Our next adventure took us up the mountains to a town called Prescott. With 4 out of the 5 trails considered "Primo trails" we decided we must go there.
This is Jerome the "ghost town" on our way up to Prescott
After a nice ride we headed to the spruce mountain trail head to be all set and ready for the next day. There was a campground just past the trail head, and better yet it was free. The only problem was that it seemed that about half the trees were either missing, or marked with spray paint and plastic ties demonstrating that they would be missing very soon. Driving past one other set of campers we found a nice camp site that didn't have too many colorful ties. Mike managed some bad bottom vanagon driving and nestled us in among the pines.
Here's Emilie at our humble campsite smelling the pines in the air.
This is a ponderosa pine as little baby Emilie sees it.
Here are the pines in normal people vision
We had high hopes for the spruce mountain trail. It's an 8 mile loop that takes you up to the spruce mountain viewpoint at an elevation of 7693'. Our good ol' buddy Cosmic Ray rated it a puck 9 and we were excited. I'm sure you know what all this build up is coming to- disaster. We get on the trail, and around the 1st turn there are more plastic ties- this time blocking the trail, with a large trail closed sign. Apparently they are thinning the forest, they claim for its own good, and therefore need to bring in all of their logging equipment all over the trail. The funny thing was that right before we started the trail a park ranger had driven up and put up caution signs, but didn't mention a thing about the trail being closed. Not to be deterred we tried to ride the other section of the loop for a while. This was the part the tree cutters had already been through and wasn't technically closed, but there was so much debris that the trail became impossible to follow. In great frustration we gave up and tried to figure out what to do with the rest of our day. The only way to ride the trail was going to be by going up a gravel road that leads up to the lookout, and hope the loop isn't closed at the top, so that's what we did. I thought a gravel road, no problem- I don't think I've ridden a road so steep on my road bike- it was absurd, and went on forever. After willing away all my possessions in case I wouldn't make it up this thing before my heart exploded we finally made it to the top. Great view, and there was no mention of any trail closure. We hopped on and took off. The trail was great, some really fun technical stuff and all down. Unfortunately when we had made it about 3 1/4 of the 3 1/2 miles down sure enough we ran into the same construction tape, but at this point there was no way we were going back up. Like little cartoon characters in our neon clothes we scurried from tree to tree, dodging the running equipment, hoping we'd blend in, or at least just be confusing bright blurs on the horizon. After a few stressful minutes we were by the equipment and a turn later back at the car. Overall conclusion- I'm really glad we got to ride at least a part of it, and I definitely want to come back and ride the whole thing because it seemed like a great trail.
After some research into Prescott it actually seems like a promising little city. Not too little, about 35,000 folks, a college, riding and climbing near by, and lots of bike lanes. Plus the highs in the summer average in the 80s while in the winters the highs are still in the 50s. Might be a pretty good possibility. What we would do, or if it would be in anyway conceivable that we could afford to live there are still question marks.
After the ride, we planned to hit up another trail in the morning and find a new camping site near it. Some how we never found the road to turn on, so we just gave up on the whole thing and drove the 35 miles back to Cottonwood and base camp at Frannies-yay!