Into Saguaro

That's where we decided to ride - the Arizona Trail
After dealing with the Turtle all morning, it was finally time to ride. We decided to head someplace new this time - the Arizona Trail. We had found one trail head on our explorations yesterday and Nick was eager to see where it went. That and getting out of camp would let use see if the repairs had helped the way the Turtle was acting. (For the record, they hadn't.) we got to the parking lot off Pistol Hill road and took a deep breath. Time to ride our bikes and get away from the stress of a malfunctioning Turtle! We opted to head north, knowing we would hit Saguaro National Park in about four miles. We planned on turning around at the boundary, then going south for a while. At least long enough to get the time we wanted to ride in.


Well, north we headed, on a fun, twisting chunk of single track. Cactus all around, with the trail darting and diving around among the prickly pears and barrel cacti. Absolutely nothing hard, but it was fun to be out, in shorts finally, enjoying the sun. We crossed a few washes, another road and were expecting the national park boundary to be pretty clear and marked with "no bikes past this point signs." About 3.8 miles into the ride, we came across a big sign just off the trail, with maps and all kinds of info on it. It looked pretty national parky to me, but the tire tracks kept right on going. So we decided to keep on riding.

A mile or so later, there's an old windmill just a head. We round the windmill and meet a guy kneeling just off the trail with his camera out. At first, I thought he was taking a photo of the windmill. But as we rode by, he shouted after us something about putting us riding on the park website. Huh? Are we in the national park and not supposed to be riding - despite all the tire tracks in the sand? So we turned around - and he's still there, taking photos. Nick asks why he's taking pictures for the park website since mountain biking isn't allowed. Turns out the guy was a park volunteer out hiking. And he was more then happy to see us, nearly bubbling over with excitement to be able to tell us that the trail we were on, the Hope Camp Trail, had just been opened to MTBs last November. And that we could connect to the AZT nearly all the way now. Such a difference in reception the what we normally get at home! So we turned around again and rode the western terminus of the trail. Hey, it might have been an old road, but we were in a National Park - and we were allowed to ride our bikes!
Camp Hope windmill, Saguaro NP

At Camp Hope in Saguaro NP - happy to be out in the sun and on some trails
Photo - the happy park volunteer out hiking


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