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  1. #1
    Tucson, AZ
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    Gila River Scramble [pic heavy]

    After missing Scott and Lee's adventure in the Gila River basin, I asked Scott to go again, only in the opposite direction. It did not take much convincing to get him to go again. If you saw his pictures, you will know why. The pictures seem to come alive this time of year.

    The opposite direction meant climbing up the Ripsey Segment of the Arizona Trail.



    Plenty of wildflowers to enjoy while painfully climbing up Ripsey.
    Picture courtesy of Scott


    We made a little "Switchback Attack Game" to make things even more interesting. The winner, we decided would receive an ice cream cone from La Casita. Who can clean the most switchbacks on Ripsey? The game began!

    Scott was climbing like a champ at the beginning; he even managed to get a 4 point lead.



    My only hope to catching him was the descending, but first...



    ...we had to enjoy one of my favorite places in southern Arizona, the top of Ripsey. Each tight switchback is worth every second on the top of this heavenly place. It was made even better by the fact that we were going in the opposite direction, thereby allowing even more time to see and enjoy every section.




    The descent of the "big hill" would be the deciding factor in the switchback game.




    2-0, Scott was ahead. If he nailed this one I would surely lose.





    Uh oh!





    He pulled it Scott was the winner.

    We stopped at the bathtub spring for some more water. This would be the last place to refuel on water before Box Canyon.



    The classic moment was when I yelled, "Snake, snake! What don't you understand about snake!" to Scott and he continued dumbfounded to ride toward the snake. He pulled up his wheel in a last ditch effort...the snake was not really happy that we had awoke his slumber in the sun.




    Ready to strike.




    Scott and I (mostly Scott) started to hit some B-lines as we headed over to the infamous Area 52.



    We started off in the toilet tubes, Scott heading up the first steep tube that was "rideable." He nearly made it to the top of the steepest section.



    I went up next nearly cleaning the steep section.


    Photo courtesy of Scott Morris

    Let me take a quote from Scott's blog here: Unfortunately, spanking the chutes would be the last impressive thing Chadís bike would do.




    At the bottom of the toilet tube, I realized my frame had cracked in two different places. A moment of sadness fell over me before I quickly started to think about what this meant for me. We were well in the middle of a bikepacking trip and I had plans for more bikepacking this week.



    There was only one thing to really do, enjoy Area 52 on Scott's bike. One person rode...



    ...while the other person ran around taking pictures. Brillant idea since it led to a handful of pictures.



    Area 52 is a special place, it takes an experienced mountain biker to really appreciate some of the lines here.

    Picture courtesy of Scott Morris



    Picture courtesy of Scott Morris

    Despite the broken frame and the uncertainty of getting back to the car, I went to bed thinking of all the rides I had done on the orange Leviathan...it was a great frame, easily the greatest bike I have ever owned.

    Photo by Scott Morris

    At least one of its last moments was spent at Area 52, spanking the toilet tubes. More from Day 2 tomorrow.

  2. #2
    Tucson, AZ
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    Area 52 would have to wait for another day.



    The mandatory camp site huck on Scott's bike was the first thing we did after breakfast. The plan of attack was to head in the direction of the car, periodically checking the frame as we continued.



    We headed down, Scott choosing fun, rocky lines as I would try to baby the bike over the smoothest lines.



    It seemed to be working, so much that we even opted for a powerline road that eventually led to singletrack and 2 places to get water from a wildlife tank.



    Since the frame was holding together, we opted for some new-to-me AZT singletrack on the north side of the Gila River. Flowers and flowers lined the trail.










    Some pretty amazing rock work went into building this trail.




    It was an out-n-back and there was plenty of spots to stop and take it all in.



    I think Scott uttered a few times "oh sweet, another break."




    I decided to really give "oran-gee" one last go at singletrack and "raced" the last few miles of singletrack. Despite the broken frame, we managed to still ride 12 hours with 10,000 feet of climbing.

    New frame (along with a Behemoth) should arrive in the next week. Here is to many more bikepacking trips on a (new, blue) Leviathan.

  3. #3
    !@#$%&!
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    Looks fun!

  4. #4
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    Wow!! Those were some awesome fotos!! The sunset one and the wilflower ones should be sent to Bike Magazine! They would definetly get published!

  5. #5
    Tucson, AZ
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    Bump...cooler temperatures are here, which means this area [pun intended] needs to be ridden more.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by azepicriderandrunner
    Bump...cooler temperatures are here, which means this area [pun intended] needs to be ridden more.

    Dude....I seriously was just thinking about wanting to ride the "most beautiful ridge line trail" in AZ, maybe any where, yesterday.


    When are you going, does one need to do an overnight to ride it? I'll come south....if timing works.
    b

  7. #7
    Flaccid Member
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    Stunning, even though the days are getting shorter and the spring flowers aren't in bloom this time of year. Great stoke there AZepicrider

  8. #8
    "No Clue Crew"
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    Those are some COOL photos!!!! Nice job!.............Drew

  9. #9
    Break it, Fix it, Ride it
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    I drooled over this about a month ago. I'd very much like to do this as a bikepacking trip. How big of a ride is it if one rode in from Picketpost? The only map I've seen is the 3D one Scott posted for his ride with Lee, which provides only minimal info. Did you guys put in at Kelvin? Mileage? Getting out of (or into) Box Canyon looks like some pretty wicked jeep trail. Oh, boy....I feel the AZT calling again.
    Today's the day I eat bikes.

  10. #10
    Eroding into the trail
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    Awesome pics!
    Stunning flowers.
    Never seen pics of the toilet tubes before, looks like ancient lava tubes.
    +1 on the idea to submit your pics to a magazine.
    Post the ride pics up on pinkbike to showcase Arizona's awesome trails.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
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    Those photo's are killer, I think you found peace and a little bit of Gnar out there,
    Check out some great MTB gear @ www.evomo.com

  12. #12
    sprocket
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    good stuff!

  13. #13
    jimfab
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    Lets go, whatcha doin tommorow?

  14. #14
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    A good way to try to come up with a ride for this area is to grab a bunch of tracks for races in that area and overlay them to check out your options using Topofusion. I think when I was trying to put together something in that area I used the full AZT, AZT 300, Antelope Peak Challenge all open in Topofusion at once. Maybe something else, but those three I think were enough to get an idea of some of the possibilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dag Nabbit
    I drooled over this about a month ago. I'd very much like to do this as a bikepacking trip. How big of a ride is it if one rode in from Picketpost? The only map I've seen is the 3D one Scott posted for his ride with Lee, which provides only minimal info. Did you guys put in at Kelvin? Mileage? Getting out of (or into) Box Canyon looks like some pretty wicked jeep trail. Oh, boy....I feel the AZT calling again.

  15. #15
    Break it, Fix it, Ride it
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonebone2000
    A good way to try to come up with a ride for this area is to grab a bunch of tracks for races in that area and overlay them to check out your options using Topofusion. I think when I was trying to put together something in that area I used the full AZT, AZT 300, Antelope Peak Challenge all open in Topofusion at once. Maybe something else, but those three I think were enough to get an idea of some of the possibilities.
    I did that with the AZT route I have but didn't think about putting up the Antelope Peak route. I'm not really familiar with that route. I'll have to pull that off the google group. Good idea. I was already tracing jeep trail out of Box Canyon last night too.... I really want to get up on that Ripsey segment.
    Today's the day I eat bikes.

  16. #16
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    Let me know what you come up with. I didn't get enough recon in before it got hot this spring to actually do it. I was also trying to do it as a day ride though. And by day ride I mean a day ride for me, not a day ride in Chad's terms.

  17. #17
    It's a slugfest!
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    Very nice pics and writeup. Why didn't this post get more comments the first time around? That seriously looks like some sweet terrain.

    -SS
    "I've got nothing to hoard...."

  18. #18
    Scott in Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dag Nabbit
    I drooled over this about a month ago. I'd very much like to do this as a bikepacking trip. How big of a ride is it if one rode in from Picketpost? The only map I've seen is the 3D one Scott posted for his ride with Lee, which provides only minimal info. Did you guys put in at Kelvin? Mileage? Getting out of (or into) Box Canyon looks like some pretty wicked jeep trail. Oh, boy....I feel the AZT calling again.
    There's a little info here:

    http://www.bikepacking.net/routes/gila-river-ramble/

    Not many details, but there is a full GPS file.

    We started just outside Kelvin, mostly because it is closer/easier to drive to from Tucson. You could start from Picketpost and do that first section and the Box as an out and back to the loop. It's a bit of a bear getting back to Picketpost from the Box, though -- the Orphan Boy climb is steep!

    I can't wait to get out in this area again... the time is nigh.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  19. #19
    Break it, Fix it, Ride it
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    There's a little info here:

    http://www.bikepacking.net/routes/gila-river-ramble/

    Not many details, but there is a full GPS file.

    We started just outside Kelvin, mostly because it is closer/easier to drive to from Tucson. You could start from Picketpost and do that first section and the Box as an out and back to the loop. It's a bit of a bear getting back to Picketpost from the Box, though -- the Orphan Boy climb is steep!

    I can't wait to get out in this area again... the time is nigh.
    Excellent! Thanks. You'd think with all the time I've spent at work looking at that site I'd have come across that. Been thinking of Picket post to the Gila river and back as a long day trip for a bit now - adding some exploration at Area 52 adds some more incentive. Nothign wrong with making a day on the bike just a little bit longer. Of course to bikepack it is really the way to go....
    Today's the day I eat bikes.

  20. #20
    Scott in Tucson
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    Yeah, check the moving time on the track. IIRC, it was 12 hours at least. It would be a doable, but very hard day ride. Adding picketpost would make it impossible with current daylight limits... but you wouldn't have to do the whole loop I suppose.

    Bikepack is the way to do, IMO.

    Enjoy, and post up pics if you go.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

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