Archive for the ‘San Diego’ Category

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.


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.


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


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.


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.)


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.


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.


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!

Cuyamaca and the Cold Springs Trail

August 21st, 2016 by MTBBill

This past Saturday I went out to the Cuyamaca mountains to check out the new(ish)ly rerouted Cold Springs Trail.    I started out at the Sweetwater trailhead/parking lot and took the West Side singletrack up to the connector to the Park Vistor Center.  From there I turned from usual route and took the Cold Stream Trail north.


The trail was pretty featureless but pretty through here until it got to a big oak tree on the edge of the meadow right at the junction with the singletrack connector trail over to the Green Valley Fireroad.


The meadow must be the typical “tour” turn around point from the visitor center as the Cold Stream trail immediately became must more narrow and interesting beyond that point.


I had not been on this section of the Cold Stream trail before and I have to say this was a nice bit of trail.


While stopping to check out this little spot.


I had some locals come through.  There was somewhere between two and four of them.   It was hard to tell with them zipping in and out.


Shortly after this spot I went by several junction.  The first was the connector over to the West Mesa parking area and the second was the junction of the Cold Stream Trail and the Cold Springs Trail.   The Cold Stream trail north of her was marked “No Bikes” but the route for today was the Cold Springs trail.  Pictured above is some the trail goodness along the Cold Springs trail.


The original Cold Springs Trail was 1.2 miles, not open to bikes and was a pretty heinous hike.   The new trail is 2.25 miles long and connects with much further up the Stonewall Creek fire road than its predecessor.  This is a most excellent replacement/reroute of the old trail.   I climbed the last bit of Stonewall Creek fire road and the at the junction with Soapstone Grade fire road I hung a right (east).  Just before I would have to drop down the grade into Green Valley I hung a left (north) onto the California Riding and Hiking Trail.


That Oak tree in the middle of the picture on he meadow ridgeline was my destination for the day.


I refer to this group of trees as “The Napping Oaks” because you take a break here, you may find yourself doing just that.

Napping Oak 20Aug16

A wider view of today’s turn around spot.


While kicking back here I heard some thunder and looking over my shoulder I see that some storm clouds had developed or moved in just on the other side of the ridgeline.   Rain was not on agenda today so I thought it was pretty cool to have a little bit of weather with me on the ride.   No rain ever materialized but it was not long before got rolling again.  I pretty much retraced my path back the way I came all the way to the West Mesa parking lot connector where I crossed the road and picked up the West Side trail and took it south back to the Sweetwater parking lot.   I was a great day to be out enjoying some trails.  I spent the rest of the day doing some recon work with the truck for some of the beleaguered  and neglected sections of the CRHT out in this area of the county.  But that is another story…

Laguna Mountains Funtime

September 8th, 2015 by MTBBill

This weekend I joined Chip, and crew out in the Laguna Mountains for some good times in the dirt.  We started at the top of Redtail Roost and dropped the singletrack  down to near the meadow.  We then climbed up Aqua Dulce to the top of Los Gatos.  After taking Los Gatos down to the meadow we looped back up to the top of Los Gatos via Chico Ravine.   After descending Los Gatos a second time, we took a lap around the meadows before climbing back up to the Redtail Roost.  Good times!

Here a few pictures of the dirt hulligans on this outing.


Chip and Roger




The crew at the top of the Meadow. (Photo by Chip)




Jason and Amy


Chip playing with his new bike


At the top of Los Gatos with Jason, Jason and Tony


Me with Mr Gopher Snake (Photo by Chip)

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.


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

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.


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


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


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.


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


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!

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.


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


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


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

Cool critter encounter

May 4th, 2015 by MTBBill

Sunday I did an MTB ride-along with San Dieguito River Park Senior Ranger Dave Hekel. After my recent Coast-to-Crest Trail trip I had some questions about the park and tagging along on his Sunday patrol was an easy what to chit-chat about the park and get in a ride.  I ride Lake Hodges quite often as of late.   It is right on the way home so it is in the routine post-work ride rotation.   I have seen lots of critters out here on these trails.  Deer, snakes, coyotes, rabbits and all kinds of birds.  On this ride I ended up with a critter encounter of completely different sort.


While riding the “high road” single track on the north side we came across an obviously distressed little coyote pup stumbling across the trail like a drunken sailor. After a quick look around the hillside to see if mom was anywhere nearby, I scooped this critter up.  It was tiny and whopped and did not resist in the slightest to me picking it up.  A quick scan showed that this female pup was not injured but had pretty big tick in one ear.  Dave went up the canyon to see if there was an unattended den but could not find anything.  We guessed that this little gal had been away from momma for a least a full day or two.


Talk about camouflage.  Look how the coat is a spot on match to the hillside in the background.  While Ranger Dave made phone calls I gave her some water.  I took the top off of my water bottle and turned it upside down and used it as a small bowl. She drank quite a bit of water and it seemed to help as after about 5 minutes she would have a spat of being squirmy.  I’m thinking instincts were telling her to get away.  I found that if you held her close to my chest she would stay  calm. (Much better than the one-handed holds for posing her for the camera)

(Whooped but still a cutie)

While Ranger Dave was getting all of the arrangements made quite a few riders came by so the this pup because the star of trailside show and tell session.

(Check out how long those claws are for its size)

Soon the rangers had a plan.   I rode/walked the rest of upper singletrack with this pup nuzzled up between one hand and my chest to a meet up spot with another ranger with a truck. While Dave and I waited for the other ranger to arrive the pup feel asleep in my hands.  There was a point when we wondered if she had “checked out” but then I could feel her chest going in and out so things were good. Once the other rangers arrived we handed off the pup to them and they were off to a nearby wildlife recovery facility.


After that we went off to finish out the rest of the patrol.   We did encounter a rattlesnake on the trail and I did a slight bump stop into the back of Dave.    Normally seeing a rattlesnake is kind of a big deal but considering that this was the 14th rattler I have seen this year (I typically only see 2-4 a year) along with the coyote pup just a little while ago, this rattler sighting was kind of ho hum.  It was a beautiful day but after the coyote pup and the rattler then return trip back the ranger office was uneventful.  This was a most excellent day to be out  on a bike and  reinforced to me that your next life enriching event could be right around the next bend in the trail.

Mule Hill – San Pasqual Valley

April 22nd, 2015 by MTBBill

I added the Mule Hill and San Pasqual Valley trails located near Escondido to the site.  You may also hear these trails referred to as Raptor Ridge as that is the top of the climb.   While this is for the most part a non-technical trail, the farmland scenery not typically associated with San Diego it offers is worth a look-see.


Coast to Crest Bikepacking Trip

April 20th, 2015 by MTBBill


I did my first bike packing trip this weekend.   A group of six of us set off to do the Coast to Crest trail leaving from Julian with the plan to end with our tires in the ocean on Del Mar’s Dog Beach. The Coast to Crest trail is a long way from completed and our route is basically follows the general corridor of where the trail should someday follow as best as we could follow it.


We pedaled out on Main Street/Farmers Rd for about 2.5 miles out to the start of the trail at Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve.   Full disclaimer here, we did not climb all the way up to the top of the mountain as it is a steep out and back on double-track.   The top Volcan Mountain is the “Crest” of the trail.   From the Volcan Mountain Preseve we zipped down the paved Famers Road to the Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve East.


It has been quite some time since I had ridden out here.  I had nearly forgotten just how pretty it is out here.


The first climb was rather steep and all of the bikepacking gear quickly found myself out of clicks on my shifters.


The crew taking a break  (Left to Right: Kevin, Carl, Greg, Chad and Ken) at our highest point along the trip.   We did quite a bit of descent and a few short bit of steep climbing before we came out at the lower staging area of the preserve.


There is a massive section of trail that is not built from here.   Our path from here was a quite bit on Highway 79 north and then a good long chunk of pavement climbing on Mesa Grande Road.


From there we left the pavement for some dirt road riding on Black Canyon Road.   This was my first time on this section of the road.  It was really awesome that this thing just seemed to descend forever.  (Carl is in the photo above)


When we did reach of the bottom of the road, we turned onto the San Ysabel Truck Trail which is familiar dirt to me as it is part of the Black Mountain (Ramona) Loop near Ramona.  This is part of the official Coast To Crest trail.  There was some work to be done here as we worked over the south slope of Black Mountain before we had a very zippy descent down into Pamo Valley.   We then pedaled south on Pamo Valley Road (mostly dirt road) before hooking up with Forest Service Road FS12504.


We chased down a spot to setup camp for the evening.   We did a touch under 35 miles for day one.    Tasty sprits seems to find there way into most of our packs.   Since every ounce counts we felt it wise to lighten our load for tomorrow as much as possible 🙂     All of my gear worked pretty much as expected and there were certainly some lessons learned.  I slept really well that night and awoke to the sounds of turkeys gobbling in the distance.   Not long after that a lone gunshot rang out that reminded me it is turkey season.  I did not hear any more turkeys after that.


I had under estimated my fuel requirements for my alcohol stove but I did have just enough to get a couple cups of coffee made to go with breakfast.   Coffee just tastes better outside.  We leisurely broke camp and were back on the trail.   Forest Service Rd 12504 is referred to as the Lower San Ysabel Truck Trail by the San Dieguito River Park.   After just a bit of climbing, we were treated to a very mild grade descent. Carl and Kevin are pictured above heading down a particularly nice covered stretch of the truck trail.


Kevin was doing this ride on his rigid single speed and was just killing it.  He also had a killer ultra-light setup.   The Lower Santa Ysabel truck trail took us down to the Orasco/Gueito Truck Trail.  This truck trail is not part of the official Coast to Crest trail at his point.    We did take this truck trail  up to Highway 78.    We had to cruise down the highway for a couple of quick downhill miles where we hooked with some farm roads along the orange groves.


These farm roads took to the Bandy Canyon trailhead of the San Pasqual Valley trail that is part of the Coast to Crest trail.   The trail goes along the edge of orange groves, sod and dairy farms in the valley before it starts climbing.


Climbing up to Raptor Ridge was a good bit of work with the gear on the bike.   After that we were back into the routine home turf  of Lake Hodges and we made quick work to the Farmers Market and the gas stations near the I-15 trailhead for some resupply.   Nichol joined us through the Lake Hodges segment.  (I think see liked this ride as the pace was slower than our normal outing speed).


Nichol turned back at the dam while we continued on down the Del Dios Gorge and onto the Santa Fe Valley trail


There was some climbing bits to be done including  a sizable set of switch backs. Once we got to the top of the switchbacks we were once again off of the official Coast To Crest trail.  We ended up dropping into the Lusardi Creek area via some singletrack and then working our way up to where the Santa Luz Loop starts.   From here we had to do a five mile stretch of pavement along San Dieguito Road and El Camino Real to connect to the next segment of the Coast to Crest trail.


The final segment is along the San Dieguito Lagoon and passes by the Del Mar Fairgrounds


Chad along the boardwalk.   We would cross the Jimmy Durante Blvd bridge and follow the Del Mar River down to Dog Beach


Ahhh Bike Tires in the Pacific and the finish of 43.5 miles for day 2 for a total of 78.2 miles


We were able to squeeze out another 1.1 miles to Pizza Port Solana Beach for some yummy pizza and tasty beers!    A mighty fine weekend to be on a bike.

UPDATE (April 22nd, 2105):   I have added a page to the site detailing this route with maps, GPS files and additional blabbery.  Coast to Crest Trail

Woodson, Hodges and Idyllwild

April 14th, 2015 by MTBBill

I had a pretty good bit of mountain biking over the last handful of days.


I made a return trip to Mount Woodson on Thursday to reacquaint myself with the other trails on/near the mountain that I did not get to the week before.  I took the Fry-Koengle trail up to the summit and then took the Old Fry-Koengle trail on the way down.    There has been a bit of trail sanitization going on parts of this trail but the trail is still plenty interesting.   I only did a dozen miles but there was plenty of climbing done.


On Saturday, Nichol, Francisco and I did a ride out at Lake Hodges and then some.  After doing the north side stuff, we continued past the dam down into Del Dios Gorge and then onto the Santa Fe Valley trail eventually over to the Lusardi Creek.


We did a small lollipop of trails in this area before heading back in earnest.    We ended up doing right at 30 miles which was a new mileage benchmark for both Nichol and Francisco.


On the cruise back we came upon this fella (or gal – I can’t tell, and I not looking any closer to figure out either).  I was pretty stoked that this snake posed so nicely for the camera while there was some good light to work with.  This was rattler #11 for the year.  (The following day I would encounter #12 that was quite uninterested in hanging out for a photo op) 


Saturday I meet Bill up in Idyllwild to ride “The Hub” trails (currently called Alvin Meadows on my site).   This place really rocks and there has been quite a bit of new trails out in this area.


I passed so many new junctions that I’m going to have bump this place up in trail rotation get all the new stuff figured out.   I’m always amazed how you can feel like you being putting in huge miles out here and then you look at your mileage gizmo and you have done less than half of what you thought you did.  One thing is for certain, the quads were barking on the last climb back to the truck.   We definitely earned our tasty post-ride beverages!