We made the maiden bikepacking voyage last weekend with lofty plan of making a giant loop including Mt Elden, going around San Francisco mountain and all the way down to Walnut Canyon. Trail GPXs and suggestions courtesy of Mr. Ray.
The ride started out in the parking lot of Safeway - just east of Buffalo Park in Flagstaff. My riding buddy (Mr. DB) and I departed Saturday at 1015 and headed for Mt Elden via Pipeline to Rocky Ridge up Schultz until we hit AZT.
$hit got real when we passed Snow Bowl Road and proceeded to climb the AZT. Carrying extra 25 lbs and compromised handling tested our will. Somehow we pushed on and decided to refill our water at the Ski Resort in Snow Bowl via Aspen Nature Loop Trail.
The lower section of the ski lodge was closed due to a wedding so we had to climb another 1/4 mile to the upper section where the restaurant was open. We had lunch, refilled the water and pressed on.
We enjoyed a sweet wee ride down AZT trail through most beautiful aspen tree forest, we hit the fire roads and passed the north side unceremoniously. Then came another test of will. The climb up to Lockett Meadow - 1300 ft in 4 miles - while dodging cars and inhaling their dust. By the time we got there, we were done for the day. It was around 7pm - we found a nice place to camp.
The moonlight was insane that Saturday, it was so bright it looked like an UFO just landed 1/4 mile away. It was eerie. Of course that didn't help with my anxiety first night of wild camping ever. Every little rustle and noise kept me awake. Of course that is why I brought the ear plugs and sleeping pills.
In the morning, we realized we had another 1000 ft to climb - so it was a nice warm up. We were then rewarded with a long descent down Waterline Rd. with beautiful vistas of Coconino National Forest. We made it down to the Schultz Tank and took AZT east to I-89. We refilled and ate at the Conoco gas station and proceeded south on AZT towards Walnut Canyon.
By the time we hit I-40 we were out of water. The sun exposure and heat was relentless (although it was only mid 80's). Being out of water in the urban setting is not as scary though.
Mr. DB bought us a watermelon at the Safeway. We stopped later at Five Guys for some fine burgers and great soda options.
Here is the ride map. My Garmin quit on me for whatever reason so there is a straight line thru Humphrey's Peak.
Mountain Bike Ride Profile | Flagg Superloop (90miles) - with missing garmin data near Flagstaff | Times and Records | Strava
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