Archive for the ‘Trails’ Category

Pt Mugu State Park

August 24th, 2015 by MTBBill

So this weekend I went up to my buddy Bill’s house in the LA for a day of mountain biking,  some Scotch sampling and some socializing at a block party.  We will skip over the part the story where I get me and my stuff up to LA.  We’ll start with me beating on Bill’s door at the 7AM. This is apparently O-Damn Early in the space-time warp continuum surrounding Casa Del LA Bill as I woke him up.  There were promises made the day before about hot coffee and bagels upon my arrival.  Bill had omitted the part that “my arrival” meant “my arrival at the bagel shop just down the street”.   The comedic value of watching the sleep idled Bill try and get ready can not be adequately captured by words.   After much snickers from me (and a trip to the bagel shop) we were on our way to  Pt Mugu State Park.  We parked on PCH right on the ocean and made our way through the campground and up Sycamore Canyon to the Overlook fire road.  There was a pretty thick marine layer going on this morning so things were pretty challenging for taking pictures.  From what I could tell there would have been some pretty views of the Pacific on other days.

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We climbed up Overlook for a little over four miles to the top of the Wood Canyon Vista singletrack (aka Backbone).  A wildfire in May of 2013 burned some 12,000 acres in this area.  One of the optimistic points that Bill pointed out was that now there are great sight lines on the trail.

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Those sight lines came in handy so we could wait for these chaps to get by before we rippppppppppped down that singletrack back into Sycamore Canyon.   Oh what fun it was.  From there we continued up Sycamore Canyon by way of the Two Foxes and Sin Nombre trails that took us to Ranch Center Road.   Ranch Center Road is an old chunk of partially broken pavement that climbs to the west-southwest before dropping down to the top of the Wood Canyon Fireroad.

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At this junction there were the ruins of a couple of ranch structures that we took a gander or two at before heading down Wood Canyon for a bit to catch the Guadalasca trail.  This trail would be a fun descent as well but for us it was a climb of about 950 feet in a little under three miles.

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The Guadalasca trail took us back up to the Overlook fireroad where we quickly hooked back up with the top of the Wood Canyon singletrack for a second run down this trail.  Oh my was that some fun!

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After that we took the Sycamore Canyon Fireroad back down to the park’s entrance on PCH and made our way back to my truck and the cooler with tasty beverages inside.  All together we did a little over 22 miles and about 2,700 feet of climbing.   We would finish the day off back at Bill’s casa where we enjoyed chatting up the neighbors over tasty snacks and beverages.   Not a bad day at all!

Part of Tunnels Open – Semi Rant

August 21st, 2015 by MTBBill

First:  This  from San Diego City Parks and Recreation Department.

Please be advised that the trails approved by the City Council on Carmel Mountain and Del Mar Mesa will be open for use tomorrow. Maps will be posted at kiosks.

On the Del Mar Mesa map, as shown below, trails opened by the Council action are shown in black and white. Trails shown in black and red are NOT open due to private property and/or the need for Coastal Commission approval. Maps will be updated once further clearances are obtained.

For Carmel Mountain, all trails appear the same on the map and all are open.

The Council action also included biological habitat restoration on a number of areas previously used for recreational activities. Ranger staff have installed brush, signs, and fences at the access points to these locations. Please respect these access controls along with the ones installed at the Coastal Zone boundary and report any inappropriate behavior to Park Ranger staff.

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Now a bit of opinion from me:  While this progress is the culmination of a lot of work by a wide array of folks working quite diligently it also shows off some of the bureaucratic buffoonery that is all to common when multiple agencies have to work together.  It better than it was but this trail plan is a setup to foster undesired behaviors.   Where are the loops?   Tunnel 4 is the only legal ingress/egress into the tunnels and then you can only go out and back on the Deer Canyon Trail.   The California Department of Fencing Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is the primary players who would not allow for a trail to create a loop to get back from the eastern end of the Deer Canyon trail back to the Eucalyptus Grove.   This failure to manage the flow of trails users will most likely lead to undesired effects such as trail users figuring out their own way to create a loop with those trails which will further challenge the management of this area.   You can bet that when a group of folks do this they will be demonized by the very folks who help create the problem in the first place.    You know people, particularly trail users, are fairly predictable.  In many respects people are much more predictable that the array of critters these intelligent conservationist are trying to protect.  You would think they would have figured this stuff out by now.

Now my recommendation:   Like the city is asking, PLEASE do not go around any barriers, remove any of the brush, debris or tamper with the “access controls”  (What do that have squirrels with lasers attached to their head?)  that has been put up to close off the existing trails that are not going to be part of this trails system on the mesa.   I believe this would be exactly what some of the ANTI-BIKE ANTI-ACCESS folks/agencies would love to see happen.  DON’T TAKE THE BAIT!     I’ll be updating my page on this trail system in the coming weeks

Rainbow Rim Trail Video

August 16th, 2015 by MTBBill

Well it has been many moons since I did a MTB vid. Lots of reasons why but mostly because I was not particularly motivated to do a video. I have shot lots of video but had a tough time wanting to futz with it at a keyboard.  Well after looking at my footage from the North Rim, I felt like putting a video together. So here you go.   I’m hosting this on YouTube at the moment and I’m still working out the kinks on getting the video encoding to look its best through them.    You can select up to 1080 HD if your connection and device will handle it.

North Rim of the Grand Canyon

August 10th, 2015 by MTBBill

A few days ago I got back from a vacation that included a few days in the Las Vegas that included seeing Aerosmith in concert.   Wow, can those guys still kick some ass on stage!  After the Vegas portion of vacation we continued northward and eastward to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.   This was my third time out here and Nichol’s first.   I first came out here on an Arizona in Summer roadtrip in 2006 and then again on a Flagstaff & North Rim trip in 2010.  You don’t come out here for technical riding, you come out here for the incredible scenery and the experience of riding on the only singletrack currently open to mountain bikes along the rim of the Grand Canyon.   The Rainbow Rim trail is in the Kaibab National Forest and is miles and miles away from pavement, cell phone coverage and any of the tourist trappings of the Grand Canyon National Park despite the border of the national park being just a few feet below the rim of the canyon in this area.   The place requires a commitment to visit but it is well worth it.

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We made our way out to the Kaibab Plateau on a Monday and made our way out to the middle of five points that stick out into the canyon, Locust Point.  We had the entire point to ourselves.

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The view into the Tapeats Amphitheater of the Grand Canyon from our campsite.

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(Nichol looking out from Fence Point)

Now between an overuse injury and an illness I had been off the bike for a two solid months.   The injury was (and still is) tendonitis in my elbows.   I had been trying all kinds of things but rest and all I really managed to do was make it worse to the point where it was not only painful to steer the bike, but painful to do all kinds of daily activities.  Just about when I was ready to get back on the bike I came down with some nasty flavor of the crud and that kept me off the bike for another couple of weeks.   I’m going to call it a blessing in disguise for my elbows.  So the following morning when we headed out on the trail the general decline in fitness along with the trail undulating between 7,500 and 7,750 feet was quite a wake-up call for this sea-level slacker.

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The good news for me is that the Rainbow Rim trail is not a trail to be bombed.  If you come out here to work on your Strava time you are an idiot.   This is a stop and smell the flowers kind of place.

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We split the Rainbow Rim trail up into two days.   On the first day we did an out and back from camp to Parissawampitts Point for a total of 18 miles.   I was dragging by time we got back to camp

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A killer little meadow

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I think aspens are one of the pretty trees there are and I really like how they are intermingled along the trail with the large pines.

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MEAT!   Big fat cowboy style T-bones cooked over a campfire about 20 feet from the rim.  Life is good!   There were only a few hours between sunset and moonrise but in that time the stars that could be seen were crazy amazing.

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The following morning we did an out of and back from Locust Point to Timp Point.  The trail in this direction was just as awesome as the previous day.

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Once again, I’m a sucker for aspens.

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Lots of wildflowers out showing off

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When had some of the locals out watching us.

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When we got to Timp Point, I wanted to show Nichol the Thunder River coming out of the side of the canyon.   I thought I was looking in the right direction but was quite befuddled.

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It was not until after the trip when I reviewed my photos from the 2010 that I figured out my mistake.  The photo above is from the 2010 trip.  Notice the slightly different angle of the “slot” of the canyon in the above shot and the one of it from this years trip.     I had forgotten that we hiked down a trail at Timp Point that goes further out onto the point.   It sheds off quite a bit of elevation, but you have to do this to get the right angle to be able to see further down into the canyon that reveals Thunder River.

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Here is a zoomed in shot of Thunder River. Those are not bushes but trees!

There is an 8-mile extension of the Rainbow Rim trail in the works.   It will consist of 3 miles and change of new singletrack and a decommissioned forest service road will be converted to trail.    I rode about 1.5 miles or so of the roughed in new single track beyond Timp Point before heading back to Timp Point.   It will be a sweet extension when complete.   The cruise back to Locust Point was just as awesome as the outgoing leg and the chunk of the extension I did brought the days mileage up to 21 miles of coolness.   We had another lovely evening and we casually broke camp the following morning to start the road trip back to San Diego.    This was such an awesome trip and well worth the effort to get out here.   This will not be my last time out here.

Wildfire threatening the SART

June 19th, 2015 by MTBBill

There is a wildfire burning near Angelus Oaks, Barton Flats South Fork Area.   Hopefully they can keep this contain south of HWY 38 and protect the homes in the area.   It would also be a horrible for the Santa Ana River Trail or Wildhorse to burn.  Major Bummer!

LAKE FIRE UPDATE AS OF 6/19/15 @ 0658 HRS:

The U.S. Forest Service is reporting that the Lake Fire is now at 11,000 acres, with 10% containment. There are currently 1,224 personnel battling the blaze with the following resources on scene: 88 engines, 1 air tanker, 10 helicopters (including night-flying), 1 air attack plane, 28 crews, 3 water tenders, and 1 dozer. Additional resources have been ordered. Highway 38 remains closed from Angelus Oaks to Lake Williams Drive. The Big Bear Sheriff’s Station will continue to provide updates as information becomes available.

You can follow along with the progress of the firefighting efforts here

JUNE 22th 2015 UPDATE

The fire has burned 17,305 acres and is at 21% contained.   If the trends continue in their current form, the Santa Ana River Trail is going to be spared from any fire damage.  Currently all hiking trails into the San Gorgonio Wilderness and the Pacific Crest Trail from Whitewater Preserve to Onyx Summit are closed.

JUNE 29th 2015 UPDATE

The fire has affected approximately 30,716 acres in size and burning in timber. It is now 50% contained. Highway 38 has been re-opened, however all areas affected by the fire remain closed to recreation purposes.

Beautiful Scenery at Laguna Meadow

June 3rd, 2015 by MTBBill

This past weekend Nichol and I did some camping up a Big Laguna Meadow for a couple of days of enjoying the trails in the area.

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The last bit of rain we had did the flora some good and it look downright like spring up here.

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There was plenty of color both out on the meadow and in the trees.

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Some pretty white stuff on the Big Laguna Trail.  This particular section is one of the reroutes from a couple of years.  I said it before but once again, thumbs up to the ranger out here was made it happen.

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Some color on the upper section of the Noble Canyon trail.

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Lupines near Wooded Hills.

If getting out to Laguna Mountains has been on your to-do list for a while now is an excellent time to get out there!

Utah Weekend – Little Creek Mesa

May 18th, 2015 by MTBBill

Our last day of the Utah weekend found us rolling out of the hotel at a pretty descent time and headed out to Little Creek Mesa with a pit-stop at River Rock Roasters  for some caffeine and sandwiches for a mesa-top lunch.  I have ridden Little Creek several times before and this place is just great.  It has pretty much everything I want in a trail.  There is plenty  flowing singletrack with technical goodies.  Huge vistas that start right at your feet , rock slabs to play on with features big and small, and nature’s beauty all around you.  It also has a feel of being far and away and the route finding you have to do (even with the aid of a GPS) offers a kind of mental engagement that I love in a trail.

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We started out on the main loop and soon found ourselves playing on rock slabs with Zion National Park in the background.

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With all of the rain over the last handful of days there was plenty of water pooled up in the depressions in the rocks.  The big rock slabs gave way to forested single track that was just awesome with the fresh scent of moisture.

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I was not expecting to see snow on the mountains west of St George.  I just don’t see how the views from this mesa could ever get old.

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“The Hot Tub” along the western rim of Little Creek Mesa.  This was one helluva spot for snacks.

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The rain had lots the cacti blooming.

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Better to look than to touch.

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The main loop took out to the fork for the North Point loops. There are some sweet bits of single track goodness as you head out to the North Point with Gooseberry Mesa typically in the background.

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I had ridden this thing a couple of times before but failed to notice the gap this slab went across until this trip.  I guess I was too focused on where I was going.

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The same gap after it opens up a bit.   What an amazingly gorgeous day!   Once back out to the main mesa  we enjoyed a bit of route finding as there seemed to be cairns here, there and sometimes seemingly no where.  You could play out here all day.

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Our playing around eventually took us to “The Waterfall”, one of the iconic features of the mesa.  This was my first time doing the waterfall with actual water around.  I dug how the water showed the line I took. The dark line on the slab is the rear tire while the much fainter line to the right of it is the front wheel.  Here is a shot from a previous trip that shows the led in.  We took the Magic Carpet Ride trail back to the trailhead.   After leisurely enjoying some refreshments and more snacks we had to lament about the reality of still having day jobs and the continual puzzle of how to grow old without growing up.    Considering that we spent that last few days playing in the dirt and riding bicycles we had scored points for neither growing old or growing up this weekend.   That shit would have to wait until tomorrow.

Utah Weekend – Boy Scouts & Zen

May 15th, 2015 by MTBBill

We woke up on day 2 of our Utah weekend to find that it had rained most of the night.    After consulting with the folks at Over The Edge in Hurricane, we changes our ride plans for the day to kept from mucking up the trails. We went out to the Quail Overlook Trail System which is beside the Quail Creek Reservoir.  Colloquially this place is known as the Boy Scout trails due to a nearby Boy Scout camp.

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Oh my this place put down some techno-spank right out of the gate that included tight rocky single track with plenty of “power” moves.

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The trail system primarily includes four loops on three sawtooth escarpments.

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The builders have done a super job of laying out the system to maximize the use of a rather small chunk of land.

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This place is advertised as an expert level trail system and I can’t argue with rating, but I will clarify it.   This is a “slow-tech” wheels-on-the-ground playground. There is not a lot flow here and it is not a bad thing, its part of the character of that place that just seems to pack “It” into the miles.

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I particularly enjoyed the combination moves.   Things like a rocky climbs with ledge moves coming out tight switch backs.   There were plenty sections where you seem to be continually in a state of using body English.

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The most northern loop called Adventure Scout was by far the most technical of the bunch out there.   We ran into one of the primary builders of this trail system (Quentin – – Awesome Job Quentin!!) and he described a couple of sections as best ridden “Balls over Brains”.  It is interesting to note that not following that advice could have you literally going “Balls over Brains” into some very unforgiving terrain.   There is a lot of effort per mile designed into this this place.  We only did a little over six miles and it felt like we had done twice that.   I really dug the combination of power moves and the bit of  mental “checkers” required to clean the stuff out here.

As we enjoyed a tasty smuggled in San Diego microbrew over lunch, we decided that we had enough gas in the leg tanks for an afternoon session.

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We hit up The Zen Trail which is right on the outskirts of St George.   I had heard lots of good stuff about this trail and it has always been on the To-Do List but have never gotten to it.

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Things opened up with a climb and soon we were near the edge of the mesa.

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There is about a total of 1,100 feet of climbing on this route.    We could see ominous clouds slowly moving our way.

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The variety of this trail is quite awesome. Rock crawling, sweet single track, vista, there are lots of goodies out here.

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When we got to the top of the mesa we had some great views of Green Valley below.  We could also see the rain a coming!  Shortly after the picture above, the rain caught us and the camera remained holstered in my pack.   The descent was exceptional with a combination of sweet single track and with some slick rock.  There were also a few undulations along the way that put a little sting in the legs at this point in the day’s overall effort.   We also missed a turn and found ourselves on double track.  After a bit of uphill backtracking we hooked back up on the single track that lead us back to the trailhead.

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Just as we were getting back to the truck the rain stopped and the sun broke out.    Ahhh rainbows and microbrews from heaven.  We were living well!

 

Utah Weekend – Guacamole

May 11th, 2015 by MTBBill

This past weekend Bill O’Neil and I made a dash to Utah to get on some good red dirt and killer rock riding.    We were quite surprised that a storm had settled in the SoCal area the night before and brought in some much needed rain along with some snow at the higher elevations.   It was a mighty fine time to get the hell of Dodge.   The destination for day one was the Guacamole trails perched up on a mesa outside of Virgin, Utah.   After copious amounts coffee, beef jerky and a tank and change of fuel (burned at a highly uneconomical rate), we crossed into Utah to be greeted with storm clouds.   As we rolled through St George and Hurricane we were intermittently getting rained on but I had learned that in this neck of the woods if you don’t like the weather wait five minutes.  As we rolled through Virgin there were clear skies above and the dirt road that goes up to the mesa had just a puddle or two.

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It was a bit brisk and windy but beautifully sunny when we rolled out onto the first trail segment called Margarita. This was a new trail to me and I was stoked to check it out.

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It was not long before we juked onto the Salt on the Rim trail and got in some good views along with the sight of incoming weather.   Someone in Seattle once told me that there is no such thing as bad weather only bad gear.  We had the gear, but from the best we could tell it looked like this storm would pass us just to the south.

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We did end up get a little sprinkling on us as we made our way out to the main Guacamole Loop but it only lasted a few minutes.   What we were left with was straight up hero dirt.

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We took a connector trail called Lime (These trail names rock!) that went out to another loop called Holy Guacamole that took all the way to the southern tip of the mesa.  We had good views of Zion Nation Park as well as the north rim of Gooseberry Mesa from here.

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This is some fantastic single track with good technical challenges through amazing landscape with Zion National Park just a stones through away.

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In several spots the trail is literally along the park’s fence line.

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Holy Guacamole this is a fun trail!

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The Holy Guacamole goodness brought us back to the other side of the earlier loops we were on that eventually took us back to the trailhead.   This was some grade A trail awesomeness and it will certainly not be my last time riding on this mesa.   Shortly after we got off the mesa and headed back to St George we got into a good bit of rain.   We were pretty stoked at our window of fortune with the rain and we were particularly glad we had decided to get a hotel room for this trip vice our typical camping arrangements.  It was a mighty fine start to the weekend.

Orosco Ridge – Boden Canyon Loop

May 6th, 2015 by MTBBill

I have added a page to the site for the Orosco Ridge and Boden Canyon Loop near Ramona.  This is 14.2 mile loop that includes about 2,200 feet of total climbing.

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An old road/truck trail turned singletrack through a meadow in Boden Canyon.

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Mother Nature is doing good stuff to the Lower Santa Ysabel Truck Trail.

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This old road in Boden Canyon has turned into some singletrack goodness.    Check it out!