot in there) and proceeded to hunker down on the windshield. I took his picture; we named him Mingus. Once in Prescott, we visited the bike shop and spoke with a lady, who wasn't that helpful, but did give us a pretty good over view map of the area. While we stood there looking it over, Travis came by. He showed us which trails to take, in what direction, how long it would take, gave us directions . . . the works. Speaking with people like that inspires you. He was so excited about riding and helping us. We couldn't have hoped for better advice. He also told us about a swimming hole on the way to Sedona! We hit the trail. We started with the Thumb Butte area, which was okay. Lots of trails, single track, secret single track and a very long climb up a dirt road to a picturesque overlook. It wasn't our idea of the perfect ride, but it was pretty good. In the AM, we hit the Lynx Lake trail. Travis had recommended this as a possible night ride, but we were in the area, so we hit it in the daylight. The trail was intended for an out and back and climbed steady, but not too bad, all the way out. It was twisty and narrow. I wasn't in the best mood, sorry Eric, and we ended up trying to make a loop that took us an even greater climb. Eric kept saying, "It's that next ridge, I'm sure of it." We were missing part of the loop to the edge of the map and so we really didn't know if it was going to loop. We ended up doing a hike-a-bike motorcycle trail over a mountain and finally made it back to the camper by 3pm. I am not a huge fan of those types of rides. They're frustrating and exhausting. I am a fan of super fun rides like Granite Basin. After a nice meal, we hit the best trail in the area, Granite Basin. We started from the Cayuse day use area on trail 347. The map recommended we do the loop in the opposite direction, but Travis said, "oh no, you want to go this way." We couldn't believe how fun it was, looping with whoopties. It was like a dessert garden. There were plants flowers and rocks, my goodness, it was amazing and fun. Even the climb was fun. There were big boulders to challenge you and scenic rock formations. We came to a lake that had all the noises of a jungle (birds that sounded just like monkeys). Duck families were swimming in the water grass and the sun was just above the horizon. We were only 2 miles from the car, so we weren't worried about making it back before dark. We thought we had a little more climbing ahead of us, which we did, but we didn't realize we had a mile of awesome downhill too. We got back to the RV and considered taking it again with the headlamps. We didn't. Instead, we headed into town for supplies. Juice, popsicles, crunch-n-munch, ya know, the necessities.
June 24 -- Prescott Spruce Mtn, Beaver Creek (Crack in the Rock, Bell Trail)
We enjoyed our time in Prescott. Not only are the trails pretty decent and close to town (you could ride in any direction from your house and have access to great riding), but the community was not your typical tourist town. We decided to hit the trail hard and then head to a little place just South of Sedona that you could hike 3.5 miles into a natural swimming pool. SWEET! The trail was up Spruce Mtn called the Groom Loop or something close to that. We had been spoiled the night before on the Granite Basin trails and now found the climb to be brutal. It wasn't that steep, but loose and rocky. Instead of making water-bars that you could ride over, they put in giant logs that were nearly impossible to make over without a good run at it. I just accepted the fact that I wasn't going to make it and got off to carry my bike over many of them. Eric tried harder. By the time we were 0.4 miles away from the lookout, we were both burnt out and decided to stop and eat at a non-scenic log section. This worked out fine because the lookout wasn't really a look out. It was a radio tour in the middle of some trees. The way down was much more fun (why is it always like that?). The trail was nothing special and we probably wouldn't go back there. By now, it was after lunch and we headed north towards Sedona. We filled up for $2.34/gallon! Nice one.
The hike was fun, but a little stupid. The ranger lady told us that we could stay at the campground for $15/night, but we couldn't park at the trailhead. Then we told her that we were driving to Sedona after the hike and wouldn't need to camp at the campground. This conversation continued like this for a good 15 minutes. By the end, Eric and I thought the trail started in the campground. We parked our RV and trailer out past the campground on a forest service road and started hiking around the campground, only to learn that the trailhead was at the ranger station. Out of the entire conversation with the ranger, she did not tell us what the trail was called or that it literally started 100 ft from the station. I think she was so concerned we were going to camp at the ranger station, she forgot to tell us about the trail. Anyhow, an hour later, we finally left on our hike in search of the swimming hole. Because the trail enters wilderness, we couldn't take the bikes, which was really lame since the trail was 10 feet wide and maybe a 1% grade. It was hot! By the time we hit the wilderness (3 miles in), we were out of juice. We thought that we were supposed to stay on the same trail the whole way, based on the information learned at the rangers station, and hiked .7 miles in the wrong direction. We turned back, found the correct trail, hiked an additional .5 miles in the right direction and found the swimming hole. It wasn't the cascading pools that we had imagines, but it was cool and wet. That was all I needed. There were small cliffs to jump off, which I loved, and plenty of warm rocks to hug if you got too cold. After swimming, we hiked out, making it to the RV just as the light faded into night.
June 25 -- Sedona, AZ
Yesterday, we did the tour of Sedona. We started on a fun trail called Baldwin cruised to cathedral rock where I took a major spill. I was following too close to Eric and didn't realize that we were about to start a technical downhill. I managed to spread the impact over my entire body, so very little blood lost. Good. We continued on to Little Horse, Chicken Point and Broken Arrow. By now, we were running low on water and tired of being out in the sun. I tried to be a good sport for the rest of the day, but I was getting cranky. We decided to head into town for a slurpy, but ended up at a Mexican food restaurant and loaded up on enchiladas, tacos, rice, the works. Our waiter brought a giant pitcher of ice water for us to fill our camelbaks before heading back out on the trail. From town, we hit the Airport loop followed by Old Post and some other fun trails and ended up back at the MH. We were both pretty tired and dirty. In the interest of fresh bike clothes, we decided it was time to stay at an RV park for the night. This, to us, is a luxury. In addition to a picnic table next to a few dozen other RVs, there are showers. Their showers you can stand in all night if you wanted because you don't have to worry about hot water, filling tanks or running out of fresh water. They have laundry, which you do have to pay for, but don't require sitting at a laundry mat for a couple hours. They have power, which allows us to turn on our AC and charge our phones, computer, camera batteries, bike lights, turn on the lights, use the microwave . . . the options are endless (nearly). They also have high speed internet, which for obvious reasons is nice. Sedona has one RV park and although a little expensive, was totally worth the cost.
Today, we got up at 6:30 and started going through the motions, breakfast, pick some trails, look at the map, weather . . . and then we heard thunder followed by rain. Instead of being disappointed, I was relieved. My body is so tired and sore and my neck is stiff. I took a nap after breakfast (finally made it to full-on vacation mode) and Eric continued to plan a ride despite the rain. When the clouds cleared and the sun appeared Eric left for a ride and I am sitting here enjoying the birds, the cool air and the peace and quiet. Below are our pics from yesterday's adventure. (Trying something new, so that the pictures don't end up so crazy)