Three Peaks Tour … Having a Personal Guide
This was the second time I’d ridden this area in less than a week, this time getting a Three Peaks Tour. The first time I ended up riding to Big Hole … then rode part of the Three Peaks trail … then got lost … headed east at sundown, and made it to the parking area just before dark. This time it turned out much better.
I had met Jens and Catherine earlier in the week while doing the Cascade Falls Loop. At that time I had told Jens I’d gotten lost in the Three Peaks area. He said he and Catherine had ridden Three Peaks quite often (they live in Kanarraville, just outside of Cedar City) … and had actually laid out their own route. Jens said he had a map of that route which he would e-mail to me.
Three Peaks INTERACTIVE MAP
To help visualize the landmarks I talk about in the rest of this story, or to aid in your own ride on the Blowhard Trail, please enjoy this custom trail map I made. Click the icons for info on landmarks, both general and personal to my ride.
When I got back to the Super 8 that night I checked my computer and found an email … but no map attached. The email said he had had some problem with sending the map. Instead he offered to meet me at the trail and give me a personal Three Peaks Tour … I instantly accepted. We set up the ride for 9:00 am on Saturday (two days later). We would meet them at the Three Peaks Parking Area, and they would give me a ride back to the Super 8 so Cindy could look around Cedar City (she had spotted a few antique shops she wanted to investigate and also wanted to check out the statues that frequented the sidewalks in the older part of town).
Jens and Catherine
Jens had told me the make and model of his truck so we would know them when we entered the parking lot. That proved unnecessary as his vehicle was the only one there when we arrived. I introduced them to Cindy and we all got to know each other a little bit. Cindy and I have found Jens and Catherine to be some of the friendliest people we’ve ever met. We found we share a lot of common interests and similar views on many issues.
Marked Their Own Ride
Once Cindy left, Jens began to talk about the ride. He gave me an overview of what to expect. He said they had ridden all over the Three Peaks area to find the route they liked the best. He had even gone as far as marking their trail with spray painted (orange or white) rocks and ribbons in trees. As it turned out, I don’t think Jens needed either type of marker. He told me about every rock, tree, bush, sand trap, cactus, piece of junk, hill, drop-off … before we got there. I was (and still am) astounded by his memory. He reminded me of my older brother (George) in that way.
My Three Peaks Tour started out from the parking area in the same direction as I had a couple days earlier … with Jens in the lead, me second, and Catherine in the rear. We rode by the biking-tips signs and took the Easier route rather than the Technical, which I already knew was just a chewed-up jeep road. Jens said he had also tried the “Technical” route before and found nothing worth riding.
Hole in Backpack
I asked him about the big hole in his backpack and he told me it was for his dog to stick her head out of. He said he used to have a Jack Russell … but he had gotten too old so Jens had to have him put down. I told him about Sunshine, our dog for 15 years, and how tough it was to have her put to rest too. Jens said the difficulty was that we were being forced to play God, deciding how long our pets should live. Jens said he now had a schnauzer.
Staying just to the right of the barbed wire fence we eventually came to the same sign as I had the last time riding here. However, this time we turned left on the Practice Loop … toward Three Peaks as opposed to the right I had taken to Big Hole.
The turn left put us onto a dirt road toward the southwest. Jens apologized up front for having to ride out on a sandy road, saying it would be worth it when we got to the good stuff. I told him the sand roads in Mammoth were much worse than these here.
As we cruised along we had discussions about many different topics. The LDS church and how we deal with friends and relatives of this persuasion. We talked about San Diego weather, Cedar City weather, and the weather in their home state of Vermont. Next we took a right on a sand road, and, then took a left on another sand road. We stopped at this point and Catherine took a break behind a tree. My Garmin Csx told me we were 1.98 miles into the ride. I was glad Jens had all these roads marked … with so many roads, so many trails … all crisscrossing every which way.
Finally the Singletrack
When we finally got to the single track off-shoot, which was (of course) clearly marked with more white on a painted stick, we began to ride a nifty little flat trail … winding through and under scattered trees. As we rode we began some more discussions … about the Brain and Propedal suspension parts on our Stumperjumper Bikes, about trails and riders, and about 29″ bikes. Jens’ hit his shoulder on a tree branch which jutted out over the trail. After I brushed the branch he apologized for not keeping the trail trimmed.
Next we talked about Facebook. Jens likes to take pictures and this was a way to share them with everyone, especially his old friends back east. Jens said even though he was an engineer he remembered a math joke from college. He stopped so he could show me, drawing symbols in the sand with a stick. This is what he drew. ∫ex= f(u)n
The Three Peaks Tour next took us over some cool rocks … Moab type … horizontal sheets with enough irregularities to make things interesting. We passed under some trees … then stopped to wait for Catherine. We could hear her yelling, “Yahoooo!”, as she made it through a rough section of rock.
Jens Made Difficult Section
After crossing yet another dirt road we came to a rocky section with a formidable drop. Jens announced that he had tried this section several times and had not been able to ride the whole thing continuously. I tried and was able to make it. After some encouraging tips, Jens was also able to make it. The fact that I could help him succeed make me feel good.
We crossed wood slat bridges someone (not Jens this time) had made for traversing deep sand. At that point I noticed a huge mining operation off to the west. Jens said he didn’t know what was mined there but thought most likely it was iron ore, adding, “This is Iron County, you know.”
The Third Peak
My Three Peaks Tour had reached the southernmost point and began heading northwest. As the direction changed, the trail began to climb the shoulder of the Third Peak. It was in this region we came upon the television … which reminded me of my ride a couple days previously (Three Peaks Big Hole), where I had come upon a barbecue, stationary bike, vacuum cleaner, and several bike parts.
Made Rocky Section
The most challenging part of my Three Peaks Tour came 3.7 miles into the ride … a section of trail composed of solid rock. Jens said he was able handle the terrain riding south, but not the direction we were traveling (north). Jens urged me to take a shot at it. I welcomed the challenge, as usually I won’t do something that technical when I am riding alone. Breaking an arm, bike, or neck is not real great when you are several miles from nowhere. I know that for a fact.
I tried once and almost made it, but lost my balance at the end. I told Jens I wanted another try and … made it! Jens gave it a shot but didn’t quite make it. Catherine walked it, and I don’t blame her.
I got a silhouette photo of Jens coming down from the drop but missed Catherine. This happens to me frequently using such a small camera with gloves on.
Snowshoe in Winter
The trail past there was mostly rocky and fun. Jens and Catherine talked about how they had snowshoed around this area this past winter, and how when they lived in Vermont they used snowshoes daily in the winter … just to get out to their car or to take out the trash.
The best part of my Three Peaks Tour soon ended. We emerged onto a dirt road and Jens said we would pretty much be riding it back to the truck. Jens told me he had mapping on his Garmin Oregon GPS, but the screen was so small he couldn’t see it. He said he searched for a site that offered paper maps and found a great option. He told me about a site that charged a one time $14.95 fee and allowed users to print any number of quality maps. I got to thinking he could print some of the maps I provided on my website (for free). But I had yet to make a map of Three Peaks.
The following is a video of the portion of the ride just described. To watch the video on a full screen click the icon in the lower right corner just to the right of the YouTube emblem.
To view all MBD videos please visit my YouTube channel at MountainBikeDiaries.
To learn a lot more about Catherine click on Three Peaks Tour Page 2.