We took Turtle on a short vacation from still-hot Tucson in the Santa Catalina Mountains last week. The mountain bikes came with, and hiking boots. We spent three nights, one boondocked at near 8,000 feet and two at a FS campground at around 6,000 feet. We had perfect weather, burned less than 1/4 tank of diesel and felt like we were 2,000 miles away, all because of the magic of elevation change.
We cycle up the mountain from home, a 60-70 mile round trip, depending on where we go, but between 6,000 and 7,000 feet of elevation change, a great workout. But during these rides we only stop briefly for snacks, so as to not let our muscles cool too much, and know mostly the road, though we have done a few hikes on the mountain.
This time we decided to do a mountain bike ride and see something new. The Santa Catalinas are steep! Our mountain bike ride could more accurately be described as a hike-a-bike, with almost as much pushing as riding for some sections. But the scenery and the workout was worth the effort. The General Hitchcock campground was a delight with a burbling stream and lots of birds, even one lifer. We’ll do it again!