Friday, April 30, 2010

Brown - Hamburg - Crest Hike

I've been considering a one-way hike from Sierra Vista over the crest of the Huachucas to Parker Canyon Lake. But before I can sign up a shuttle driver to pick me up at the lake, I need a reasonably accurate idea of how long the trek will take. Today I walked the first half of the route, from the Brown Canyon trailhead to the Crest Trail near Pat Scott Peak.

The trek of 16.6 miles with 5000 climbing-feet took a bit over six hours. Uniform of the day was sandals for this trip, but the Vibrams would have been fine, too. Thanks to good trails and signs, there are no navigational difficulties enroute. The snowpack is still melting, so the creeks were running with gusto. When I reached the Crest Trail the weather took a turn: Clouds moved in, the wind came up and, as I was rounding the final bend in Brown Canyon, swirls of tiny snow crystals swarmed down, just to put an exclamation point on a Spring of strange weather.
Spotted these deer just as the snow-sprinkle ended. They weren't sure what to make of it either.

Looks like I'll need to allot about seven hours for the hike to the lake; eight if I want to arrive a little before my shuttle expects me.

(GPS track is for the outbound hike only; on the return leg the gathering clouds degraded reception enough that the track was useless.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Saturday Ride: Fro and To

Rode the Redline 1x9 counterclockwise, flying the Jeep-road whoopses down to the mailboxes, then--what the heck?--rode back up to complete the trail clockwise. Had the semi-slick Vulpines on, so I wasn't surprised to log a halfway-decent 7:45 to the mailboxes in spite of ongoing upper-respiratory torments. Also not surprised to get a flat from an itsy-bitsy thorn that wouldn't have drawn blood if I'd stepped on it barefoot. You make tires lighter by leaving out rubber, after all. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sunday Morning Ride: Counterrevolutionary Brown

A week or so back, I finally pieced together the off-pavement approach to Brown Canyon, linking the Garden trail, Calle Encina, Redrock Drive, and various double- and singletrack trails. Sunday morning I took the singlespeed Rat, still covered with Moab dirt, out to the canyon via the new route. When I merged onto the trail, I was headed counterclockwise around the loop, against the grain of my customary ride. Well, why not?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Perimeter Trail - Clark Spring Loop Run

It's been 24 hours and my calves are still kind of tight.

Under the influence of the book Born to Run, I decided to put my feet to the test: Starting from the lower trailhead in Carr Canyon, I ran Perimeter trail to Miller Creek to Clark Spring and back down Carr Road to the Jeep. Covered the 8.7 miles, 1600 feet of climbing in 2:07, about 15 minutes slower than a respectable mountain-bike time.

My Vibram Five Fingers foot gloves caught the attention of a lady on Perimeter. "You're not barefoot, are you?!" I stopped and showed off my minimalist footwear. She reached down and grabbed a couple of my toes and gave them a squeeze. "Your feet must be really tough." I laughed and said that if they were really tough, the Vibrams wouldn't be necessary. As we parted, I could see the wheels turning; she was trying to figure out who to tell about this strange trail sighting.

I put in my best licks on Perimeter, and arrived in Miller Canyon in 51 minutes. Speed-walked along the creek to the Clark Spring trailhead, where I resumed running. Parts of this passage were a little tougher--steep and somewhat loose. The Vibrams have smooth soles, with just narrow razor siping for grip. They work great on rock, but offer no mechanical assistance (e.g., lugs or tread) for coping with loose soil. Just gotta dig those toes in.

I skipped the John Cooper trail bypass and went all the way across on the Clark trail, reducing my overall mileage slightly from the mountain-bike version of the trip. By the time I got to Carr Road, I was ready to wrap it up. Those overworked calves were mooing a bit, and I was landing my strides a little slower and flatter than when I started. Amazing what a difference that makes; small chunks of gravel bit into my instep at times and I felt that I was jogging rather than running. Just before I ran out of patience, I arrived back at the Jeep.

It's the next day, and the damage assessment is in: No harm done. If I throw a trail run into the mix from time to time I'm sure I'll whip those whining calves into running bulls.