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Old 03-17-2014, 08:32 PM   #1
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AZ - Prescott Yankee Doodle & Golden Eagle Loop

I have been thinking about making a loop out of Yankee Doodle and Golden Eagle for a while.

In June of 2012 Slowred and I rode Golden Eagle Trail for the first time. We ran into private land and got lucky finding someone to let us out since it was a hot day and we were spent by what we thought was the end of the trail. We went hunting for the end of Golden Eagle Trail in September of last year and found a very hidden piece of trail. Like the rest of Golden Eagle, it was steep and overgrown. It didn't seem as hot, but we retreated after the third or fourth switchback that required a 12 point turn and some bike-lifting.

We have also been interested in the southern end of the Yankee Doodle trail. That trail seamlessly joins up with one called Arrastra Creek. It's hard to spot the turn to stay on Yankee Doodle so not many people ride the very southern most end. We found the elusive piece of trail during a ride in October of last year.

We were determined to put all the pieces together this weekend.

Saturday morning it was chilly in the pines near Lynx Lake. We were feeling a little bit like Randy Parker from A Christmas Story with all our gear and jackets on. Yes, we're wimps. It was probably in the 50's to start.



We took the usual path down Walker Road and Bannie Mine.



This hill always sneaks up on us for some reason. It can be a little tricky if its wet or like here when you can't see the root and rock step sections because of shadows.



We made our way toward Big Bug Mesa Rd.



And we took a little cutoff trail. You really have to know where to look. You can just see a tiny chunk of the main road in the upper left of the pic. The trail we took starts in the lower right.



It's a good trail.
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:37 PM   #2
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That little cutoff doesn't cut off much of Big Bug Mesa Rd.



There are some good views from the road.



Yep, I was there.



Slowred is excited to get the jacket off and start up Yankee Doodle!



Some people like to camp in this spot. They always look at us funny when we ride through their campsite to get on the trail.



The north end of Yankee Doodle has a bunch of rocky switchbacks. Fun for us, but not so good for pictures.
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:46 PM   #3
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Upper (North) Yankee Doodle is a nice, scenic trail.



There's a rock here an there.



The Mount Union lookout tower.



After you cross NF261 things start to get interesting.



I always used to stay left on this obstacle.



It turns out you are much better off staying right.



It doesn't matter which side you aim for because you can't see down this rock face until you're on it.



The runout only has a few chunky rocks in it.



You can build some serious speed through here.
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:50 PM   #4
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Slowred is trying to figure out how I parked my bike on the other trail. I took the bypass because I'd never done it before.



Low bridge.



It's good to have your bike set up to ride rocks on this trail.



There's no shortage of these kinds of obstacles too. Drop off the boulder pile into more loose rock.



We took in the views for a couple minutes.



The wind was whipping on top of the mountain!
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:54 PM   #5
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It's a good idea to look both ways before crossing the busy Senator Hwy.



Slowred shoots up the trail for Lower Yankee Doodle.



The lower section is much narrower.



It felt like it was groomed just for us. And the views are still great!



Okay, so there was still SOME rock on the trail.



At the top there's nowhere to go, but down!
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:59 PM   #6
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This is one of the steepest hills on this trail and it is covered in big, loose rock.



It makes for an exciting descent.



And you have to maintain some directional control.



We both had a couple of close calls on this one.



But we made it to the bottom safe.



I missed the turn to Lower, Lower Yankee Doodle. It's a tough one to spot (upper left of center in the pic).
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:05 PM   #7
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The trail mostly follows this old fire break.



And then it hangs a hard right and drops off the west side of the mountain!



Most of the way down it just feels like a barely controlled slide.



And if you aren't sliding it's because the trail is so overgrown that you have to break your way through the bushes.



It feels like you lose elevation faster than you make forward progress.



The prickly pear cactus at the sides of the trail add an extra element of danger as well.
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:12 PM   #8
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Slowred emerges from the brush.



I saw some tracks in a more level part of the trail. I think those are deer tracks next to the Desert IT track. Although we were getting close to Bodie Mine Rd. so they could have been Javelina.



Still a lot of elevation to lose to get to Bodie Mine Rd.



The broken up water diverter was a sign that we were on the right trail.



As we got closer to Bodie Mine Rd, we saw this mine (This is not Bodie Mine, apparently).



Slowred found a sign. We were indeed on the right trail. There's actually trail between where I took this pic and where he is.
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:15 PM   #9
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Thats a fun trail!!
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there's a Seinfeld episode like this, .....right?
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:17 PM   #10
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Now I'm at the spot where Slowred was in the previous pic.



This wood trail sign is in pretty good shape compared to most that we find.



A short drop later and we're on Bodie Mine Rd!



We decided to go look at that mine we spotted.



They must have been after any gold near this huge quartz vein!



The cave-in on the left was enough warning for me not to venture in this one.
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:23 PM   #11
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We traveled north on NF-82a (which I think is still called Bodie Mine) to NF-82 (also Bodie Mine?).



NF-82 has a couple of serious hills as you head west. This isn't one of them.



This fence had game and fish signs on it that said something about controlled grazing for game animals. I don't think this fence is tall enough or dense enough for deer or almost any other game animal to care. But we closed it behind us.



This section of the road is pretty fast. I kept thinking I was going to miss the turn.



But I knew it when I saw it!



There's a little bit of quad-width trail before the fun really begins on Golden Eagle Trail.
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:33 PM   #12
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This trail hardly ever gets used. Once in a while I could see faint signs that someone rode it when the ground was wet. There were some ruts in corners that weren't there before.



There's a lot of red Manzanita on this trail. It's tough stuff!



The trial was looking very familiar. We actually cruised through it pretty well this time.



It was much easier to navigate even though it is still as grown over as ever!



There are a few tight switchbacks on this part of the trail. They are rideable, but you have to attack them like you mean it. I only put my bike on the ground once.



This is our kind of trail!
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:39 PM   #13
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More healthy Manzanita. That red color is neat to see against the brown desert.



Slowred is ready for lunch and a little break!



We did a little exploring, trying to find a different way to the cabin at Golden Eagle Mine. I'm not sure what we were on, but it was headed the wrong direction!



The cabin has seen better days.



This was a cover to a box containing fire tools.



Starbucks, this is not!
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:47 PM   #14
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I wonder how recently anybody actually lived in this place.



It sure is secluded!



At the top of the climb out from the cabin the trail turns into a wider and wider road. That's what tripped us up last time. We weren't looking for more overgrown singletrack. This time we were more focused! You have to be to notice a trail as a little break in the bushes.



It didn't take long to recognize the hill we dropped down to find the other end of this trail.



Being so high up, we knew we were in for some major elevation loss.



And don't let these pictures fool you. There were parts where I had to bust through totally overgrown bushes to continue on the trail!
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:51 PM   #15
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This part of the trail has some really sketchy off-camber sections too. I'm pointing the camera almost straight down here.



You do not want to fall to your left!



This is one of those 12-point turn switchbacks.



We're only about halfway down at this point.



I just completed the next switchback in front of Slowred. They are STEEP!



We made it to the bottom!
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