The weather was so nice that a couple of my buddies and I decided to take a day for a guys ride on some of the tougher trails in the Martinez Mine area about 60 miles south/east of Phoenix AZ. This area has a lot of old mine roads that have now turned into 4x4 trails. When I was new to the area I used to seek out Jeep websites and trail books to find out where the hardcore trails were. I’ve had a lot of fun in this area over the years.
There were only 3 of us; Jim would be on his Suzuki 450 Motorcycle, insane Zane on his Can-Am 800 Outlander with PitBull Rocker tires and me on my Polaris Sportsman 500 fitted with DWT Moapa tires. We are all very familiar with the area so on this rare occasion, we didn’t have a set trail route planned. With only three of us we did, however, know we were going to cover a good amount of ground.
We started out at one of our old standby warm up spots on a trail called Lower Woodpecker. This is just a huge boulder strewn wash where you have to be on the correct line or you could be in trouble in a hurry. Of course Jim on his motorcycle just went right up the middle around the rocks.
Zane and I had more fun as we had both ends of our quad in the air more than a few times.
Right next to the area we are riding in up on the rock face are some ancient Indian pictographs. I am always amazed at how many places I have seen Indian pictographs around our beautiful state.
A little further up the trail Zane tried to wedge his machine between 2 rather large boulders. We have done this many times in the past but today was a different story.
Fortunately he is so darn strong he just stepped off and pushed his quad back to the ground.
After running Lower Woodpecker we made a short turn onto another trail named Ajax. There are two sections to this trail, a lower and an upper. The lower section is mostly a desert wash and is pretty mild with a few boulder crawls along the way.
The upper section is not one to shake a stick at. Many vehicles end up turning around at some of the difficult obstacles. Large boulders lead to big steep rock climes and waterfalls. If you make it to the end you end up right at the base of the Ajax mine.
The lower section was a breeze for us. Running up and down desert wash trails can be a lot of fun. In the upper section Zane ‘s Rockers still found plenty of bite, even with over 4,600 very tough miles on them. Well at least most of the time they did. Here is a photo of him totally high centered. I guess you can’t blame the tires for not getting traction if they aren’t touching the ground.
There is a big rock pile just before the first waterfall in Upper Ajax where you have to get some momentum to climb up and over the rocks. Zane made it look easy but for some reason I just could not get lined up very well and had to make several attempts to make it up and over. It is amazing how a few inches one way or the other make such a big difference in making it or not. I persevered and finally made it over to the next big obstacle thanks to the grip from my DWT Moapa’s.
Near the top of this short trail there are 2 steep waterfalls you have to go up before coming out at the mine. Jim made it up the first one but even he had to put a foot down half way up. These waterfalls sometimes have flowing water and sometimes are completely dry. When there is any bit of water it can get very slippery.
After watching Jim slip and slide part way up the first waterfall I decided it was a good idea to have him spot me. I made it up the first hump fine but it got a little hairy at the top when I was getting over one of the last large rocks. I ended up conquering it but man I missed the power steering on the Polaris 850XP.