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Trail Happenings August 2011

Trail of the Month: The Whole Enchilada
by Tom Dillon

This is a group of classic, technical trails connected together for more than 26 miles dropping 7,000’ feet from the La Sal Mountains to the Colorado River at Highway 128 (with plenty of climbs inbetween totaling 2,000’). All in all, The Whole Enchilada is a delicious, spicy blend of varied ingredients that make up a wildly tasty ride.

Burro PassBurro Pass is “The Jalapeno” of this ride. It’ll burn your lungs onthe 700 foot, 20% grade climb from thetrailhead to the pass, then burn coming out as you descend 1400 feet through loose rocks and roots with steep, tight switchbacks, eventually cooling off to sweet riding through tall fir, up through aspens, then alongside Mill Creek (with 5 crossings) to Warner Lake.
Hazard County
Hazard County is “The Green Sauce”. It’s spread over the top and spicy enough to make you scream out “Yee-Haw!” After a short climb, the trail opens up to a fast three-mile run with a number of optionalopportunities for getting some air, down betwixt the cows and oaks where the trail becomes tighter and twistier as it carries you in and out of aspen groves. This section is a favorite that leaves a good taste in your mouth and 1000 feet lower.

Upper Porcupine SingletrackUpper Porcupine Singletrack (UPS)(via a short connecting stretchof the Kokopelli jeep road through burnt trees) is “The Smooth Creamy Cheese Sauce” consisting of a melt-in-your-saddle blend of winding singletrack with rolling slickrock among the pinions. There are, of course, a number of tech sections to remind you that this meal ain’t for the kiddies.

Lower Porcupine SingletrackLower Porcupine Singletrack (LPS) makes up “The Beans” of the meal. It causes fits of pressure and puckering as you make your way though the sometimes sandy, foliage-lined canals which can suddenly open up and put you on the edge of a cliff or the opening of The Notch. There are numerous places to test your skills,courage, sanity and helmet.

Porcupine Rim is most certainly “The Meat” of this more-than-filling ride at about 11miles and 3000 feet descent to the river. You have a nice selection of meats.Beef: AdvPorucpine Rimanced riders with a side of downhill bikes wrapped in armor with a large dose of chile to boot. Pork: Those of us running our cross country gear hoping that we end the ride with some, but not too much, hot sauce dripping from our knees andelbows. Chicken: Intermediate riders who are smart enough to getoff their bikes on the truly scary parts even though they feel like a chicken. And Vegetarian: Beginners talked into riding a trailand finding the experience, other than the views, largely indigestible. The trail is peppered with loose rocks atop slickrock on the jeep road, withmouthwatering drops, short hot, steppy climbs and places to drop off a cliff (on our last ride we saw someone fall off their bike and tumble within about six feet of the edge of a sheer cliff). Something for anyone to sink their teeth into.

Additional “Must” Ingredients:
The Trail Mix staff and volunteers are “The Chef” who cut, blend and cook the ingredients into a delicious ride.
Shuttle Operators (check with local bike shops) are “The Servers” who keep you from having to do all the work of shuttling yourself. If you shuttle yourself, add a couple of hours to get back to the trailhead to pick up your car and get back.
Tour Operators are “The Tortilla” which wraps all the yummy ingredients together to make “The Whole Enchilada” a much more satisfying meal, by making sure parts of your enchilada don’t fall out into your lap.

So, savor the flavor--you’ve just eaten The Whole Enchilada! Or maybe just some of it, saving the rest for later, because sometimes you just can’t do it all at once.

For bail-out (spur trail) options along The Whole Enchilada, visit

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