So I have been behind the power curve on making reservations ahead of time for excursions. I had to go the route of finding a first come first serve site for this outing. I was looking to hit up our favorite spot, the Laguna Meadow Campground, but it is currently closed for maintenance. Burnt Rancheria was the other campgroup on the list but they were all booked up so I headed up mid-week to find an spot. Most of the first come first serve sites are tent camping sized sites. I was not the only person who had this mid-week idea as when I arrived most of the larger sites that would accommodate an average or larger RV were already occupied. One of the reasons we went with the size trailer we did was to be able to get into more places and spots. Lucky for me there were half a dozen spots that were large enough for our setup. The spot I got had just enough of a parking spot to use but it made the door face away from the site itself. No big deal as the site itself was huge.
The following morning I decided to do some snooping around on some trails/routes that I had never been or or I had been quite some time ago. My boundaries for the day were Sunrise Highway, Kitchen Creek Rd, Fred Canyon Rd and and Thing Valley Road.
Dispersed camping is allowed on the National Forest land off of Kitchen Creek Road and Thing Valley Road so I had an eye out for accessing those options on a later visit.
The more I snooped around the further east and down the mountain range I traveled. Evidently I found myself by Cibbets Flats campground thinking I had done a good chunk of descending so it about time to head back uphill. I decided to make a loop using Fred Canyon Road and Thing Valley Road to get back up on top of the Lagunas.
The climb up Fred Canyon Road was not too terribly difficult but it had some steeper spots and there was little shade along the way. I evidently made it to the junction of Thing Valley Road and continued climbing. Thing Valley Road takes you up through the Ewiiaapaayp Indian Reservation (Stay on the road) for a ways before you are back in the National Forest. As you approach the northern border of the reservation the flora transitions from desert scrub to pine trees. Evidently gnats love this kinda forest as once I was under the trees the gnats got thick. I realized I have my bug net in my truck and not in my pack. The remainder of the climb was a bit of extra work as there was some additional calories expended swooshing at those little bastards. I heard once that the the Southern California Gnat can fly at up to 6.7 mph. My top climbing speed on Thing Valley Road was apparently 6.6 mph.
I felt pretty good about the effort I put in for the day but I was certainly ready for a siesta. It was a very good day to be out on a bike.
I was pretty stoked to finally be able to get a way from the house in the midst of all this COVID-19 BS. The plan was to take the RV up to the Herky Creek Campground and base camp there for the weekend Nichol and got up there on Friday afternoon and a couple of hours later my longtime MTB Bud Bill arrived. We spent the afternoon and evening grubbing out catching up and sampling tasty whiskeys. Bill and I have learned a thing our two about our proclivity to try and solve world hunger around a campfire at night when there is a bike ride the following morning. We set an alarm clock, not to get up in the morning but to go to bed 🙂
The weather was pretty foggy the following morning it looked like we might get some drizzle action as well. We had the right gear so off we went. Today’s ride would be Pine Cove and Hub Trails.
We took advantage of the spousal shuttle service leaving Bill’s truck at the Hub Trailhead while Nichol dropped us off up in Pine Cove
It has been more than a couple moons since the last time I had started from Pine Cove so it took me a couple of minutes orientate myself. I ended up taking the route I new and then later in the ride realized that few new connectors had been added that optimized your elevation loss/gain. Our basic route was a bit of Project X, Toptimater, Dreamwalker, Hard Sun and Tubs.
The cloud cover kept the temperatures at just in the comfortable range. We got ourselves turned around a couple of times snooping on some of the new stuff (since the last time I rode there) but that is all part of the fun of this area.
That evening was more tasty grub and good times. The next morning the sun was out and it was time for some more fun on two wheels to the east of where we were base camped.
The Pretty Cool Temps and cloud cover were gone for this ride and replaced with gorgeous sunshine and warmer temps.
Spring was still holding on in a few spots.
Bill harassing the locals
We had a great time out on a nice bit of trail. This was my second time out on this route and I was really stoked to show off some of the bits of trail that included some of the California Riding and Hiking Trail.
Back at camp we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon, before breaking camp and rolling back to San Deigo. I had reserved the spot for Sunday night as well, but I enjoy not having to be rushed out of the site on the last day. This was a nice weekend getaway and good opportunity for Bill to check out live in the RV for some of less local adventures I have planned with this rig in the future.
A friend of mine whose mug shots have been sprinkled all around this website took a hiatus from riding in 2017. I am pretty stoked to have nudged him enough to get back to living dirty on two wheels.
We decided to do the south side of Lake Hodges for the return ride. The nice about the south side is you can make things pretty easy, there is some technical spots and there are lots of options to add more mileage.
I am enjoying the riding this time of year in San Diego. The wildflowers here and there along the trail is a real treat. There were lost of the colorful stuff out on my favorite routes as of late out at Black Mountain.
It has really felt good to be able to ride again and I have been working on getting back into shape while taking a measure approach to the riding as the knee gets stronger. I certainly do not want to have a relapse of the pain issues.
I have been able to get in three rides in this past week. First of was Lake Hodges where I did the north and south sides for about a 20 mile effort.
I did my local ride from the house and felt pretty good on it.
And I meet my buddy Dave for a ride and La Costa which included some of the Back 40 goodness. Maintaining proper social distancing was pretty easy with Dave. I could barely keep him within 100 feet let alone 6 feet.
On the backside trails we came across a Rattler. He was pretty happy where he was at so we had to give him some encouragement to get off the trail. There were no sticks of the appropriate length around so I stood behind my bike, held onto the saddle and rolled the bike up close to the snake. One the front wheel got within a foot of the snake he figured it was best to give up his ground. If you have your arm outstretched to you saddle and lean over while you do this you can keep seven plus feet between you and the snake. I like to get these folks away from the trail when I encounter them as you never know when some Ahole is going to come along think these things need to be killed.
After we got this fellow to move along we finished up the ride. I felt really good about how I finished up the ride. It was a good week of ridin
Time to get in some more Black Mountain. I continue to be impressed with the improvements that been made and the progress on the trails out here.
The Black Widow trail going down the west slope of the mountain continues to see love from the trail crews.
Word is there are future plans for access to the East Rim from the east side as well. That would be pretty awesome as all of the current access point are both social trails and brutally steep hike-a-bikes. I’m so excited about this place is coming along from standpoint of how advocacy groups and willing community governments can actually make things happen.
After partaking in all of traditional Christmas time feasting it was time to try to knock a little of the growing HO HO HO off of my belly with some miles and some climbing. Daley Ranch offers plenty of that. I decided to switch my routes some on my two rides out here this week. I decided to start out with a climb up the boulder loop which I have not done it quite some time. While on the climb I came upon a Kangaroo Rat.
So I have seen plenty of Kangaroo rats out on the trail when night riding. This was my first time seeing one during the daylight and certainly catching one. I actually caught this little critter several times while trying to get the photos. Other than a couple ticks on its under side it seems to be healthy. I’m pretty sure its behavior is going have it being a coyote or hawk snack very soon.
It was has been really pretty out here lately with the winter storms bringing in some much needed moisture.
It was pretty nice to do some of this area in the opposite direction than what I normally take. Seeing things from a different perspective as well as at a different speeds put a nice “new” twist on things.
I always think it is a treat to see and visit snow without snow coming to visit me.
It has been quiet some time since I have been over to the east side of Black Mountain in Rancho Bernardo. Man I have been missing out. There has been some really good contouring single tracks built on “Little Black Mountain” that are replacing the stupidly steep old jeep routes that were previously most of your options out there.
The great thing is these are fully above board legal trails. The local community and the San Diego Mountain Biking Association working with the City of San Diego have a good thing going out there.
The route I have been kinda digging as of late has me starting from the Black Mountain Open Space Park and head south along west base of the mountain to connect to the main fire road climb where I head up to the peak. After the peak I drop down the Black Widow Trail. I climb back up the main fire road where I then cut over to Little Black Mountain and ride the loops out and then connection up to the Nighhawk trail to Miner Ridge Loop. From there I do the eastern half of that loop to Lilac and then to the Ahwee that takes me back to the park. Here is a link to that route. The end of the Ahwee is cut off due to my GPS watch running out of juice so your distance should be slightly longer. (I need to update my website page on this trail system)
So I managed to get back to the Cowboy trails for another crack and making it up to the ridge without getting snowed out.
After that I took the outer loop which I had never done before. It was some nice bit of single track
From Outer Loop I hooked up with Midas and SARS. It was nice to be able to feel my toes at this stage of the ride compared to my last time our here.
After that I took Radio Tower. (Next time I will take Little , The uppermost bit of Bomb Voyage, Little Jimmy Switchbacks up to the Ridge Trail
The views from the ridge line was just as cool as I remember Once off I the ridge trail, I hooked up with the Bomb Voyage trail. I got turned turned around just a bit at the top on some hiker spurs but there is no mistaking the trail once it turns downhill. Oh man is the trail burly! I had to walk more that a couple of sections. Pretty close to the bottom, the Bob Gnarly trail merges with Bomb Voyage. During my next visit out here I’m going to give Bob Gnarly a shot. The numbers are a lot less than the fun (and work) factor out here. I’m already looking forward to a return to here on the next visit to Vegas.
I recently revisited the connector route between and the La Costa trail system and the Elfin Forest recreation reserve as well as little bit of exploration along the way. Here are few thoughts and pictures from along the way.
I had not been on the Escondido Creek single track in a really long time. When I was helping with the early phase of constructing this trail, I got my worst case of poison oak I have ever had. There was some PO along this trail on this ride but it was not really encroaching into the trail.
I tinkered with a few offshoot trails as long the way. When I got to Elfin I thought about putting together a loop using a series of trails a dirt roads to the north. I opted to check out a few more along the route I came out on. All together I put in 21 miles and change along with 3,000 feet of climbing. If you rode all of the Elfin and La Costa trails along with the connector you could pile up about 40 miles. I am going to tinker here some more for sure.