They say that a watched pot never boils, so I’m going to write while the water’s heating, because I’m starving (surprise). Today ended up being a pretty big day as we decided to push on to Mud Springs for a wet camp. While we had enough water to make dinner and breakfast, there’s something comforting about knowing there’s going to be water in the morning. It was a dry, and long, and slow stretch from the Co-op windmill to here, 20 miles I believe.
But let’s start at the beginning.
The beginning was at the Econolodge, where, for our $50 room, we were treated to a continental breakfast, and continental breakfast leftovers (read: lunch). It really is a pretty good deal, beds for two people, breakfast for two people, and lunch for two people. And it’s an even better deal if you’re like me and can down 1000+ calories in one sitting.
And so, with full bellies, we headed out across Lordburg. The Payne brothers had dropped by the night before to see how our trip was and to drop off a spare tube they had for me. There seriously are no better souls on this earth than them.
Water boiling! Now it has to sit. Bah.
We headed out on the highway, thinking about how long and slow it would be on foot. Pushed along by a cross wind with a slight tailwind vector, 15 mph was easy, three times walking speed. Yikes.
We opted out of the cross country section out of town. It would have cut a corner, but looked sandy, and we were pretty happy having a nice paved warmup. It was all fun and games, and easy-ish cruising until we had to turn due east into the jaws of the wind. The long, straight road seemed to stretch forever and we knew we had a good number of miles on it.
We headed straight up into the hills on a variety of road ranging from smooth cruising to deep sand wallowing. We lamented so many times that we should have brought the fat bikes that even we got sick of our joke.
Up, up, up, and away. We stopped for lunch at the Co-op windmill and kept climbing to the top of our first constructed singletrack of the trip.
Oh my. It was fun. Decomposed granite, Buff Creek-style. It dropped for a while. It climbed some. It trended “contouring”, but I guess the whole earth trends contouring if you back out enough.
But it really was delightful trail.
We found our first thru-hiker, City Food, resting in the shade of a tree. We gave him our paper clip to pop blisters with. He not only had hiked from Crazy Cook, he’d hiked in there from Lordburg as well (with a little bit of hitchhiking). We stopped and chatted, he’d ridden coast to coast a couple of times and was amazed at our light loads. We left him in the wash and started up into the foothills of Burro Peak and Jack Peak.
We ran into an older, hippy-looking gentleman at the bottom of the climb,
“How’s the trail?” I asked.
“It goes up. The last time I told a biker what a trail was like, he came back and said that I didn’t say it was hard enough, so I don’t know what to tell you.”
It was, 50% rideable, on average. 40% for me, 60% for Scott. It took us nearly to the top of Jacks Peak, where we detoured to see the view, and the dropped into the saddle and started a burly hike a bike up Burro Peak. It’s now been renamed Burly Burro Peak.
The descent off the backside…whoooeeee. Duffy. Built for mountain bikers, Sweeping corners. No rocks. Pine trees. The hike a bike was soon forgotten. Until the trail turned to junk again. And then it turned good. And then to junk. True adventure riding.
So here we sit, at a somewhat questionable looking spring, one dehydrated meal warming my sleeping bag, and the other ready to eat. So it’s time to eat.
Thanks for reading!
“We shouldn’t go light on food leaving Lordsburg,” I remember saying. “I want to at least have the option of riding that new single track into Silver City.”
So, it really was fitting that we were sitting at the top of Red Rocks Road, easy bail-out to Silver City, counting the calories we had left. “I have a bag of Sour Skittles, a bag of Fritos, and 3 Mentos left,” I had said.
Scott had half a pack of Mentos and a Dr. Pepper.
From where we’d camped, it was possible to go down Deadman Canyon, which is the route that most thru-hikers take into Silver. But, there was 25 new miles of singletrack, that ended in a “burly” 1/2 mile bushwack to the highway. Or, there were two bailout options: Red Rocks or Saddle Rock Road, 9 miles farther down the trail.
The trail started out newly built, and built well, Well benched, contouring, all in all, pretty mountain bike friendly. Except for the parts that decided to go straight into a drainage and turn into a rubbly mess. There was some hike a bike, straight out of the Canelo Hills. The vegetation was the same too. Otherwise, the riding reminded us of Salida.
Fast, flowing, and just a little bit of awkwardness to keep us on our toes.
It was hard to pass up more trail when we hit Red Rocks, so we resigned ourselves to being hungry, and kept riding trail. It was the correct life decision as the trail turned out to be beautifully built with a very low BS factor, I was almost sad to hit Saddle Brook Road and turn down towards the highway, with 19 miles of amaze-balls trail behind us.
The road quickly turned sandy. Should’ve brought the fat bikes! No! We should have brought 29+ mid-fats! As two people who love squish, we both have a hard time understanding the 29+ craze. But, to each their own. I also don’t understand drop bars on anything other than a road or cross bike, but that’s just me.
It then narrowed down into nearly a slot canyon, providing us with walls of magenta rocks, and some more blue rocks to ride down. We’d been expecting a hum-drum ride down to the hallway, but it was anything but. This world continues to amaze me.
Soon, we were on the highway with 13 miles of mostly uphill to Silver City. Scott ate his last Mentos, I reminded him that I was still nursing half a bag of Skittles if he needed food. Five miles out, we were verging on bonking. Hungry, hot…we’d gone light on food.
Then I remembered, I have mango slices! And gummy mangos! Buried deep in my framebag, food I’d forgotten about. I won’t say it saved our lives, that would be an exaggeration, but it did save us from a pretty epic bonk.
We rode, dazed, into Silver where within 5 minutes, were flagged down by a gal, “Are you Scott and Eszter? I’ve been following your blog!” We got all the beta on where to go for lunch and headed straight to the new brewery in town. Thanks for the advice Kristen, it was fantastic!
The food was good, the beer, at least the Porter, was fantastic.
We headed back to Gila Hike and Bike for some supplies (a warm pair of socks for sleeping for me (I refuse to spend the next 3 months with cold feet at night), a new tube for me) and got the information on the trail closures north of town because of the fire. It looks like we’re going to be able to ride some trail out of town before having to bail onto roads to avoid burning areas. C’est la vie…c’est forest fire season.
After getting some gelato, we headed to the famed Bike House. Home to seven permanently, it’s a place where anyone traveling by bike is welcome. It’s been non-stop activity, hula-hoop making in one corner, bread making in the kitchen, various dinners being cooked. It almost makes me miss living in a communal situation. Almost.
Tomorrow we head north, probably two nights out to get to Pie Town where we’ll pick up our rain gear, a night there, and then another night out on the way to Grants. I plan on remedying the wrongs of 2012 – No soda at the Beaverhead work station and only eating one slice of pie in Pie Town.
Cell reception and internet may be non existent for a little while, but I promise we’ll be out there having the time of our live