San Tan Surprise
After a couple of weeks out of the saddle fighting colds, flues, and viruses, I made it out to San Tan Park this week for a short â€œsee how I feelâ€ ride. I opted to drive out to the park entrance on Phillips and pay the extra 5 bucks so I didnâ€™t have to gruel through the rite of passage over Goldmine Mountain. The best 5 bucks I ever spent.
I warmed up over Moonlight trail and connected with the San Tan singletrack. Conditions were dry, soft and sandy in more places than the last time I rode out here. Still rideable, it just takes a bit more energy to push. The horses sure chew up the trail as they klopp, klopp, klopp. I saw more horse tracks than tire tracks on this ride. Riding after the rains is San Tanâ€™s finest riding.
I was planning to just ride the singletrack CCW around the mountain till it meets the sandy doublewide back to the entrance. Here Iâ€™d turn around and ride CW back the way I came. Itâ€™s a good thing I had a game plan, because there is nothing better than ditching your game plan when you see fresh new singletrack, especially in the San Tans.
A couple of small yellow flags and a herd of hoof prints caught my eye one mile into the singletrack on San Tan trail. I didnâ€™t see it last time I rode out here. It looked so inviting â€“ all the hoof prints and all â€“ I just couldnâ€™t wait to leave my tracks over the top.
I rode the â€œnewâ€ trail for about 2 miles out. The connection to the San Tan trail looked new but there were stretches that looked and felt like old trails. It had a Wild Horse kind of feel â€“ winding through the desert in and out of washes. Occasionally more in washes than out. There were at least two long stretches I could have broken out the beach towel. No worries for me though, exploring new trails trumps sand.
I ran out of time before I could drop down into what looks like a big wash in Google Earth. No signs of any trail looping back, other than the big wash. The original trail plan for the area shows a trail named 1-9 that looks like the route I followed. I know the original plan has been changed a lot, but maybe 1-9 made the cut. All I know is the 2 mile stretch I rode was fun. It needs a lot more bike traffic to pack the trail. I know I’ll be back finish the loop and do even more exploring.