David Johnson's Travel Blog
Bicycle Trip 1999
Okefenokee 2002
Anza-Borrego 2003
Texas 2003
Road Trip West 2003
Sequoia National Park 2004
Hiking Florida 2005
Nomadic 2005
Bicycle Trip 2009
Bicycle Trip 2010
Nomadic 2010
Little Bicycle Trip 2011
Wisconsin Bicycle Trip 2011
Bicycle Trip 2011
Nomadic 2011
11/19  (pictures)
11/24  (pictures)
11/27  (pictures)
12/02  (pictures)
12/04  (pictures)
12/06  (pictures)
12/07  (pictures)
12/08  (pictures)
12/10  Mesa Verde National Park
12/11  Northeast Arizona
12/21  Hiking and Biking around Phoenix
12/23  Tonto National Forest
12/25  Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
12/30  More Arizona Pictures and Stuff
01/01  Arizona to Los Alamos
01/02  Bandelier National Monument
01/06  More Vancams
01/10  Amarillo
01/15  Another Trip Finished
Kayak Trip 2012
Nomadic 2012
Liverworks Productions
Nomadic 2013
Liverworks Productions
Texas Pig Hunting
Bicycle Trip 2014
Bicycle Trip 2015
Biking West 2015
Chickens and Pheasants 2016
Biking About 2016
New Zealand 2016
Kayak Trip 2017

Tonto National Forest


tl;dr: Today I went biking in the Tonto National Forest near Superior. I can't remember ever being this wore out.

Today I went biking in the Tonto National Forest down on its southern end near Superior. I had a 35-mile route planned out. It wasn't the 35 miles that were so bad; it was the 3000+ feet of elevation gain on horribly rocky roads.

I parked at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. It cost me $9, but because I had checked out of my hotel my van held all my stuff in it, so it was worth it to me not to leave it parked out in the desert.

For the first few hours of peddling I thought things were going well. The road was a little rough, but not bad. There were a few hills. The wind was annoying, but manageable. I figured I'd finish my loop in a four or five hours.

Then I started climbing. On switchbacks. Every switchback I'd look down to the previous switchback and think that should be the last of the switchbacks. Until the next one. And the one after that. Eventually the road got steeper even with all the switchbacks; to the point where I just ran out of strength and started pushing my bike. Even that got hard.

I met the occasional four-wheel-drive or ATV as I fought my way up those mountains. I also spotted a few deer.

Eventually I ran out of cactus and found myself in pinyons. Then I was up higher and out of those. When I once again thought I was at the apex of my loop, it turns out I wasn't. That would come another mile or so up the road. By this point I had on my extra sweatshirt and mittens. The mittens were a compromise. Either I had a hard time both braking and gripping because of the mittens, or I had a hard time both braking and gripping because of numb fingers. For this part of the loop the road itself was basically a less-rocky area, and that covered in slick ice.

Finally I started going down hill. You'd think that would be the easy part? I guess it would have been if it weren't for all the rocks, and the sun in my eyes, and the cold, and the even sharper switchbacks.

By the time I made it back down to the desert I was whipped. I had to walk up even the smallest of hills. Then the road turned into a creek for a while.

I made it back to the Arboretum just before dark to find the workers standing by the gate waiting for me so they could go home.

I then drove back into the desert I just had come from and found a place to camp for the night.

I love this stuff.

desert cows

still going up

this is about when I started walking


thought I was at the top

now I am at the top

a fire came through here

back down

wicked switchbacks

this is actually the road

cows in the road

Picketpost Mountain

contact me at le@liverworks.com
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