Archive for the ‘Trails’ Category

Little Creek Mesa – Day 3

May 10th, 2017 by MTBBill

I woke up to the sounds of Coyotes yipping it up with all of their friends in the wee hours of the morning.   One of the coyotes sounded like he was right outside of tent.  I could hear the other end of the conversation way off in the distance, so evidently the fellow near me had to put a little extra spank on his call to get there.   It was still dark out and after Mr. Coyote moved on, I got another hour or two of shuteye before getting up for good.   Here was the view of Casa Del Bill for the weekend.

 After seeing a few “new-to-us” forks in the trail and cairn stacks yesterday we decided that we would ride a second day here instead of hitting up a different location.   It certainly made the logistics easier by not having to break camp and pack up before heading out for a ride.    Cook up some breakfast and hit some trails straight out of camp was the plan.

Little Creek Mesa once again did not disappoint. We found our way over to the stuff we had seen the day before and we were soon on some nice stuff not on our map.

I later did find the trails on some other maps where it was listed as something along the lines of “The Alternate Loop”.   It is a fantastic alternate.

I like the way the photo above came out as I think it captures one of cool aspects of riding on the huge sections of rock on the mesa.   You are routinely scanning for the route, looking and chasing rock and looking for lines across and through the fields of slick rock.   It is a form mental engagement with the trail that is hard to come by on different forms of topology.

While scoping along our route, we came across sizable rock overhang that required an assessment of its chilling out worthiness.   Oh its most worthy!  This area we were was marked with cairns but was to later not be found on any of the maps/resources I have.

Talk about a tough way to make a living.   This small pine tree is literally between a rock and a hard place.   You see this often out on the mesa and it pretty to cool to see how life is going to find a way.

One of the section of the mesa we were on was quite fun and required quite a bit of route finding as we went along.   The picture above is looking back at the direction we came from.   We realized we would have more ups than downs on the way back.

This was the view off the edge of the mesa we had ridden down to.   The view did not suck.   From here we would trace our way back to camp and start getting packed up for the return trip home.   I pulled back into the garage at home at roughly 10pm.   This was a pretty easy there and back kind of weekend with some quality trail time from sure.   I tend to forget just how accessible this area from San Diego.    I need to make more trips here.

Little Creek Mesa – Utah Day 2

May 5th, 2017 by MTBBill

Day two of the quick Utah weekender started off by waking up on Little Creek Mesa.   Both Bill and I are Scotch and Bourbon fans so we both brought some offering from our collections to share around the campfire.    I was clearly too enthusiastic with the barrel aged goodness that night and I found myself having a rough go of getting started in the morning.    Luckily it was a short commute to the trailhead 🙂

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I love this mesa, the slick rock, the vistas, single track, it just sooooo good.

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One of the first spots along the main loop that comes out onto the western rim of the mesa.

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Gooseberry Mesa out across the valley.

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Good stuff and good views along the main loop.   There are a few spots where you don’t want to wildly blow a turn.

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At the junction of the north loops and the main loops, a flash gathering of the Yeti tribe happened.   The two Santa Cruz riders in the group took the pictures.

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Cruising along out near the North Point.

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I dig how this rock formation looks like some kind of ape skull with the way the light is on it.

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More slick rock awesomeness.   While on our way back to camp we saw a few lines of cairns heading off in directions we had not been before.   We decided then and there we would come back and check that out tomorrow vice dealing with additional logistics of going someplace else and bringing down camp.

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After the main ride for the day, we did some poking around at other spots on the mesa.   We came across this “Waterglyph”.   According to my readings, these were made by the Anasazi inhabitants in the timeframe of 900-1200AD.    While most like they have nothing to do with water, there are some interesting theories on their use.  Solstice markers, prayer shrines and bird of prey snares were just some of the more intriguing theories.  There seems to be plenty of debate among the theories.   You can find some the resources used at Waterglyphs.org and Dixie Rock Art.  I think next time I head out here I’m going chase down an archeology/rock art enthusiast with a MTB problem or a Mountainbiker with a archeology/rock art problem to show us around.

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Once back at camp, we were devising plans for the following day, eating huge tasty camp burgers and enjoying tasty spirits.

Stowe Trail Now Open

April 28th, 2017 by MTBBill

For those of you have ride out at Sycamore Canyon and have been dealing with all the hub-bub about the USMC base, the Stowe Trail is now open for those that get a permit from the USMC base.  Check out the info here.

SDMBA Article

Cruising through the Cuyamacas

April 21st, 2017 by MTBBill

This past weekend, I got out into the Cuyamaca Mountains.   Main this place has some nice scenery and trails.  We started from the San Diego River staging area just off of HWY-79 and took the west side single track up to the visitor center and then took the Green Valley fire road to the Upper Green Valley single track for a climb up to the La Cima trail by Sunrise Highway.   We then looped over to the California Riding and Hiking Trail.     From there we took Soapstone Fireroad over to Cold Springs trail and then loopback on the west side trail.   We were a bit past the greenest time of the year but there were still plenty of blooming flora.   Good Stuff!

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Steve and Rodney climbing the Upper Green Valley Singletrack

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The board members of the Pacific Crest Trail Association were seen out and about in Green Valley.

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Plenty of water to cross on the west side trail.

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The Cold Springs Trail

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Bloom along the entire hillside

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Rodney on California Riding and Hiking Trail.   This is one of my favorite sections of this trail in the county.

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Steve working his way up to the “Oak Trees”.

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Lake Cuyamaca has both a upper and lower dam to help keep the “normal” water contained in the south end.   You can see the upper dam as the thin line of land in the middle of the picture.   There is water in the entire upper valley which is just incredible.

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I believe Steve is trying to convey that this trail is the #1/Ichiban Trail  🙂

I am overdue for an update to my Cuyamaca Mountains page.   I think I am going to split it up into two different pages to cover several of the routes you can take out here better.

 

Local Wanderings in San Diego

February 21st, 2017 by MTBBill

In addition to all of the rain we are getting here in San Diego this winter (Which is a good thing) life has been busy over the month.  Nichol and I bought a house and we have been pretty well occupied with closing that deal and then moving in and setting up shop so to say.

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Most of rides during this time frame has been what I would categorize as local “maintenance” rides.   I have been out to Anderson Truck Trail a few times.

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Daley Ranch has spent a good bit of time in the rotation as it is one of the more rain tolerant riding areas around the area.   I have also hit up La Costa a time or two.

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Now MTB Life has not been all about just the same ole same ole.   I revisited some old places that have had a new batch of trail gnomes out doing to good things.  I’m not a liberty at this point to provide details but don’t be afraid to look around near your own backyard.

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There are is plenty of green out and about right now, and so should you.   Ride On!

Iron in my Diet!

December 20th, 2016 by MTBBill

It was nice to get back out to Iron Mountain.    I had not been out here since what seemed like ages.  It did not disappoint.

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Views from the top.

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We even managed to get the band back together!   Steve back at doing stupid human tricks.  The last time I was out there the city of Poway had been doing a bunch of trail work that was sanitizing many sections of the trail.  The good news is that they were basically throwing dirt over the rocks and not really “fixing” the water flow issue.   The good news in all of this is that after a few seasons all of that dirt has away and much of the trail is back to the way it was.

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Hey I can see my truck from here.

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I need to work on my trail face.

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Brian showing both of us how it is done.

 

Tough December!

December 12th, 2016 by MTBBill

Man are we having a tough December!   After working in Philadelphia for a week it makes you appreciate the weather goodness we have here in San Diego.lacosta-30nov16-01

I have been working on getting back in shape after a pretty dismal summer from a fitness perspective.   La Costa has been the main trail system in the rotation.

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Catalina Island (pictured above) has been easily seen on most of the outings.   San Clemente Island has been seen as well.

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Ready to head back down the hill.   Yep December is tough in SoCal!

Black Mountain & SYTT

December 3rd, 2016 by MTBBill

Last weekend I managed to get back out to the Santa Ysabel Truck and the Black Mountain near Ramona.

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(Along the Santa Ysabel Truck Trail)

The weather guessers were call in for a storm to hit the area in the afternoon, so I packed up the rain gear before heading out.   Typically I do about a 29 mile loop that includes Santa Ysabel Truck Trail, Black Mountain,  Pamo Valley and a bit dirt road and pavement interconnects.   Today I was going to be doing an out-and-back variant of the ride.

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(A section of the area spared from the 2007 wildfires)

I parked at the east end of the Santa Ysabel Truck Trail near the bridge on Black Canyon Road and headed out west.   The climbing is very mild but considering how much of a slacker I had been as of late I could tell there was some rust in the legs.  The last time I had here was when I did this as a section of the Coast-to-Crest trail.

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(Pamo Valley from the lower parts of the Black Mountain Truck Trail)

Once I hooked up with the Black Mountain Truck Truck, I turned uphill and started the sizable climb.

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(Climbing Climbing Climbing, Pamo Valley getting smaller)

I was not sure if I was going to go all the way to the top or not.   I planned on turning around if the legs cried uncle or if I got caught in a sustained pummeling of rain.

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The weather was starting to deteriorate around me as I continued climbing.   I could see it raining in the distance on either side of me but my little patch of the world was dry.  About 3/4ths of the way up my legs were getting to wank but I was able to keep going.    It was also getting colder and the wind was kicking up.  I was too hot with the wind breaker on and my chest was a bit cold without it and just the short sleeve jersey.   I always keep a bandana in my pack and it came in pretty handy in this case.  I unfolded it about halfway  and stuff inside my jersey as an additional layer in the front.

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Now most of Black Mountain has been covered in scrub in the past put the top of the mountain has some pine trees.  These pines were originally planted as part of the ongoing Penny Pines program that started in California in 1941.   Some of those pines were burned in the 2007 wildfire but a patch of the them at the very top were spared.

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(View from the summit with Lake Sutherland in the background)

It was a bit chilly up on the summit and the wind was whipping pretty good.  I typically enjoying hanging out up here and enjoying lunch but the wind made it pretty uncomfortable so after snapping some shots I made my way over to spot back along the trail that offered some shelter from the wind to have my lunch.   While taking those pictures, it came pretty clear to me that my luck with the rain was going to run out soon.    I hurried up with the snacks and then headed back down the mountain.    It was quick work back down to the Santa Ysabel Truck Trail.    There is some climbing to be done on the way back along that truck trail and my legs were pretty shot at this point.     With about 15 minutes left in the ride a steady light rain started.   My windbreaker/raincoat was doing its job quite nicely and I spun my way back to truck.   About 30 seconds after I was all packed up and sitting in my truck the “bottom fell out” and a pounding rain last for most of my drive back into Ramona.    I felt pretty lucky to have snuck in a ride before the storm and was happy to get back out this little corner of the county.   A great day to be out on a bike!

Lower Rock Creek Video

October 10th, 2016 by MTBBill

I finally managed to get a video pushed out of some of the riding I did in August up at Mammoth Lakes.  Here is Lower Rock Creek.  Your video quality may vary based on device but don’t forget to try and bump it up in the YouTube quality settings.   It will go up to 1080p 60fps.

CHRT Recon in East County

September 9th, 2016 by MTBBill

I have an ongoing project of personally surveying the California Riding and Hiking Trail throughout San Diego County.  I have a page up on my site with an interactive map of San Diego’s counties’ GIS data on where the trail is/supposed to be.  I have been adding my notes on the actual placement and status of the various trail sections.   You have to point and click to see much of the pop-up data, comments and some pictures.  Its pretty much my online notes.  Last month after doing a ride out in the Cuyamaca Mountains I took the long way home that included some of the further out bit sections I had not looked at yet.   The first stop was to drive up to Julian and down Banner grade road to pick up the Chariot Canyon truck trail and then over to Rodriguez Canyon.   This is part of the Oriflamme Canyon loop route that I describe on my site.

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What I was looking for was the CRHT north of the Rodriguez Canyon truck trail.    I found it but is was not where the county GIS data said it was.   It was actually about a 1/10th of a mile west.  It appears that at some point in the past the trail was rerouted to avoid going through private just to the east the current actual trail.   The trail has seen little use but it well defined single track.  Once it rejoins the original track it looks to be an old fire road from my visual from across the ridge.

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The section of the CRHT just north of Rodriguez Canyon Truck Trail.

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Next I made my way back to Banner and then down into San Felipe Valley to scout where the trail crosses Banner Grade Road.  This area is part of the San Felipe Valley Wildlife Area managed by the CA Department of Fencing Fish and Wildlife.  This wildlife area encompasses around 17,800 acres.   The CDFW has established that the only appropriate recreation activity out here is wildlife viewing by foot traffic only, shooting the heads of quail and killing deer.    Evidently there is no room for equestrians or mountain biking to enjoy the historic CRHT that passes through this area.

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I was able to find the trail south of Banner Grade Road but it is getting a hard to follow.   The CRHT crosses Banner Grade road and proceeds across the valley on one of the dirt ranch roads.  I did find a wood CRHT makers just north of the Banner grade road and just south of the ranch road. (Its at CRHT-142A if you are following along with my CRHT page.)

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I then drove down to Scissor’s Crossing and went up San Felipe Road (County Road S2) to pickup the CRHT where it intersects this road.  I did find a post that should be a CRHT marker based on its location but the top of the post had been cut off so there was no distinctive yellow painted “cap” on the post.  This side of the property had a CDFW Wildlife area “No Trespassing” signage.   So even if you wanted to enjoy the CRHT as a hiker you would have a perplexing problem of you could enter from the south but somewhere along your northward journey you would be trespassing.    Along the north side of San Felipe Road, I quickly found CRHT marker posts paralleling the road.

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These posts were typically about 30-50 feet north of the road.    There had been a wildfire through here some time ago and I was having a tough time picking up and following the trail.  This section is also part of the San Felipe Wildlife area with the same foot traffic only or no trespassing access management scheme.  After about a couple of miles of heading northwest along the road I was unable to find any more posts.

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A few more mile up the road I started seeing the newer style CRHT markers right of the side of the road and those continued at quite regularly until where the CRHT turn away from San Felipe Road  (This is at CRHT-161A on my map) and heads up an old dirt road.   I believe this trail starts off as an easement through a bit of private property as it is well signed and easy to follow.  I did not proceed much further up the trail from there.   I will have to assess those bits further north at some other time.   The next significant road crossing is supposed to be near the junction San Felipe Road and Montezuma Valley road (County Road S22).   On a previous outing I had looked for the trail in this area but came up empty.   I came up all blanks this time as well from the truck.   Next time I’ll be out with the bike and explore in from the south were I know the trail exists.   I have done the trail north of the road junction before out through Warner Springs so that was it for this recon outing.

While I still have some miles left to look at in the county and I have not crunched the numbers yet, there is a convergence of threats for this trail developing.   It looks like the number one threat for public access and preservation of the CRHT in San Diego County is the California State public land management agencies.    Let that ruminate in your melon for a while!