With the local trails covered in semi-frozen slush, I headed to Tucson Mountain Park to thaw out. Enroute, I passed through gauzy fog between the Mustang and Whetstone Mountains. When I broke clear, near Sonoita, the mist over Mount Bruce was backlit by the rising sun:
I parked at the Camino de Oeste trailhead and pedaled south. No fog, no slush, no mud, just firm desert hardpack.
I had a GPS route derived from the "Rock n Road Challenge," but I still managed to get off course a few times. Fortunately, one of the other bikers I met on the trail gave me spot-on directions that took me to the Robles Pass trail system. Stopped to admire the view of my old friend, Cat Mountain.
Just as I was beginning to think that I might never find my way out of the rat maze of Robles trail, I met a couple more bikers who pointed the way. A short sojourn on Ajo and Kinney, then back onto the Yetman trail.
Yet again I got off-course, and was set straight by another pair of bikers. They pointed the way to the saddle that leads down to the parking lot at the base of Gates Pass. I gamely lurched my way up most of the rocky climb, but decided to take the easy way when I reached these steps.
When I hit pavement, the final obstacle was the steep climb over the pass. Here I lucked out; I had the road to myself all the way to the top. Once over, I was able to coast faster than the posted speed limit.
Trip stats: 21 miles, 2400' climbing.