I had an epic ride last Sunday. Some friends asked if I wanted to go ride a couple trails up on Mt. Lemmon. I suggested that we should do the entire mountain, not just a few trails…this is when I should have been slapped. Riding all the trails down from the top of the mountain is known as the Lemmon Drop. You see I have been training lately and thought that I needed to challenge myself a bit. The “Drop” starts on top of Mt. Lemmon by the large antennas and at the top of the chair lift. The first trail is Aspen Draw. This is a great trail. It can get a bit tricky though. At the top there are a couple of switch backs that have about a 2 foot drop in the apex of the turn. It also has a couple of “pinch” spots too where one must time your pedal strokes and twist your handlebars just right to make it around some trees.
After Aspen Draw was finished we had a bit of road riding to do. We took the paved highway down to Bear Wallow Road. From there it was a long slog up an old fire road. I must report that for a change I was the first or second guy up the hill instead of the last guy up the hill. Once we reached the top of Mt. Bigelow we went down the Palisades trail. This is were we ran into a little difficulty. I got a flat and the group split up. We actually lost each other for about 30 minutes. It was that kind of thing where both parties are waiting for the other party to show up. Half the group was waiting down the road about a half mile at one trail head and half at the other trail head. It wasn’t til we were approached by a sheriffs vehicle that we realized what had happened. The officer inside told us that the rest of the group was down the road waiting.
Once we regrouped the ride was back on. Well maybe not the riding part. At least not right away anyhow. The next segment of our adventure took us up the Green Mountain Trail. And I do mean up. We hiked maybe about 3/4 of a mile before we could get back on our bikes. Finally on our bikes again we headed down hill. This trail was great. Lots of drops and switch backs, rocks and steps.
The Green Mountain Trail delivered us to what was probably the most difficult portion of our journey, Bug Springs Trail. For about the first mile of Bug Spring you are hiking your bike up what seems to be an almost vertical staircase. By this time it was starting to get hot. Some in my group had already run out of water. I had not run out of water though. In fact I still had 2 full bottles. Which is what I figured I would need for the ride. Now I have a delima. Do I not share my water(which I by the way have carried myself and was obviously prepared) and be sufficiently hydrated or do I share my water and become as dehydrated as they are. I shared. Typically I don’t like to share my water. I packed just enough water for me. To pack more would waist energy and to pack less is dangerous. If you are familiar with the desert, and all of the people I was with were, you should know better. You should never rely on someone else to be your camel.
Well we all survived. Luckily there was a family from Mexico having a picnic at the end of the trail. They were very generous. They gave us watermelon and sodas. They didn’t have any water but the watermelon was like heaven.
The moral of this story…ALWAYS PACK MORE WATER THAN YOU THINK YOU WILL NEED. Because you never know when your friends will be dorks.
Rick Gray, lead guide Southwest Trekking