Friday, January 17, 2020

Blue Peaks and T-Dubing on an Air Force Range

I rode Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig over to the town of Gila Bend to see what was there and a couple of small errands.

First though, a picture of the town's welcome sign which is reputed to be amusing:

I wandered with Fiona around the immediate area north of town but found nothing of interest or couldn't get to stuff that might have been due to fences and gates.

Returning to the Gila Bend AF Auxiliary Field, I posed Fiona with a display aircraft that had Major General Barry Goldwater's name stenciled on the fuselage where the pilot's name went.....I guess he flew it before becoming a politician?

I wandered closer to part of the runway where I'd seen aircraft doing touch and go training earlier, and spied some far off peaks made nicely blue by the haze:

Rode Fiona a bit further down, parallel to the runway, closer to the control tower for these shots:

Returning to the campsite for lunch, I took some pictures of more fighter jets, F-35?, doing touch and go landings:

After lunch it was time to load up Yagi, my Yamaha TW200 and ride down AZ Hwy 85 about 16 miles or just south of mile marker 20 where Gate #9 for the B Area of the Barry Goldwater AF Range is located.

This is the area open to member of the public who've secured the permit one is issued by watching a safety video online and registering with  It's a website used by the Luke Air Force Base to educate/control/monitor the people who wish access to area B to either hike, camp or whatever other outdoor recreation activity.

Once you've registered, you're given a permit via email and the combination code for the lock at Gate #9.  You also have to "check in" when you arrive to let them know when you did so and how long you're planning on staying.  All done via one's phone and the isportsman website.  You have to do it before you go in too deep as there's no cell coverage within the range itself.

The big caution is the possibility of unexploded munitions from previous use by the Air Force of the land as a bombing range.  I only saw one piece of tubing but didn't get close to it.

The area is quite scenic with many rock formations forming small canyon walls and several rocky dirt trails leading to said rock formations.  Today I stayed on the main trail in, until it got to trail #609 which I took to its end.  Here's some of the scenery along the way:

 Hat Mountain is quite eye-catching and drew me ever closer

Soon I was close to the base of Hat Mountain and detoured onto trail #609 to follow it to the end at the base of a walled off set of hills.

Returning back to the main trail, I got on trail #617 which kept going past Hat Mountain to a nearby set of low ridges.  I spotted a trail going up the side of one of the ridges and pointed Yagi at it.

It got steep and really rocky, really fast so being alone riding I chickened out at about a third of the way up.

I shed my riding gear and hiked up the rest of the way to the top of the small pass and this is what you can see if you ride to the other side of the ridge:

This is what you see looking back while standing at the top of the pass:

 South side of Hat Mountain

Took a couple of pics showing the trail's conditions after I had stopped to hike.

Once back with Yagi, I put my riding gear back on and turned her around and slowly made my way back down the really rocky trail.

Retracing my way back towards the junction with trail #609 and the main trail, I took one last show of the neat hills and rock formations.

I bypassed several other trails today that led to smaller rock formations, those will be explored tomorrow!

I rode back to the campsite with no issues besides the usual idiot cagers.

Sunset looked promising so I drove Fiona over to the main road leading from the main gate and posed her next to some palm trees which line this main road:


SonjaM said...

Isn't it a bit noisy around such an air force range? Love the desert pics, however it doesn't look very fertile.

redlegsrides said...

It does get noisy when they’re flying around but it’s not frequent or long lasting as this is just an auxiliary field and I think no large number of planes training at this time. As to the desert not looking fertile, it makes for better riding conditions.....less loose deep sand and no mud.

RichardM said...

It looks like a cool area to explore. Hat Mountain actually looks like what it’s named for. And nice sunset photos...

redlegsrides said...

It’s a really nice area for hiking and exploring to be sure, rode some more of it today, thanks.