Scenes from Ullr Fest and the uber burly freeride trails at Pajarito Mountain Ski Area

It’s been ten years since Neal Pederson and a group of volunteers began building freeride trails at the non-profit-owned Pajarito Mountain Ski Area in northern New Mexico.

Lots of people enjoying good beer, food and friends at Ullr Fest at Pajarito Mountain.

Lots of people enjoying good beer, food and friends at Ullr Fest at Pajarito Mountain.

Throughout the summers volunteers work to clear fallen trees off the trails following storms, maintain what trails and features that they’ve already built, and scope out areas for new features to add when and where they would make sense.

Today what Pajarito Mountain has is a mix of about thirteen lift-served black-diamond  freeride and downhill mountain bike trails in addition to a healthy variety of cross country trails for bikers and hikers to choose from thanks to those hard-working volunteers.

For people from Durango, Colorado, such as myself, having lift-served freeride mountain bike trails to choose from is a luxury, even if it is only offered every other weekend during the summer.

Hey the same guy is tailgating the other guy! Actually, it's just a masterpiece Photoshop stitch of this blogger shot from a continuous burst. Photo by Jack Lenier. Photos of Adam Howell edited by Adam Howell.

Hey that same guy is tailgating the other guy! Actually, it’s just a masterpiece Photoshop stitch of this blogger shot from a continuous burst. Photo by Jack Lenier. Photos of Adam Howell edited by Adam Howell.

On Saturday, Pajarito Mountain Ski Area and it’s clients celebrated the Norweigan snow god Ullr with a festival having more live music and brewery vendors than a straight edge homemaker could shake a stick at. It was also the last day of the season that Pajarito would be offering lift service for hikers and bikers wanting to ride up the Aspen lift.

During the four runs that I made that day, I could hear the mellow tones of the ska, reggae and dance hall tunes of The Blue Hornets band that was playing on the deck at the lodge.

The lifts ran from 9:00 til 3:00, whereupon the party at the lodge picked up and a healthy-sized crowd was hanging out drinking beers from one of the nine craft breweries on site and dancing on the deck. It was a hell of a party!

Lift tickets at Pajarito are $25 a day for bikers and $10 for hikers. 

For more information see the Pajarito Mountain Facebook Page, or see the Tuff Riders website.

The Blue Hornets

The Blue Hornets playing reggae and ska at the lodge.

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Around nine craft breweries were serving their finest at Ullr Fest 2013.

Around nine craft breweries were serving their finest at Ullr Fest 2013.

Ben Katco of UNM's Engineers Without Borders was getting the word out about the organization's goal of installing water infrastructure while trying to raise funds for materials that will be used. Katco and two other alumni from Fort Lewis College were found hanging out with Katco doing good deeds.

Ben Katko of UNM’s Engineers Without Borders was getting the word out about the organization’s goal of installing water infrastructure in third world countries while trying to raise funds for materials that would be used. Katco and two other alumni from Fort Lewis College were found at Ullr Fest supporting the cause. Chive on!

A teeter totter on Mother's Milk Trail at Pajarito Mountain.

A teeter totter on Mother’s Milk Trail at Pajarito Mountain.

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Photo by Jack Lenier. Rider Adam Howell hits a winding trestle bridge to a log ride, then a drop on Red Dog.

Photo by Jack Lenier. Rider Adam Howell hits a winding trestle bridge to a log ride, then a drop on Red Dog.

A cork screw on Red Dog Trail at Pajarito Mountain Ski Area.

A cork screw on Red Dog Trail at Pajarito Mountain Ski Area.

A volunteer staff of about 4 or five people provide emergency medical assistance to those at Pajarito Mountain in need.

A volunteer staff of about 4 or five people provide emergency medical assistance to those at Pajarito Mountain in need.

Best hot dog stand in Durango: Good on the Bun LLC

For the best Philly cheese steak or grilled chicken sandwich in Durango made by two guys that are genuinely from Philadelphia go visit Good on the Bun hot dog stand in the Downtown Smoke Shop parking lot on Main Ave.

Markus Chesla and Tom Corrado at Good on the Bun cook up some marvelous food to keep your mouth happy.

Markus Chesla and Tom Corrado at Good on the Bun cook up some marvelous food to keep your mouth happy.

Since last October, Markus Chesla and Tom Corrado have been serving Durango up with Phillies, hot dogs and brats every day as well as a homemade soup and sandwich menu that changes weekly.

They use Nathan’s all beef hot dogs, Sheboygan Brats, rolls from Philly, roasted green chillis, organic arugula and sauteed onions, among other condiments. They’ve got chips and drinks to sell with it.

Operating Tuesdays through Fridays from 10:30 to 3:00 p.m., these guys will be working through the winter in downtown Durango in addition to catering food for special events such as backstage catering for performers at Planet Bluegrass, said Corrado.

A grilled chicken sandwich from Good on the Bun hot dog stand in Durango, Colorado.

A grilled chicken sandwich from Good on the Bun hot dog stand in Durango, Colorado.

Of everything that they serve, the Philly cheese steak sandwich is the most popular, said Chesla. This blogger has tried the Philly cheese steak, the grilled chicken sandwich and a hot dog from their stand on separate occasions. It’s all good and fast!

Big Lick Trail, San Juan National Forest

Big Lick Trail on the San Juan National Forest has some epic views when you get about half way down.

Big Lick Trail on the San Juan National Forest has some epic views.

A topographic map of Big Lick Trail that's delineated in red. Map courtesy of GIS Specialist Ben Bain.

A topographic map of Big Lick Trail that’s delineated in red. Map courtesy of GIS Specialist Ben Bain.

Big Lick Trail on the San Juan National Forest is a rarely traveled primitive single track that’s yearning for you to ride it.

Coming off the back side of Durango Mountain Resort and Elbert Creek, this trail runs mostly along a ridge line on the north side of the drainage that Big Lick Creek runs through.

If you are a hunter looking for a wild desolate place to track down some big game, this is the place for you.

If you are a mountain biker looking for a gravity-fed single track that allows you to keep your momentum with consistency, then Big Lick could disappoint you.

A Google Earth map of Big Lick Trail. Big Lick is delineated in red, and it meets up with Hermosa Creek (blue) at the bottom.

A Google Earth map of Big Lick Trail. Big Lick is delineated in red, and it meets up with Hermosa Creek (blue) at the bottom.

What’s enjoyable about Big Lick are the sections where you are hauling ass down some short section of single track, root gardens or around some natural berms created by water erosion.

Big Lick has a mellow traverse at the middle third section of the ridge line that runs across a sparsely forested hillside on a south aspect where you have great views of most of the drainage, as well as the other side of Hermosa Creek up in to the La Plata mountains.

Most of the trees that had fallen across the trail had been cleared off by someone before we rode it.

What sucks about Big Lick Trail? Keep reading to find out.

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Cranking to the top of Big Lick Trail.

Looking for a trail with flow and the ability to let you keep your momentum to the bottom? This is not the trail for you.

Due to the tendency of the terrain to make you ride back of to the top of three knobby hills along the way down the ridge, you can’t really keep your speed for very long on Big Lick.

A plethora of soil that’s been churned by horse and cattle hooves on Big Lick Trail also tends to scrub the speed that you could otherwise be using to have some fun. The trail is named after a big salt lick, after all.

The top of Big Lick Trail

The top of Big Lick Trail

Other speed-scrubbing barriers on this trail also includes short knee-high flora growing over the trail that bites at your shins, as well as sparse patches of taller scrub oak that bash your knuckles against the handle bars.

Have you ever encountered switchbacks that were so sharp in their angle and pitch that you HAD to put a foot down to stay on the trail? Big Lick has a challenge for you.

Big Lick Trail is about a 14 mile shuttle ride from behind DMR to the Hermosa Creek trail head at Hermosa Park.

Sanctioned, permitted structures at a camp above Elbert Creek. When will sanctioned permitted freeride structures for mountain bikes not be discriminated against?

A camp with structures above Elbert Creek.

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Tree graffiti on Big Lick.

Tree graffiti on Big Lick.

A view of La Plata mountains from Big Lick Trail.

A view of La Plata mountains from Big Lick Trail.

The ridge line on Big Lick Trail.

The ridge line on Big Lick Trail.

Big Lick Trail pops out on to Hermosa Creek Trail at a Bridge across from Big Bend Creek/Trail.

Big Lick Trail pops out on to Hermosa Creek Trail at a Bridge across from Big Bend Creek/Trail.

A log jam along Hermosa Creek Trail.

A log jam along Hermosa Creek Trail.

Hermosa Creek Trail on the way back from Big Lick Trail.

Hermosa Creek Trail on the way back from Big Lick Trail.

A view from our camp site near Hermosa Park.

A view from our camp site near Hermosa Park.

Some nutritional facts of monounsaturated fat found in bacon and associated nitrites, nitrates

Half of the fat found in bacon is monounsaturated, which mostly consists of oleic acid, the type so valued in olive oil, according to Mary Enig, author of Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer For The Understanding The Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol.

Half of the fat found in bacon is monounsaturated, which mostly consists of oleic acid, the type so valued in olive oil, according to Mary Enig, author of Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer For The Understanding The Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol.

Dr. Kaayla Daniel wrote this outstanding piece for the Weston A. Price Foundation that gives plenty of hearty insight to the nutritional benefits of fat, and what the various preservatives in bacon mean for your health. Check out the story by clicking on the link below.

Save Your Bacon! Sizzling Bits about Nitrites, Dirty Little Secrets about Celery Salt and Other Aporkalyptic News | Recovery from Modern Diets – Weston A Price Foundation, by Dr Kaayla Daniel.