Join Date: Oct 2010
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It was decided that I would lead since I have ridden in this area for many years. My plan was to go through the trail that crosses Turley Creek many times along the route and ending in the town of Cleator. The population of the old mining town is approximately 7. It consists of a bar and a few run down houses. Cleator’s claim to fame is that it is the half way point during the climb up the switchback road to the gold rush town of Crown King. During its heyday Crown King had up to 5,000 miners. It was a hopping place.
I think the riders were having fun as we were crossing the creek back and forth along the trail. Then we come to the first of many obstacles. We have to climb out of the creek to get to a connecting trail. This hill climb is steep and loose with moguls like a ski run. I stopped to make sure and let everyone know that if they are not comfortable anywhere along the trail please let someone know so we can help. It is not that these guys can’t ride but I have not ridden with them so I just wanted to make sure everyone is safe. Of course everyone sailed up the hill with no issues.
Here is a photo of Chad warming up along the trail.
Since there was water in the creek I changed the plans and headed down a trail where there is a 70 foot waterfall. There are 16 water crossings to get to the falls. Unfortunately this side of the creek was dry. Since we were already heading toward the falls I thought we may as well continue so that everyone would know where the falls are located and could go back some time.
We have to back track a few miles and hook up with the Great Western Trail. I wanted to take the group to an old stone house that is along the creek. This is the place I was taking a friend of mine, a few years back, to show him the house and there was a very large mountain lion standing in the middle of the trail looking at me as we came around the corner. Fortunately, he disappeared in a flash.
After looking around for a while we decided to go play in the water where the trail crossed the creek. This is where things got a bit interesting. Chad was a couple of quads behind me on his Yellow Honda . He took a wrong line and got sucked into a deep hole. It looked like his quad turned into a Yellow submarine.
After we were done laughing Guy threw him a rope and tried to pull him out but the ground was too soft to get any traction. Mark to the rescue.
He threw Chad his winch cable to hook to the front of his machine. As Mark was trying to pull him his machine was being dragged towards the water. Guy turned around and hooked up his winch as well. That was what we needed as Chad’s submarine started to come out of the water.
Now to see if the quad would run? It would start but it would die if you gave it any gas. After about 10 minutes Guy suggested that we stand the quad on end to get the water out of the exhaust system. Guy had seen Zane do this before. We tried it and it worked like a champ. With it being a Honda we didn’t have to worry about the CVT belt being wet.
Here are a couple of photos to show what happens if you take the wrong line.
The colors in the rocks along the way are simply amazing. Some of the rocks are even blue and green.
We had a blast crossing the creek on our way to a couple of mines I wanted to show the group.
I guess Chad is not gun shy after drowning his quad earlier.
Here is a rare sight along the trail. It is known as a crowning saguaro.
We make it to a hidden mine that you have to know where it is to know where to find it. The entrance is a tight squeeze but it opens up large enough to be able to drive a semi into. The back of the mine is coated with a white substance that is dripping from the ceiling and walls.
After stopping at another mine we headed off past Cleator and headed off to the trucks along the ridge lines.
We made it back by 5:00pm, all in one piece! It’s always fun to be able to show people new trails. We sometimes take it for granted in Central Arizona how well we have it to be able to ride year round.