A short spin on the bike..

On a cloudy Monday Remus, Polar, and I headed out to Quartz Creek Trail in BLM’s White Mountains National Recreation Area for a shortish bike ride. I had hiked the trail earlier this year and at the time thought it would make a wonderful and hopefully mellow day trip on a mountain bike.

The trail starts with an impressive climb that really hammers the legs. As I was heading up the hill I was passed by several hunters on four wheelers – the first of three parties that I encountered on the trail. The fall colors where out and the leaves where already starting to fall off the dwarf birches.

The trail is a mix of fun to ride hard packed trail, short sections of muddy trail with some sort of fancy Lego block trail hardening, and less fun bouldery sections. The trail is mostly ridable except for a couple of short rocky sections. I expect those sections would also be ridable if I was a bit more aggressive..

The plastic trail hardening underpayment seems to work quite well and all the places that one would expect to be muddy where quite dry and ridable. Where the surface is completely exposed the grip was a bit funky and I took it slow. Its amazing how much work BLM must have put into fixing up this trail.

On one of the harder to ride sections I broke my chain – much sadness.

A small flock of ravens found my chain fixing efforts amusing and starting circling me and the dogs. Perhaps they though I was doomed.. Regardless I got the chain spliced back together and was back on my way.

BLM really had some fun hardening the trail – on the first stream crossing the bottom of the stream is lined with paving stones. Quite impressive and very fun on a bike.

The trail winds up several ridges and across several small creeks. In the saddles it passes though small spruce trees and in the high points it is above tree line. Once you get back in a ways the terrain opens up with wonderful views of the ridges coming off Mount Prindle. It is very scenic!

The dogs and I stopped near the start of Little Champion Creek and explored a bit on foot. After a bit of wandering around we stopped by the creek and I relaxed in the sun while the dogs splashed in the water.

Where we stopped there was a amazing amount of blue berries – in some sections the leaves had fallen off the bushes leaving these wonderful blue and brown bushes. They had already had a hard frost so the berries where a bit mushy and not quite to my taste, but the dogs liked them.

Polar and Remus had a great time eating berries. All three of my dogs are expert berry pickers and really enjoy eating blue berries.

Anyway, this trip is highly recommended and very fun on a bike. It got me thinking about potential mountain biking and pack rafting combination trips – perhaps biking to Bear Creek, floating down to Beaver Creek, and biking (and pushing probably) out on the Summit Trail.. Things to do next summer!

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