The trail began at the pine trailhead and it got off to a very very nice start on smooth narrow trail. It was a good climb for a bit, nothing dramatic but I would call it comfortable. The trail then leveled out and views off the trail were stunning! The trail was way better than I expected, flowy with ups and downs. The terrain was mixed with Sedona vibes too, so yeah this was even better than expected. I was cooking good time and despite feeling like absolute trash I was focused on the task at hand and enjoying it and trying to ignore the symptoms as much I could. Did I say how nice it was to be there! It looks like some sort of fall happened, the woods were a strange mix of lush ravines and few red maples and lots of pine, the ground was obviously severely parched. The miles clicked on and by mile 15 I was really worrying what the ride back was going to be like, the plan was to loop it but I kinda thought about why would I ride dirt roads instead of this awesomeness back. I think I decided on the road since I was tired and thought it would be easier as my symptoms got worse to scary, I now had full flu like symptoms. If I did it again I would definitely ride it out and back.
The miles were coming slower by mile 18, I was almost at my turn around point and was still being blessed by spectacular landscape. I did eventually hit the road at mile 21 and then I would descend and ascend never ending boring roads with very light vehicle traffic for the next 14 miles. It sucked as much as I thought it would, next time out and back!
Once I hit the pavement section I was stoked after climbing never ending gravel roads I could see the finish line on a 30mph downhill pavemnt ride for a mile and hit my goal of under 4 hours for the 36 mile trek. This was so great and one of my all time favorites!