Last weekend, I took a freind of mine (Jim) out to the Cuyamaca Mountains to show him around. The weather was overcast around rhe county and as we headed up into the mountains it started to get a little foggy. At the trailhead we were pretty much socked in.
We started up the west side single track. After crossing over highway 79 we came upon some wild turkeys which are plentiful in this area. We made our way north along the Green Valley fire road until we got to the bottom of Soapstone Grade.
From there we continued north on the Upper Green Valley single track and climbed our way up to the junction with La Cima track right by Sunrise highway. During this climb the clouds/fog cleared up as we got up above it. Things were pretty beautiful at this point and the La Cima trail over to the California Riding and Hiking Trail (CRHT) was a great as ever.
While riding along the CRHT it was pretty cool to look over towards Lake Cuyamaca and see all of the clouds to the west being pressed again the mountains. It was like the mountains were playing giant linebackers protecting our pocket of sunshine.
We connected up to the Cold Springs trails for some super fun descending down to the south. Down near the bottom we once again rode back down into the clouds.
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.
It has been pretty hot as of late so a dawn patrol ride was in order. Lake Hodges was the place.
My sweetie joined me on this ride as well. We pretty must did the north side trails as an out and back.
It is definitely summer with pretty much all the vegetation in dry hot weather mode. There was some surprises. The cacti for example has just recently flowered which I expected that would have happened much earlier in the year.
I have been off the bike for quite a chunk of time with lots of competing interests taking up my time. I have a slew of home projects, a long overdue visit from my parents, some difficult work in town as well as some work travel.
It was not bad, just not mountain biking. I worked in Hawaii for a month which included having my wife out for a week.
I did not doing any mountainbiking in Hawaii on this trip but I did do quite a bit of hiking.
It was however quite nice to get back to San Diego and hit up some hometown dirt again.
What is not to like about this kind of trail action.
I was stoked to have a couple of my Colorado buds roll into town. In addtion giving them a place to shack up and bourbons to sample we got in some riding.
We had some rain to deal with o. The second day so we went out to Anderson Truck Trail
The skys looked ominous as we were driving out to the but the there was a large patches of blue sky to the southwest which was where the wind was coming from so I felt pretty good about our chances. Things looked good early on.
The skys turned pretty quickly and before we knew it we had hail bouncing off our heads. Now we have a bike ride!
Pretty much by the time we got to the top of the trail the hail and light rain was over and we were back in some sunshine. Time to go back down.
I was so stoked to be to return some hospitality back in Kevin and Greg direction.