I was looking for something new, different last week when I came across some guys that really pushed the limit back in 1995. "Check out those sick headbands!" Scott gasped when I sent him the link of the Altar. Motivated by Bicimapas, I called La Reserva Pinacate to explain about my idea to bikepack in the reserve, on the opposite side the 1995 trip.
It would entail riding around craters, lava fields and cinder cones as seen on the official website:
Do you see some singletrack going around the crater in that picture?!
After some emails and the phone call detailing my plan and bikepacking equipment , we got approval...the summary of the response..."una excepcion."
Max and I packed our bags and drove south, camping out one night in the Organ Pipe National Monument before crossing the border and arriving at Pinacate a few minutes before they opened. We paid our $4.50 entrance fee and began pedaling a little after 8am.
The 72km popsicle-style loop was the main route, we would tack on el Cono Rojo and the northern part of the reserve, which is closed to cars.
First, we rode to the Crater Elegante (shown above). Max had a similar feeling about riding something different..."It is nice to not know what is around the next corner. ". The colors changed constantly as we rode.....
From a black-red...
to the typical desert.
Repeat color process. The Crater Elegante had some great singltrack that rounded the entire crater.
The high was 74, but the lava really made it hotter.
An old mine at the reserve pictured in the background
After touring the old mine, we cruised back to Tecolote Campground in search of more singletrack and views.
Different, yet stunning. I really was enjoying the ride thus far. Max is always known for his faster pace, even in a "tour" kind of ride. We pushed it faster than what I would normally prefer, but for each site, we managed to have some good rest.
There were some sections of deep sand. Although it was not really difficult, it did take its toll toward the end of the day.
I did get dusted by two cars trying to make sure they arrived before the 5pm gate was locked. Classic.....I had a moment of irritation (I was also hot a tired). Simple to fix....
...stop and take some pictures. I went from irritated to who am I that I have the opportunity to be in Mexico riding a bike in such a beautiful place.
"Who am I that I can ride around craters, lava rocks and cinder cones?" I said that several times as I was looking off into craters the rest of the day, riding down lava rock that has probably yet to have felt a tire or even sleeping under the stars.
Irritated from dirt, heat or lack of water....phew. "First wold problems" as the fiance and I like to call them....
I am riding around a crater! Freaking eh, get over it.
Crater Colorado in the afternoon
And so the rest of the day was one of "pinch me" and thinking of the fact that we were even allowed to get into the park. We headed to Cono Rojo to camp and cook our dinners under cloudless stars and with little trace of any person. We went to bed with coyotes howling in the background under a half moon....