My family and my brother Robert’s family came up to our house in Pinetop for the long weekend. It’s so relaxing up here, it’s tough to ever want to leave, and it makes us wonder why we don’t come up even more. Our Pinetop house is at ~7000 feet, so temperatures are fairly cool. It’s surrounded by tall ponderosa pine trees, and backs up to the tenth green of Pinetop Country Club, so temperatures are rarely much over 85, and this weekend, I don’t think the temp was every much over 75.
Robert and I went to ride the Country Club loop trail on Saturday, but unfortunately it started raining on the first go-round, so the plan to ride it twice (clockwise and counter) was cut in half. That’s life during the Monsoon in Arizona.
Earlier we had gone to the local Indian Casino and played in a poker tourney. Robert was the first one eliminated, choosing not to throw another $30 at it and re-buy. I lasted to around 15th place out of 35 or so, which was basically horrible, considering how weak the field was. Still, at times you need to get some cards, and when I had cards, I just didn’t get the right action. And when I got action, I had some brutal suck-outs against me. Oh well.
Today, Robert and I decided to ride a bit earlier (around 2pm), hoping to get ahead of the afternoon Monsoon. That seemed like a good plan, except it rained again right as we headed for the trailhead. The light rain ended about the time we started our ride, but we rode through a bit of mud on the flatter sections. The ride plan called for a ride on what I had heard was the White Mountain’s premier trail: Los Burros. Reviews were mixed, but I was hoping to finally find a trail up here that was enjoyable and repeatable.
Los Burros is a 14 mile loop. The early mud had us both thinking we may have made a mistake attempting a ride, but alas, what mud there was wasn’t really that bad, and the ride turned out to be pretty good. The scenery is nice, and the single track is truly special. It’s that narrow single track that you just so rarely see any more. Because of this, I did my very best to stay in the track, even when there was a little mud, rather than ride in the grassy track adjacent to it at times. Riding in today’s conditions was certainly borderline. I worried we’d damage the trail, but I really don’t think we did. Much more rain though, and it would have been inconsiderate to ride.
As to the trail itself, I’d liken it to Pemberton in McDowell Regional Park. A long loop, but for the most part a casual ride. There were a couple of tasty sections, but they were short to be sure. It seemed like we climbed for 10 or 11 miles, only to give back the elevation in a tremendous hurry. One stretch of trail did work my lungs hard, even if it didn’t work my legs. This is the first steep section of trail I’d found, here in the Pinetop area, so I was happy to find something that presented at least a bit of challenge.
The tour of the White Mountains uses all of these trails, plus some forest roads and more, which is a ride in early October I’m seriously considering. The big decision would be which distance to attempt. At a minimum I’d go for the 41 miler, but the 52 and 66 miler also seem appealing. I’ve got until 9/8/07 to register, so I best get my act in gear and decide.