I bailed on the Saturday ride, too early for how cold it turned out to be but some people rode and then enjoyed bites and drinks afterward. Lots of people are riding Sunday but few are making their plans public. Someone is riding out of Carroll, OH but no definitive time and no definitive route, might be a ride starting from the base of Starner Road off Clear Creek Road south of Lancaster but nothing definite so you are on your own. Sorry bout that.
For Saturday, we have this sort of different route, starting at 10:00am from the Olde Towne Tavern with parking at the Franklin Park Conservatory (see map) https://ridewithgps.com/routes/12048565. The intent is to ride the route with a few regroups but no stop midpoint for a break. I'm kind of leaning toward a break in Lithopolis at mile 38. We exit and enter Columbus via a bike path so easy out and easy in.
The shadow of Punxsutawney Phil, yesterday, was not seen so that means rather than 6 more weeks of winter, the winter will soon be over!!!!!!! While I usually ignore this weather forecaster, especially if his shadow is seen, I take it as a positive sign. True, a coin flip has as good a chance but even a positive flip of the coin would be a promising sign to me. But wait.....that's not all.....
....did you notice....wait for it...............the average day time high temperature has begun to creep back up!!!!!! The lowest day time high cratered back around January 28th but now is tracking, inexorably HIGHER!. Not just here but if you are reading this anywhere in the northern hemisphere, the same holds true for you too. This is however, bad news if you live in places like New Zealand, Madagascar or Chile. This is my recollection from my days at Zanesville High School and that's been a long time ago so I can't say with certainty all of the above is factual.
What I can say with certainty is, the forecast for this weekend is looking pretty good so there will be an abundance of rides popping up on the schedule soon.
Scott Billman rolls in on his new winter beater bike, a cherry red Trek that kind of matches his kit. He got a price from the Trek store that was too good to pass up for this aluminum framed machine.
Others roll in, eventually totaling 18, including the bare legged and ride route innovator, Issac. Geesh, are those sun sleeves he is wearing? Everyone else had tights, gloves, jackets but not this man of steel. Corvair in the foreground, Eva behind her and the Ken Buddell resplendent in red.
Peggy Cook arrived and someone noted an unusually high concentration of women, 7. Juia Wu, Kim, Lisa Tyler, Eva, Corvair and Lori N.
We departed the parking lot and whether it be in season or out of season, had to pause at the exit but not for long as soon....
....we were cruising east on old 161 with strong winds buffeting the group out of the south. One gust rocked the group and we scattered but of course, quickly found our way together. Actually, hunkered slightly to the left of those in front of me, it wasn't too bad. Rumor had it winds were strong at the front for the duration but I did my part, complimenting each cyclist as they drifted from the front. My ability to provide moral support knows no equal.
We regrouped a couple of times, including at the top of the Morse Road climb out of the valley. We turned right here and then made a right on Weslyn Church that exposed us to winds roaring from the south. Dang, I was glad when we made a left on York Road and once more into the straight head winds. As usual, I spread good cheer to anyone who took a pull and drifted back. We lost a few as we crossed #16 on our way south but for the most part, the pace was civil and we arrived in Granville at mile.....
....28 with a 19.7mph average. I stayed outside of the River Road coffee shop but eventually, the chocolate chip cookie siren song worked and I trudged inside and bought one. As a cookie aficionado, not bad. Tym and Lisa bugged out for home, Peggy headed straight back, Philippe declined to stop and so our group got whittled down.
Isaac put the Beechwood climb on our way out of town and I discovered I was as tired there as I was when we entered Granville. I struggled to hang on and when we reached the right on Hardscrabble, I went straight with Dave C and Jim. Eventually I ended with 48 miles, yikes that wind out of the south/southwest was ferocious. The others ended with 55 miles while Eva and Corvair got in a healthy 60 due to a missed turn or two.
From in front of the Starbucks in New Albany, 10:00am start time, Sunday. There will be a few regroupings with an anticipated average speed of 18-19mph. Monitoring FB reveals Luke R, Lori N, Issac M, Travis, Kim, Eva, Travis I, Ken Buddell and a few others plan to attend. Forecast start temp is 47 with kind of strong winds out of the southwest. Here is the link to the route:
Tuesday and the start of the PGA Merchandise Show. The first day takes place on the largest driving range in the US, in the Orlando area. Body types are not like what I typically see at our group rides. Of course, hitting every club currently offered makes one thirsty so......
....here is an idea that maybe we should work into our group rides. And, of course one becomes hungry so....
....there are plenty of spots to grab food and sit in the Florida sun. Next two days are for wandering in the Orlando Convention Center, oh boy.
With all the focus on the impact of the winter storm on the east coast, deservedly so, there was some drama playing out in KY too. I learned of it Saturday morning when a friend texted me a 35 mile stretch of I-75 was closed. Listening to a Cincy radio station filled in some blanks. Thousands were stranded over night with emergency personnel visiting the area, delivering supplies. Having left my house at 8:30am, Saturday, I hoped it would be cleared by the time I arrived. Updates said the highway was reopened, then closed because of an accident, then reopened so when I arrived.....
....it was open but I had caught the back end of the traffic jam and had to wait 65 minutes. Could have been worse. I read a paper, took pics of passing emergency vehicles and counted 50 power trucks and tree trimming trucks headed north. No doubt they were going to I-70 and then east to lend a hand around the east coast. I arrived in FL mid afternoon on Sunday.
Monday, in Clermont, FL dawned sunny with a forecast high of 70. Andrew Clayton, who is spending the winter in Sebring, drove up to experience the hills of central FL. We got going at 10:00am with a temp around 52. We immediately entered hill country and of course I had to show him.....
....the famous Sugarloaf Mountain climb. In the distance, mist mostly hides a large lake but it is a beautiful spot and people stop all the time for the view.
Check out the jags on the profile of today's route. We could have stayed in hill country for the entirety of the ride but I figured I'd be good for too few miles so I took him west where at mile 37, we stopped in....
....Dewey Center for a break. Soon thereafter we headed back, reentering the hills before finishing with 64 miles and 2500' of climbing. Andrew's Garmin had us at 2700' but the above map has 1900'. Can't reconcile the difference.
Saturday, this is iffy, depending on how much snow falls overnight but a group is hiking out of Clear Creek Metro Park at the base of Starner Road, on a 9ish mile and kind of hilly route. Start time is 9:30am. Looks like the usual group of hardy hikers will be there but a Level 2 snow emergency rating, or worse, cancels. I won't be able to update so use common sense when you prepare to shove off on the drive down #33. If you know Flyin Tuna or Steve Oxley, they can give you the update Saturday morning.
Sunday, 11:00am start from in front of the New Albany Starbucks, 40ish miles to Granville for coffee. A ride led by Lori Nedescu who says it will be an off season pace. Who knows, maybe it will if the ponies can be harnessed. Perhaps a better indicator of the pace is knowing who, as of today, plans to be there. I see Kim, Julia Wu, Luke Russell, Ken Buddell, Travis I, maybe Meredith, Aaron Chancey, Mike Cauley.....
You know me, the colder, windier, drearier the conditions the more likely I will be on the bike but I have to head to FL for business but am taking the bike and will ride on Monday and maybe Tuesday. Look for the report from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain.
The forecast called for a 20% chance of rain with a temperature that would not move much around 33 degrees. So, naturally, it rained all the way to Nelsonville and then on to Zaleski State Park, rained lightly for the entirety of the hike and rained during the drive home later. Nice job forecasters! The parking lot was full, which I like to see.
The impressive Lake Hope Iron Furnace where between 1854-1874, iron ore was smelted. Apparently there was a community of people who live around it. Nice place to start a hike. There being both a north loop and a south loop, I chose the south loop as it is a little longer at 9.9 miles.
Around mile 3.5, I came to the lone overlook on the route. The view, when the sky is clear, is good and in the valley below is the Moonville railroad track and tunnel. Mark Clingan took us on a hike a few years ago where we dropped off this trail and hiked off trail to visit the tunnel. I happened to catch up with a couple of guys here, one of whom is in the image to the right.
Soon after visiting the overlook, the trail reaches a large lake, covered in ice on this visit. There is evidence of beaver activity in the area.
There are several shallow caves along the route, especially when nearing the point at which you leave the loop to return to the parking lot.
Note the orange paint on the tree in the above image. The trail is well marked and easy to follow. The trail was muddy today but not too bad. I arrived back at my car rather soaked, 2:35 hiking time with some running in there. Really glad I thought to bring a change of clothes.
I've posted a lot of images from around the top of Mount Lemmon in Tucson while riding up it or hiking on it but this is a different one, taken by someone this weekend after a cumulative 40" of snow has fallen in recent days. The view is from the Cookie Cabin in Sumerhaven. Ski Valley, another 1.5 miles farther up the mountain, is open and doing great business.
A good turnout of 19 on this dreary day with a game time temp of 47. Isaac said the sun was out as he drove in from the west and so too did a couple others. Reports of sun as near as Westerville so we were hopeful it would come east but it did not. A broad range of fitness so if you could not find someone with whom to ride you would have either been a pro or not very fit.. Pete C, Ken Buddell, Travis I, Chris G, Flyin Tuna, Eva, Larry P, Kim, Meagan, Sam Kieffer, Brandon, George P, Frank Seebode, Woody, Benton, Isaac M, Sergey and Mike.
We rolled out the usual way on pavement that was damp but not puddled with water so rarely did I swallow the cocktail of road juice flung from the back of a tire. Eva in blue just came back from a trip to Poland so she was making the usual and understandable noise about not being fit enough to ride with us but she had no problem that I could discern during the entirety of the ride.
Chris G had a brief mechanical prior to reaching the final New Albany stop light, regrouped just as the light was turning red so the group was split. However, by the time we made a left on Kitzmiller, we were together again. We got onto Jug, missed one left turn as Larry P, our route developer, was asleep at the switch but made the next left on Clover Valley. Within a few pedal strokes, Woody had a flat. I rode with the group, racked by guilt as I knew that he knew that I knew he had a flat. My conscience got the best of me at the right turn on Miller and I circled around.
I ran into Eva and Cindy, who informed me Larry had stopped with Woody and we would soft pedal until they caught up. About then, Cindy's front tire went flat. Unable to even get the tire off the wheel, I had to help. Although she has had as many flats as anyone, I don't think she has ever had to actually fix one since there is always someone around who falls for the helpless woman routine. It works though.
Meagan came riding along and so now there were four of us and soon, Larry and Woody arrived and not only were we now six but.....
...they took over the flat fixing effort and so soon we were back on the route, following it until Burg St, where we proceeded into Granville as planned, arriving at the 25 mile point.
As we exited the coffee shop, we saw Travis & Co, around 6 from the original group, waiting in front of the CVS and getting ready to shove off. I hear they had maintained a relaxed pace and regrouped several times. Their group had also had mechanical issues, including two flats and a broken spoke. Just as the "go" decision was made, Cindy discovered while we were in the coffee shop....
.....that front tire had gone flat again. Ack!!!!! Larry discovered what he thought to be a particle from an old flint arrow head lodged in the tire. Once removed, he completed the task of fixing the flat and we returned to New Albany with 47 miles. Hope we can get out again sooner rather than later.
Saturday, 10:00am start to allow fog to dissipate, behind Veloscience bike shop in New Albany. Larry P has come up with the below route but many/some of us will take Burg St into Granville and finish with 48ish miles rather than the 59 mile route shown here: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/11735229
Corvair making a point to The Donald and Mark Hemming just before we shoved off on a 10 mile, rolling hike from Old Man's Cave over to Ash Cave and then on to Cedar Falls prior to returning. The temperature was around 30 and sunny.
We decided, with likely icy conditions on the gorge trail, to leave it for later and take the rim trail. We paused at the damn overlooking the lake to make sure Jenn, Corvair and Frans knew where to turn and then Steve O, Mark, The Donald, Flyin Tuna and me continued on to......
.....Ash Cave and that neat water fall, which was running rather strongly due to recent rains. Mark H is an interesting guy and it turns out he was in Phoenix, hiking some of the same trails I hiked while I was out there. I think we'll meet up next fall and I can introduce him to some spots he has not visited. We climbed out of the gorge and hiked on to Cedar Falls, stopping at the....
....fire tower where Donald, Jenn and Corvair climbed to the top. Just when Mark reached the top, we took off. Ha, ha. After reaching Cedar Falls, I left the group to run back and upon reaching Ash Cave, I took the......
....gorge trail to Old Man's Cave. The trail received plenty of use and has eroded in places. Some trail work is needed and I wondered if anyone has taken a tumble into the river in some spots.
Several places the water cascades off the rim.
Eventually I reached the water fall at OMC and then headed up and out to the parking lot. Looks like we'll be doing the Wildcat Hollow, 15 mile hike next weekend or maybe the Zaleski 12 mile northern route. I'll post something on that soon. Well, back to splitting wood. I sold two cords last week, woohoo! I do it for the exercise (the splitting not the selling) and since I have way more than I can burn, I charge a very reasonable amount and provide way more than a cord.
You, yes you, are invited to participate with a group of fit and fun loving people, starting at 9:30am from the parking lot at Old Man's Cave. To get there, just head south on #33 and take the #664 Road exit, going to the right. You'll see us at a large parking lot about 10 miles from #33. We will hike from Old Man's Cave to Ash Cave and then on to Cedar Falls and return. Total distance is about 10 miles. Come to hike or run, whatever.
I used to hike frequently, back in the mid 90's at Wildcat Hollow, Zaleski State Park, Shawnee and Tar Hollow but have not since 2001. Partly cycling encroached on the time I otherwise would have hiked and partly because I clearly remember taking a long hike on one of these trails and was struck by how they were all pretty much the same. One mile of staring at tree trunks after another, rarely interrupted by a nice view. Someone hiked this last week and kind of put it back on my radar. I found an old map of the 15 mile trail, saw I had recorded all my past times and decided to see if I could cover the route in a similar time.
The first 2 miles there are numerous stream crossings that one must pause and decide how best to cross without soaking a foot. The streams were running kind of high from the recent rain so crossing where the trail entered the streams was usually not possible. Got past them all and passed some interesting rock formations and small caves.
The trail is easy to follow with white diamond shaped markings on tree trunks to also guide the way. I passed a couple of back packing groups but otherwise saw no one else. I had gotten off to a late start, not hitting the trail until a little after 11:30 so I was a little concerned about getting back prior to darkness but arrived back at the car prior to 4:00pm so all was good. Along with the 15 miles there was just over 2000' of climbing. Given the area, it surprised me there was not more climbing but the people that developed the trail did a good job routing it along ridge lines and valleys, rather than an up and down over every hill.
My oldest daughter, Stephanie, in the hospital to deliver her first child...opps....well that glass of wine is the celebratory glass, after the fact.....
....of the arrival of the little dude there on the right, with a lot of hair. Mom and son are doing great and yes, if you are wondering, I am now officially a grandfather. I think that grants me certain privileges within the peloton.
Conner, a visitor from Atlanta, 18 years old and a member of the Georgia Tech bike team swivels his head to watch Flyin Tuna remove her bike. No doubt he was thinking, "how did I get myself into this group?" This week he has ridden to Utica, Granville, Lancaster but wanted to check out a group ride. I put the word out to attract the area's limelight's but many were out of town so Conner was left with the remnants.
Scott Billman rolled in so that was good and so too did Mike Cauley, to join schleps like me, The Kendaistas, Larry P and Lisa A, Aaron C, Meredith and Kim.
The twelve of us rolled out old 161 but soon made a left on Mink, worked our way to Alexandria then the small hill on Moots, right on Lobdell then through the Granville high school parking lot and on into Granville. We discovered Village Coffee was closed so rolled down to River Road where they run out of bagels by 9:00am and service is slow but what are you going to do? I was the first to arrive and found Jon Morgan waiting for us, how bout that?!?! While waiting to order, Jon bought my drink, a hot chocolate and I wished I had ordered an expensive glass of wine instead.
Then we settled for the window views, consumed our consumables, chatted a bit and headed back. Kim, Meredith and Aaron had shoved off long before us so our group was diminished a bit. We crossed #16 and hit the rollers on Canyon, which produced a natural selection of an "A" and "B" group. The A group waited a couple of times for the B group but we urged them to go on without us so we had about 5 in the A and 5 in the B and finished with 46 miles and no rain, although it soon hit. Yuck.
The current forecast for Saturday shows rain holding off until 2:00pm so a group will depart behind Veloscience in New Albany at 9:30am, bound for Granville, following the route below. Off season pace but if you want to ride faster, more power to ya. Given the forecast for the balance of the year, this may be our last chance for an outdoor ride. Rain at the start cancels the ride. Here is the gps file: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/11583128
And so, another Christmas has arrived. A bit different in that I rode 40 miles today, Christmas Eve, with a good buddy and rode 30 a couple of days ago which contrasts with bitter cold of the last couple of years. Saturday is looking good for a morning ride but we shall see. I have someone planning a ride and more on that soon. Meantime, Merry Christmas to you all!!!!!
One of my favorite days on the calendar, December 21st. Is it because it is the first day of winter? Good heavens no! Is it because whatever is my age, today I am officially 1/2 a year older (birthday is 6/21)? Not a chance. It is because the relentless march of expanding darkness has come to an end. Daylight begins to regain what has been lost. The sun will begin to rise and begin to set at about the same time tomorrow but then a minute at one end and a minute at the other and soon, those minutes will begin to add up. At some point soon, after multiple cloudy days, a day of sun will arrive and we'll notice the sun is setting later. Hooray!!! In time we'll notice the sun sets after 5:30pm! Then 6:00pm, then there will be a time change and it will be 7:00 freakin PM!!! Then we'll begin to think about evening rides and way later, Ric Noland and Rick Miller will begin to post a ride schedule!!!!!! THEN GET THIS! The creeper will return to the area parking lots to take unflattering images of you and put them on the blog and you will flock by the tens of thousands to see if you can be seen while you ignore the poorly written reports. Yes, it is all about to happen again but.....
....in the meantime, there are a lot of cloudy, rainy/snowy days ahead. Stay strong my friends.
What are you going to do when the high is 35, go hiking of course. We got off to a rough start when Flyin Tuna locked her keys in the car but fortunately had the trunk open so was able to crawl in. That Flyin Tuna. We finally got organized and headed off with sunny skies and strong winds out of the Artic Circle. Tuna, Steve O, Engineer Mitch, Eva, The Donald, Mark V and me.
An interesting dynamic, Tuna would lead up the hills and then on the down hills, The Donald would surge to the front like a bowling ball on a down hill lane. Pretty strong pace, 3-3.3mph most of the way on the hilly route out of Clear Creek Metro Park.
At 5 miles, we reached our destination, an overlook with fine views of the restroom. However, the wind was so strong. it was suggested we head down hill to a lake.
Each of us produced our snacks and drinks. Eva, on the left brought out a bag of Reese Cups and we all eagerly accepted at least one except for The Donald, who was content to drink a Mountain Dew and other unhealthy snacks (who carries a Dew with them on a hike?). We headed back but Mitch opted for a flatter return via Clearcreek Road and I had to be back home by 2:30 so at some point I too took a more direct route and finished with 10.5 miles and around 2400' of climbing.
Clear Creek Metro Park at the parking lot off Starner Road, 10:00am, 9-11 mile hike. Kind of a hilly route with one stop for refueling. Bring appropriate fluids and a snack. Head south on #33 then make a right on Clear Creek Road at the gas station. Follow the winding road until you reach Starner on the left, That is where a group comprised of old and young, fit and unfit, sober and drunk, will be gathered.
I've always said I am a warm weather, active guy and to that I should add, a mountain guy too. I love the mountains. I stare at them whenever they are in sight. A day out here never goes by where I don't say at least once, "Wow, look at that." and usually, what causes that reaction has something to do with the mountains. So, I was giddy when Tuesday arrived and I was set to hike not only to the Cleaver (shown above through the saguaros) but also Bighorn Mt. Neither of the two have I previously summited and it would require mostly an off trail bush whack to reach.
After 1.5 miles of trail hiking on Pima Canyon trail, today's hiking buddy, Amy, paused to place a pair of shin guards over her shins in anticipation of encountering various thorny plants including the dreaded "shin daggers" of which there would be thousands ahead of us. Amy is a heck of a hiking partner because she can more then keep up and she packs. With her, suddenly no destination is off limits.
While I waited for her wardrobe change, I stood on a boulder and wondered what animal deposited this. I see animal scat all the time so no big deal. This pair of shoes, "Trek" brand have been good and I'll acquire another pair when they wear out, which likely coincides with the end of this hike. Originally, two others were going to join us on this hike but they opted out the night before, concerned about the rocks being wet from an overnight rain/snow event.
After slogging steeply up a gorge, working around and through thick brush, we reached a saddle to the right of the Cleaver. The views were awesome. It took us two hours to reach this point which was only a little over 2 miles from the parking lot.
Then we climbed the above. The Cleaver is a narrow wedge of rock but other than the opening 30', not difficultm just friggin steep.
At the top, we could see our next destination, Bighorn Mountain. Unfortunately the way forward was blocked by a several hundred foot drop so we would have to retrace our route to the base of the Cleaver prior to proceeding on our journey.
We found and signed the summit register. Probably this peak receives fewer than a visit a month.
Not being able to see the expression on my face, it could best be described as a cross between dread and anticipation for what was coming.
We reached the bottom of the Cleaver and hiked to the west of the obstruction before going to the right and reaching another saddle, before heading up.
Amazing how quickly the Cleaver stopped being a prominent feature to....
...practically insignificant on the landscape. Hard to believe we stood on the top of that about an hour ago.
The top of Bighorn was very rocky. We could not find a summit register here although some where under the smaller rocks I have read one is located. We snacked, drank and decided not to attempt to reach Table Mountain, at least an hour away. Instead, we looked at the terrain below us and decided to hike to a ravine and follow it to another prior to reaching the Pima Canyon trail.
While I am a tiny bit stronger on the climbs, Amy is a goat on the descents and I struggled to keep up. I have learned that if she says a section is "probably doable" I have learned to interpret that as "suicidal". On the slick rock above, having no viable safe option, I simply sat on my butt and shoved off, hoping I could slide down and not break an ankle on the impact below. Made it. The route continued to be a series of obstacles that we either shoved through, sought a way around or plunged down a slide. I began to doubt we would make it out prior to dark and suddenly.....
....we stumbled onto the trail. I kid you not, I was so overcome with relief I knelt and kissed the trail. We had about an hour to cover the 1.5 remaining miles so made is safely to our cars. 8.5 miles and 8.5 hours to cover the distance with around 4500" of climbing. Awesome and am glad I can cross those peaks off the bucket list. This is one of those hikes I am glad I completed but not sure I would do it again. It took a long time to pull all the spines out of my legs and arms. Well, this brings me to a close of another very fun time in Arizona. Looking forward to participating and reporting on a series of rides/hikes in Ohio but in the back of my mind, the clock is ticking towards the return to AZ, late February, 2016.
The beginning of a fantastic hike but this was taken on Saturday, following an overnight rain. Thick, low clouds remained and I completed the 10 mile hike but was intrigued by what I did not see so wanted to do it again. The above is taken from the First Water trail head and to it I returned on Sunday when the day was sunny. There is not a lot of information on this hike so I'm describing this partly for those who find this site and may find it of interest.
From the parking lot, walking a short distance via First Water and then making a right at Dutchman's Trail, you will hike to where Dutchman's ends at the Black Mesa trail, the intersection shown above. To the right there is a low saddle. Head toward the low point in the saddle as you are now officially off trail. Somewhere in the walk up you will probably find a faint trail or a few cairns. That will give you comfort but all you want to do is reach the saddle and then drop into.....
....the creek bed. Pay close attention to where you enter as it will be here you will want to exit on your return. On your return, you will be boulder hopping and it would be easy to miss the exit point. Turning to your right, begin hiking, staying in the creek bed. According to my Garmin, I entered the creek at mile 4.4.
The creek enters what is called "The Fortress". rock spires tower over you as the creek curves through the formation.
You may notice an old mine on the left. Prospectors searched for gold in many places within the Superstitions. This opening was dynamited years ago.
After 0.20 miles, you reach a narrow canyon on the left. Exit the creek where there should be a cairn. There slightly left of center is Aylor's Arch and Palomino Mountain. your destination. The "trail" is on the left but each time I hiked, I had to climb the rock slope on the left and then slide to the right side to access the trail. Once on the trail, cairns will show the way and depending on use, a faint trail can also be followed.
The ascent is about .5 miles and gains 600' so kind of steep. Looking back, you discover you gain elevation quickly.
Toward the top, the brush is thick but no cactus so not too difficult to push through. The people who blazed this route were trying to get to their destination by the most direct way possible. As such, the route is not made of switchbacks to lessen the pain of the ascent. Take care going up and down some very steep sections with gravel and poor footing.
The route emerges from the canyon at the edge of an abyss with great views but the summit is up a short section to the left where you will find a mailbox placed in 2012. I counted 12 visits in the registry for 2015 so an average of one a month. The view of Weaver's Needle, something that mesmerizes me, are awesome. The only access to the summit is via the drainage you fought through and now are surrounded on 3 sides by vertical. Be careful walking around.
Same spot on Saturday with the clouds.
You will lose sight of Aylor's Arch about half way up the climb and you can not see it from the area of the mailbox. You can not reach the arch without climbing gear but it is possible to get a closer view. This site:http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=226 does a great job describing that option. Looking from the area of the mailbox, you will see a spine of rock with a sloped ledge. Like me, you probably will think that is the way forward but it is a dead end. Instead, if you wish to explore farther, you will work your way to the base of the above and then hike to the right and down. BE CAREFUL!
after working your way down the slope, more great views but turn....
...to the base of the next ridge. See that narrow opening on the left, that is your destination. Climb up towards and through the opening where at that point, you scramble to.....
....the top of the ridge. Beyond, sloping away and a shortish walk away is the top of Aylor's Arch. The area above the arch is narrow and you SHOULD NOT WALK OVER THE ARCH!!!! It is about the diameter of a midsize tree trunk so I doubt it would hold the weight of a walk over. Slowly I stood and walked forward but the exposure got to me. Turning at a glacial pace.....
....I looked back from where I came. I walk every day and I can't recall ever tripping and falling but put me on this narrow, uneven ridge of rock with hundreds of feet of vertical on either side and suddenly I question putting one foot in front of another. It is exhilarating standing up there, no doubt.
I looked down at the Peralta Trail and saw some people watching me. They waved, I waved and yelled "Come on up." They laughed. Again, the views are freakin incredible and may be the best in the Supes. I clambered down, returned to the mailbox, gathered my stuff and headed back. It took me exactly 2 hours to travel the 5 miles to the summit. More than that on the return. The descent is sketchy.
Fortunately, the Dutchman's Trail is in good shape and while a few sections are like the above, crummy, many are flat and can be jogged.
When you can lift your head, the views, geesh. The Superstitions are a treasure trove of sights and destinations. Amazing. Ya know, hardly a day goes by when I don't think or say out loud, "Wow, look at that." Those days are coming to a close but I have one day left and an absolute gem of a hike coming on Tuesday. Not done it before and not one on which I will freak out and turn around. I'm in with a hard core group for this one.
On Saturday, I had the option of joining a group hiking to Apache Peak. It required a 20 mile drive on a rough dirt road so I decided not to subject my car to that. It rained overnight but at higher elevations, it snowed so here is the group of 6 at the peak. Very windy, temp around 20, snow squalls, nasty but also they saw....
....mountain lion tracks and.....
....bear tracks. I ran into a camp on a hike yesterday, the base camp for an archeological dig. A guy was there keeping an eye on supplies while the others were working. He is a local who owns a farm in a nearby valley. The forest service told him there are 20 different lions that transit his property yet the guy has never seen one. They are very elusive.
Check out this route for a group departing from Starbucks in New Albany at noon. If you attended today's ride out of Newark and found the pace lacking, this is the one for you! Reportedly, some of those attending are peloton stars like Ken Buddell, Lori N, Luke Russell, Travis, Porter R, Scott B, Kim, Geoff Clark, etc... There is also a ride led by Larry P and Lisa A, departing McNamara Park at 10:00am, headed to Granville and back but I don't have the route.
Today's ride out of the Newark YMCA to Bladensburg was attended by the above as well as a couple others who did not stop for pancakes. Notably missing from the above image was the birthday girl. none other than Flyin Tuna but.....
....Flyin was there, seated alone because she goes after food like NBA centers go after rebounds, elbows flying and lots of motion so it was best to give her room.
Enjoyed an epic hike today with awesome views and rain! More to come, later.
Mark is a long-time cyclist who enjoys poking fun at himself but most especially at his friends. No nicknames or comments are intended to offend, accept them in the humor they are intended.