Did some great run exploring today after work. I had some more mountain bike trails I wanted to explore on the Dry Lake Hills and Mt. Elden so I got to business and linked a bunch of them.
The main trail that I wanted to check out was one that I had been hearing about a lot lately; Private Reserve. I had never been on that trail and it seems that every time I talk to someone about gnarly mountain bike trails in Flagstaff they ask me if I had been on Private Reserve. The one comment that is consistent is that it has an epic 20+ foot super steep slab of rock at the bottom that must be descended called the 'happy ending'. Say what?
So, on my run I headed for the bottom of that trail first to try and find it (it's always tricky finding hidden mountain bike trails from the top...) and from the bottom it wasn't very hard to find. Sure enough, as described, the bottom of the trail was a shockingly steep slab of rock with a bike tire worn streak going right down the middle of it. Holy crap!
I chickened out and didn't climb up it. It was really, really steep and I climb all the time but I wasn't about to head up that thing in my running shoes. I opted for the balanced downed tree 'alternate route' on the edge of the cliff to get around it.
Heading up the rest of the trail, that pretty much goes straight up the side of Mt. Elden, was full on hands on the knees power hiking and scrambling up rocks (yes, I had to use my hands more than a few times)! This trail is super hard core, going over steep slick rock, jumps and big drop offs. Despite all the other hard trails on the Dry Lake Hills and Mt. Elden, this one is now the winner in my mind for ridiculous riding. I continue to be amazed at what people can ride. I mean...to ride through all that crap and then go down a near vertical 20 foot slab! Yikes. I'll stick to running.
Here is an online description of the trail from a mountain bike website. This trail is for real!
"Starts with lots of swoopy turns, mixed with medium sized log hops and 2-3 foot drops. There's a section with a couple doubles to link up, then some pretty steep, short slick rock. A few steep rocky chutes with alternate drops, then the Happy Ending-a 50 foot tall slick rock face. You go in using only front brake, then half way down you have to let it all go! G-out at the bottom, and link up to a classic local trail. Private Reserve is not for everyone! If you are not confident on physically demanding, steep terrain you will more than likely either walk most of it or get hurt. The Happy Ending has a bail out route that is still extremely challenging, either way could severely injure you. That being said, Private reserve is the best free ride trail in the Flagstaff area, a ton of fun."
And...check out this video of someone surviving the 'Happy Ending". Damn!
I did find some really cool boulders near the top of Private Reserve that may deserve a visit someday for a bouldering recon. Some pretty cool looking problems...not a ton of them, but cool features worth climbing on.
After Private Reserve I linked back into the Sunset Trail and Brookbank to get over to the Dry Lake Hills and check out some more mountain bike trails like Jedi, Pickle and some others I don't know the names off.
Good stuff as I feel I am starting to get a good handle on most of the link ups that are possible and it's always a big bonus getting to run around like a spaz off trail looking at boulders with potential!
Today: 14ish miles (exploring mountain bike trails on Dry Lake Hills and Mt. Elden)