Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Seasonal Exchange - Day 6 - Colossal Cave Trail

We woke to yet another bright sunny day, the chill of morning burned off quickly and we got up and set out to loaf away the morning. Leisurely breakfast followed by wallowing in the sunshine with books. Creek burbled. Birds chirped. Dogs lounged and sniffed for rodents.
From AZ Travel

Before noon we packed and drove north into the fringes of Tucson's sprawl. Then out again to meet Scott, our source of insider information, at the trailhead for the Colossal Cave section of the Arizona Trail.

I'd been introduced to Scott on a previous trip to the Tucson area. He's a very strong rider who specializes in super-long self-supported "races" that can last for hundreds of miles and many days. Lucky for us, he'd done a 24-hour race the weekend before, and was burnt enough to be in the mood for the kind of ride we could enjoy.

He led us southward over through the mostly smooth singletrack that dodged through the local vegetation. The vegetation was one of the highlights for us. Cactus and other spiny plants of the Sonoran Desert crowded the edges of the trail. Including several groves of tall saguaro cactus, patiently holding their arms in the air as we passed under.
From AZ Travel

From AZ Travel

Trina had never seen saguaro before, and I hadn't seen enough of it to be jaded. Scott was patient with our dawdling and helpful with answers about them.
From AZ Travel

From AZ Travel

Other highlights were the lovely rough and rocky section of trail that Scott had designed and built himself. Water running in the normally dry creek. The dogs avoiding most of the cactus. A new line over a tough rock that we helped Scott discover. And, of course, the bright, warm sunny day -- just like we'd hoped we'd find on this trip.
From AZ Travel

We zoomed the fast, smooth singletrack back to the trailhead, finishing with grins.
We drove into town for dinner with Scott and his gal. Great mexican food that I'd had on my previous trip and had been craving.

Then we drove north in the dark to find a place to camp. Following Scott's rough directions, we found a suitable camp in the Willow Springs area, and bedded down in the warm night. No rain fly on the tent, but using the tent to help contain the small dogs. We stuffed them into their sleeping bags and stuffed ourselves into ours.

Blissful sleep. For almost half the night.

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