The kind offer of a Moosling-sitter led to a cunning plan to check out some now-snow-free trails. We left the list of where we planned to go, and headed out the door.
A casual start up Quaite, and the awful steep rocky section didn’t seem so awful as I remember it being. Maybe not hammering up the start helps a little there. The trail was quiet, and we were starting in the morning cool. The descent down from Jewell Pass was a bit mucky in spots, but still fun, and no bears.
Riding across the boring fire trail sections to get to Mount Baldy, we started to hit the weekend crowds, out to hike the trails in this lovely weather. Unfortunately then the boring fire trail continued, as we climbed up to Baldy Pass. And it’s not even all climbing! The slightly tedious trail winds up and down before settling into a proper climb and some single track towards the pass.
After a brief pause for photos at the pass (for Alex to catch up, and for some photos), we headed down. Cautiously, as there were quite a few hikers out, plus one pile of avalanche debris to hike-a-bike over. Before long the trail had spat us out onto the road and we were heading back to Barrier Lake for a quick lunch stop.
Thankfully the hiking crowds had thinned a little by the time we were biking up Prairie View trail, which although wide and easy to pass on, is always a little painful. Apparently everyone was up having lunch at the summit, all the lookout points were absolutely swarming with people – who were fascinated by the fat tyres on Alex’s Moonlander, you can’t take him anywhere these days. We opted to continue on, and through a crowd of asian tourists (“Well done! Well done!” as I biked downhill past them), we finally made it to the Razor’s Edge turn off.
From there things started to go a little downhill (literally and figuratively), as Alex’s occasional leg cramps became pretty persistent, and he couldn’t really pedal much at all. I was completely unhelpful, with nothing to offer except suggestions that apparently pickle juice fixes cramps instantly. Not that we had any. The lack of flow didn’t do the trail any favours. Being quite technical, I find it hard to ride in a start-stop fashion, and ended up walking far too many sections that I possibly could have ridden. Nonetheless we did eventually make it back to the car in decent time, and have decided it’s a good little 50km loop close to home. We were both expecting the total elevation gain to be a little higher though, I could have sworn it felt like twice that amount!
Elevation gain: 1640m
Time: Around 5 hours