As usual tour style, we waited for the sun to hit the tent. I slept very well, mostly due to the music and the sandy sections from the previous day. Donuts and tea for breakfast to start the day....mmmmmmmm.
Our goal this morning was to finish riding to Cono Rojo and perhaps *begin* the climb the Pinacate to check out the trail.
Max's sidewall finally went out from the Gila. Looks like super glue only lasts 3 weeks.
Pinacate Volcano in the background
The singletrack at Pinacate Volcano was signed with the following:
Pinacate 25km 10-12 hours
It also mentioned that you had to get permission from the reserve if you had wanted to climb the peak. Interesting. We rode up about 1 mile before hitting some sand and opting to turn around (water was getting scarce, having almost used 210 ounces each. I would consider the climb another option to do in the park if you wanted another day.
Although, from what I researched, you would probably have to ditch the bike for the last, steep pitch to the top (30% slope toward the end).
We headed back down in the early afternoon to the car and beyond. Surprisingly, I was beat. I think the heat and sand combo really made this a beat down. Bummer the route was not a little longer so we could ride a little longer this day (see below for an option to lengthen the route).
While at the car drinking beer, we met some of the reserve workers. One old guy showed up his old, 1980s mountain bike drinking mescal like it was water.
"There is always someone out there that is more hard core...."
In the city of Why, stop at the gas station for a burrito....or 3!
The need to know about the trip
If you plan on doing this trip, call before you go. As noted before, our trip was an exception. Normally, bikes are not really recommended in the park. Directions: Once in Mexico, follow signs for Hwy 2 into the town of Sonoyta (spelled
Sonoita on some maps). Turn left on Hwy 2. You'll stay on Hwy 8 all the way to the Biosphere Visitor Center
Leave Hwy 8 at the Biosphere Visitor Center 35 miles from
the US Border. There's a large green sign which says Reserva da la Biosfera
and Pinacate. Technically, it's "Reserva de la Biosfera de El Pinacate
y Gran Desierto Altar". Turn north on the paved side road leading to a gate
at the visitor center, which is open 8am to 8pm. We paid $4/person to enter. Since the road
is gated and the visitor center seems not to be staffed, you may have to stop
and find someone.
If I had more days, I would add the other side of the mountain and, just east of our route and ride through the Gran Desierto Altar (sand dunes) and make it a loop by using Highway 2 and 8. Finding water would be very, very interesting if you planned to do this version.
I thought about making the loop an option, and saw a building off Highway 2 at these coordinates 32.045024,-113.500596
Finally, look for more trips to Mexico from me. It will be the go-to place for exploration.....
New, different....words that sometimes undermine our riding, with dead ends or sometimes results in us being able to boast about a sick, new trail. The fact is that we all desire to see something new, right?
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....