Sunday, October 2, 2011

Not exactly the ride I had planned...

So I woke up (relatively) early this morning to take off on an all day adventure. The plan was to circle the San Francisco Peaks. I would go up the Arizona Trail from the Schultz Creek trailhead past Aspen Corner on Snowbowl Road, past Bismark Lake to forest road 418, then hike up Bear Jaw trail to Upper Waterline with the bike on my back, (Wilderness area...) where I would then ride down to the Inner Basin, then Lockett Meadow. From there, I'd take the acess road down to Schultz Pass road, where I'd hook up with Shultz Creek trail back down to where I started.


Because I want pictures of colorful aspens, and this route is sort of a grand tour of fall colors.

It didn't happen that way, and I didn't expect it to.

The day started off sunny enough as I cruised through town and started up the Arizona Trail:

Mature pines in the morning sun just look cool.

And soon I ended up at Snowbowl Road:

This is new! No more hopping over the barbed wire, and all new trail from here up!

Yeah... and from here up is all uphill to Aspen Corner, which was... 7 miles away. I was ready for it though.

But then, as I got towards the top, it started hailing. Nothing major, but hail non the less.

Now, I had been keeping an eye on the sky, and I had been watching the storm building up, and had dismissed the idea of riding around the peaks fairly early after the clouds started building. But I wanted to at least make it up to Aspen Corner. But Nature had other plans.

As soon as it started hailing, the camera and the phone went in a ziplock bag, and I started racing down the mountain like my life depended on it. What took me over an hour to climb, I came back down in less than 15 minutes.

Nothing gives me motivation to bomb it down a trail like weather.

I was almost to Snowbowl road at the bottom when I started hearing thunder. Close and loud thunder.

I was about 2 miles past Snowbowl road when I saw a tree get struck by lightning... something I've always wanted to see, but I would have preferred more distance. 300 feet is a little close. It was cool though... a big fat bolt of lightning came down and hit the tree, turning the whole trunk of the tree into light, as the thunder almost knocked me off the bike.

Oh yeah, and the tree was right next to the trail.

As I rode by, I could hear it hissing and crackling inside. Creepy.

The rest of the ride home was uneventful, and by the time I made it home, the storm had moved on eastward, and the sun was out. Go figure.

But, you know what? I think it worked out better this way.

From the time it started hailing and I turned around, to the time I got back in to town and the sun came out... I had the biggest grin the entire time. Not to mention lots of mud.

Besides... the aspens I passed were still green.
Mileage: 36.4

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