Sunday, October 16, 2011

Indian Pass road

I am a reckless asshole, was going to be the name of this post. I know this could be the title of a few of my post, but this one I felt it during my recklessness.

I failed to do the proper research on this one. This was another find on the CA BLM site. I looked on google maps and it was there. A "road" that runs from near the imperial dunes to the Colorado river. I assumed it would be a nice drive with some good view. The road started off fine, graded well marked.

Then you hit the Indian Pass. From there you head down into Gavilan Wash. Just heading from the top of the pass to the wash is a pretty bad road. From here on there are no marking until you reach Picacho rec area, a little ways from the Colorado River. There are also deer running down and cross the wash, as if just making your way down this "road" wasn't enough to worry about.

Deer running away in the wash

To enter the rec area you need to pay $5. This is where a picked up the brochure for Picacho, and realized the closest paved road was back the way I came. This was also the first time I saw any indication the "Indian Pass Road" wasn't a so much a road. The brochure says "2WD not recommended." I feel like that is pretty irresponsible. This is how you get reckless assholes like me driving down these "roads." I turned around and headed back. I made it with no problems and got some good photos, but I wasn't well prepared. Other than a few gallons of water I had nothing that I would consider as prepared. No map, extra fuel, food, cell service and nobody knew where I was going.

Telegraph Pass, Yuma, AZ

When I was diving to Antelope Hill, I saw a bunch of people hiking Telegraph Pass. I did a little online research and found it to be a pretty popular Yuma hike. What I didn't realize is how steep the road was.

I headed to the trailhead shortly after work on Friday. From what I read online, it should take a fit person about 2 hours round trip. So I thought I could make it before sundown, unfortunately this meant it was a bit over 100 degrees.

When I arrived there were only two cars at the parking area. I saw a few trails so I headed up the one that lead up the wash to the left. I failed to follow the turn to the right at first and lost the trail off to the left. I back tracked and found the main trail. After I got back on the established trail it was pretty easy to follow, to the gate for the road to the top. At the gate I passed two guys on there way down, and saw a guy not too far ahead of me.

It took a while to realize how steep this paved road got after the gate, it doesn't happen right away. The road starts off following a wash that isn't very steep, then it hits an S curve. From there on it is steeper than I expected. Even with a few stops for photos, I caught the guy ahead of me by the time I reached the top.

The view from the top was pretty good. I couldn't get a good photo of Yuma, because the sun was directly behind it. I put my name in the summit logbook, got a few pictures and then headed back.

West -Yuma
East -Antelope hill and Wellington
Once I got back to the bottom and off the road and onto the trail, I started to see a lot more people hiking. It seems I was about an hour or so ahead of the crowds.

My iPhone finally cooperated, and produced this map for me.

Monday, October 10, 2011

MTB at sugarloaf near Yuma, AZ

When I found out I was coming to Yuma a few months ago, I started looking for things to do right away. On the web site MTBR I found Sugarloaf peak.

As always there was a delay between my arrival and when my stuff arrived. So I headed over there a few weeks ago to explore the area by 4WD truck. It looked pretty promising, lots of elevation change and some established single track as well as "Jeep trails."

My stuff arrived this last week, and one of the first things I did was put my bike together. It just so happened to be an unseasonalby cool week for the desert, staying under 90 most of the week. I took the bike out on a bike trail along the Colorado River for a shake down. I'm glad I did, because I had a slow leak in my front tire.

The weekend arrived and my planned early morning start turned into an after lunch start, but I made it out there. Maybe it was because it was mid afternoon in the desert, but I was the only one out there. I headed north along the canal until the first wash. There I turned up hill along the Jeep trail. About a mile and a half, heading up hill, on loose rock and I intersected one of the single track trails. I followed this up a little further, but when it seemed to start going down, away from the parking area, I turned around. The video below is from that turn around back the my car. Just over a mile of down hill single track.

I think this was a pretty good first trip out. Next time I will go earlier, and press on further. Being alone and since it was my first time I think 3 miles was about right.

Here is the downhill video from my second trip and the map below.