So I have not been up Bernardo Mountain located on the north side of Lake Hodges in a quite some time. While it is not a terribly long climb, it has always been a solid climb with some pretty technical bits up near the top. For many years it has been one of those benchmark trails to judge where I stand against my former self. I decided to go out and run “the test” again.
Before I really got started I had to take a short pause to yield the right of way to one of the locals. I have only see a few rattlesnakes this year so I was pretty bummed that I was not lugging a round my DSLR rig on this ride. After some interaction time with Mr Nope Rope I was onto the climb proper.
There is a distinctive spot on the trail where the “test” really starts. Its probably a little more than halfway up and the trail switchbacks to the right and gets rocky, ledgy and steeper all at once. It is not like this all the way up but there are plenty of sections like this to negotiate. From this point on I had a series of disappointments. (Just for the record I did not clean the climb to the summit from here) The amount of sanitation that has occurred in this trail has very much changed the character of the trail. For the most part there are no longer any loose rock sections to climb. The loose rocks have for the most part have been kicked off the trail and piled up along the sides. People have even pulled out rocks to make some sections smooth. Smooth sections that are now going to be more prone to erosion now that the soil “armor” is gone. I realize that some people think they are improving the trail, but really? There are also those other types you feel the need to modify the trail in order to say they rode it or to get that personal best. Those folks are some other special flavor of narcissistic asshole.
Maybe I’m just a grumpy old bastard. Maybe I’m the narcissist asshole yelling the equivalent of “back in my day we had to walk to school in the snow, uphill, both ways!”. Either way I did much better on that climb than I should have. It was not because I was in any kind of better shape or more skilled than my last outting here. The climb is just not as hard as it used to be and I’m pretty aggravated about. Its not easy by a long shot, it is just not as hard as it used to be. I realize this happens to most trails as I have seen it happen in numerous places but it does not mean I have to like it! Alright Bitch Sesson complete.
Today I went out for a quick spin in the Cuyamaca Mountains which rarely falls into the “This Sucks!” category.
I started from the East Mesa parking lot and took the East Mesa singletrack up to the visitor center where I connected to the Green Valley fire road. I took this up to the Green Valley single track and work my way to the La Cima trail.
The La Cima trail took me to the California Riding and Hiking trail, which I took south where I hooked up with the Stonewall fireroad and then over to the Cold Springs trail.
At the bottom of the Cold Springs trail I crossed HWY 79 and hooked up with the West Side singletrack and took it south back to the East Mesa staging area. It was definitely a fun day on the bike!
It is with a bit of sadness that I must pass on that this beautiful old oak tree has finally moved on from Daley Ranch.
On my Sunday morning ride, I found this tree toppled over completely blocking the eastern half of the Jack Meadow loop. Half of this oak had come down a year or so ago, but the other half finally we over as well. Considering that Daley Ranch has a staff to handle this kind of stuff I imagine the tree came down on Saturday. Good bye old friend you were a most welcome shade spot.
Another trail from “The List” checked off today. The Mckenzie River Trail was simply amazing with pretty much everything I think a singletrack connoisseur would want in a trail. This excursion is in the discussion of the best 25 miles of trail I have ever been on. Props to Nichol for shuttling me to the trail and showing up at end with beer!
Tomorrow it time to head home but we are most definitely going to be back to Bend!
We were digging the scene in Bend so much that we extended our stay in Bend for a few more days.
We did another super fun ride that included Dutchmans Flat, Flagline, Swampy Lake, Swede Ridge, Area 16, Upper and Lower Whoops, Phils Marvin Gardens and COD. It was a 35 mile day on tasty singletrack. A great day to be on a bike.
My work project completed on schedule and Nichol flew up with her bike to start our play project. Saturday we bolted from Washington to Bend Oregon for some MTB fun for a few days before heading to parts further south.
Nichol setup us up with a nice pad for the stay.
The opening day ride was a shuttle up to Swampys where we did the Swampy Lake loop to Swede Ridge, Area 16, Upper and Lower Whoops followed by some Phil’s and Bens.
So I had told Nichol that route was 25 miles long. This was indeed true. At the Phil’s trailhead it was 25 miles. I neglected to mention the ride from the trailhead back to town. So for the last five or six miles Nichol accused me of trying to kill her.
I think she did pretty darn well today and I did not hear to much protesting on the last few miles. (I did however ride a little further ahead which maaaay just have been slightly outside of earshot!
Once back in town all was better as we recounted the days awesomeness over tasty beers.
I got up at O-damm early this morning to knock off a long time on “The List” trails. The Mt Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument’s Ape Canyon and Plains of Abraham trails did not disappoint. Mother Nature only allowed partial views of the mountain today which clearly means she wants me to come back. The climb up through the old growth forest spared by the eruption was sublime. Climbing up onto the plains was a WOW moment. It was amazing to see what the mountain did when it decided to give its etch-a-sketch a little shake in 1980. It’s going to take me a few days to process all of the life enrichment I took in today.
Over the last few days the smoke has been pretty thick considering how far away the Canadian and Eastern Washington wild fires were. The day after my last ride I was pretty congested and “hackie” so I decided to forego fun on the trails for a few days.
The smoke was pretty thick.
A little bit of rain and favorable winds cleared out the smoke enough to get a ride this afternoon. I made a return to Banner Forest for some twisty fast singletrack fun.
A had another good week of getting in some good afterwork rides in out at Green Mountain State Park. Most of the week I focused on zipped over the west side of the west side of the park to get to know that side better. Plenty of trail on that side as well.