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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Beirdneau



Last week I finally did the Beirdneau loop.  I went up Green Canyon to the wilderness boundary and strapped my bicycle to a set of shoulder straps from a military field pack, and hiked up through the wilderness to the ridge-line that separates Green Canyon and Logan Canyon.  I have looked at that ridge for years, and studied it on the topo maps, saying, "that ridge is not wilderness, and I bet it's a great trail to ride."  Well, no, it's not great to ride, unless you are on a trials or freeride bike.  The trail is pretty rough.  And yes, I did it on the fixed gear cross bike.  The hike up Green to the ridge is more than 5 miles and took several hours.  Once on the ridge and out of the wilderness,  I hiked about half of the 12 miles back to the saddle above Wind Cave.  Total ride/hike time was nearly 6 hours.  I also made substantial forward progress on half-a-dozen occasions by flying through the air over the bars, which was actually much faster than walking.  The trail was hard to follow and disappeared several times.  It was strange to stand at 9000 feet looking at Green Canyon on my right, Logan Canyon on my left, town straight ahead, and actually feel a little lost.  While side-hilling it on the steep slopes of Beirdneau, carrying the bicycle through sagebrush with bloody shins, I could not find the missing trail for the life of me.  It was, however, an incredibly beautiful place.  I had always wanted to hike up to the top of Green Canyon to the base of Mt. Elmer and bag Beirdneau Peak.  It has everything you would expect from high country wilderness in mid August:  lupine and paintbrush in bloom, complete solitude, sub-alpine fir, hawks, and wind-sculpted limber pine.  No, I did not take a camera.

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