CRHT – Beauty Mountain Wilderness

The last couple of weekends I have spent some time riding and a little bit hiking around the northern part of San Diego County and into Riverside County. I was able to get out on the final northern section of the California Riding and Hiking Trail (CRHT) in San Diego County.

The California Riding and Hiking Trail splitting through the Beauty Mountain Wilderness
The CRHT is not in the wilderness through here but does split it right down the middle
Here is a traditional style CRHT marker. This is along Cooper Cienega Truck Trail
New style CRHT marker
I did not expect to find a pond along the route but it was a really cool surprise.
Hmmmmm, going to have to take another look at this at some point.
This section of the CRHT is part of the Stagecoach 400 bikepacking route
This section of CRHT could use a bit more traffic.
The CRHT a little south of HWY 74 and just east of HWY 371.

One thing that has become obvious during my roaming along the CRHT and research.  When the Pacific Crest Trail was first established  in 1968 it “commandeered” quite a few sections of the then existing CHRT in San Diego County and the Anza area in Riverside County.  In at least two locations I have found the traditional style CRHT markers along the Pacific Crest Trail.   In the years following the establishment of the PCT the desired PCT routes were created/rerouted off the original CRHT, leaving the CRHT to wither away or left unprotected from future development/protection.  The impact of this was not readily apparent until many years later when in 1988, the USFS dubiously banned mountain bikes from the PCT without proper public input.

Early morning hike along the PCT

Pulling back to a larger scale, from the area just east of Cuyamaca Lake to at least Paradise Valley (Highway 74/371) area the California Riding and Hiking Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail typically parallel one another to varying degrees.   San Diego County has the concept of restoring the CRHT as part of its master trails plan but I see the PCT being nearby as a deterrent to getting this historic mountain bike accessible back country trail restored.  I see the PCT sucking the bureaucratic willpower away from the CRHT effort.   I would love to  I am very supportive of the Sharing the PCT movement as well was the removal of the blanket bike ban in Wilderness being spearhead by the Sustainable Trails Coalition.   You should take a look at what those efforts are trying to accomplish.    If both the Sharing the PCT and San Diego County CRHT restoration efforts were to come to fruition the  routes/loops that could be done with both of these trails would be absolutely amazing.     We can all dream!

CRHT Snooping

This weekend I did some more recon on the California Riding and Hiking Trail (CRHT) between Warner Springs and Chihuahua Valley Road. The area pretty much qualifies as the North Back 40 of the county. I have updated my GPS files and interactive map on my site. If I mention a mileage marker or waypoint here, it is referring to that map.

I started this ride at the CRHT and PCT access point near the top of the paved section of Lost Valley Road (CRHT-193A). I have done this section before where you climb along the remnant of old old Lost Valley Road before the Pacific Crest Trail joins in from the south.

Some of the PCTA minions playing games with the CRHT signage.

At this junction some of the minions of the PCTA have messed with the CRHT signs to try and cover them up and in typical PCTA fashion put up no-bike stickers. The CRHT is open to bikes and just because the PCT is using the CRHT doesn’t mean they get to kick bikes off of it.

Climbing along the CHRT which also happens to be the PCT. (Near CRHT-196)

After about 9/10ths of a mile the CRHT (at CRHT 196A) continues north and downhill as the PCT turns to the northeast and uphill. Beyond this point was new CRHT to me.

The CRHT just north of the split off from the PCT.

The CRHT which is still the remnant of the orginal Lost Valley Road was pretty raw beyond this point. Initally there was a fair amount of elevation shed off (200 feet in about .4 miles)

Near the bottom of the initial descent.

After crossing over a stream bed the trail, you will have some punchy climbing bits for the next half half mile. The trail much more trail than old road now. Through this one mile section the trail will leave Cleveland National Forest, cut through a corner of BLM land and into private property.

Typical/Orginal CRHT trail posts/signs.
This private property has an honored easement through it.

The trail comes out to a junction with a farm/ranch road. The CRHT contines north along this ranch road which sees very little usage. The trail gradually losses elevation through here and get a little washy/loose in a spot or two as it descends down to an area called Johnson Canyon on some maps. The ranch road makes a sharp right hand turn in this area (CRHT-199A).

The actual CRHT through Johnson Canyon

The actual trail turns off the road to the west here and is a narrow singletrack. The trail is following a creekbed which is loose and a bit bear up from the horse usage. Between CRHT-199A and CRHT-200A there is good bit sand to slog.

The ranch road looking east at CRHT-199A

A better option if you are not interested in dealing with some sand slogging is to stay on the ranch road when it turns east. It will soon cross the creekbed and turn back to the west. The actual CRHT will rejoin the ranch road at CRHT-200A which bypass just under half a mile of the mostly sand slog.

Less than a quarter of a mile further up the ranch road from where the CRHT rejoins the road you come to a diversion off of the CRHT at CRHT-201.

Shortly before CRHT-201 and the diversion route. Note the traditional CRHT sign post under the tree.

At this point the property owner just north of this point is not honoring the CRHT easement. I do not know the story and legal bits regarding this specific property but the owner had some signs that said “California Hiking and Horse Trail” to divert people around his property.

Considering that this is not the CRHT the property owner who made this signs could call it whatever he wants. Clearly the owner is also anti-bike since he left out the “Riding” part.

The diversion around his property is a dirt road.  I know the the original route is also a dirt road so I’m not so sure there is a net loss here.

This is the north end of this diversion. The CRHT is supposed to be that dirt road on the other side of this gate to the south.

At CRHT 201A, the diversion rejoins the original route.  The property owners has a gate up at this point.

Further up the road (CRHT-202) there is more fencing off to the west preventing access the original trail.  Based on seeing the same type of faux CRHT signs, this seems to be the same property owner.  You have to continue north on the dirt road where it will turns to the west for a short ways until the north and becomes paved.

In 2014, this corner was the staging area for Bucksnort Mountain Trails. There were proper CRHT signs are up here back then. Since then the property owner has put up fencing and removed the proper CRHT signs. New signs stating “California Hiking and Horse Trail” have been erected with arrows showing the diversion of the trail around the property.

After this I made my way north.   The CRHT is alongside the pavement through here.   The CRHT turns off the west alongside Chilhuahua Road.  I turned off to the east on the dirt Lost Valley road.   I did some some 12-15 miles of exploring out this area and made my way back to CRHT trail head where I started from.  It was a perfect type of day to be out on a bike.

Cuyamaca – BLT Video Remastered

I have been working on remastering some of my older videos to bring them up to new standards.   My videos range from ancient lip-stick camera and 8mm camcorders to GoPros.     All of various eras of equipment will have their own challenges to remastering and some of them I’m just not going to make the time for the effort required.   But I am going to make an effort.

The video above is from 2007 where some of the usual suspects of the time rode from the Cuyamaca mountains over to the Lagunas by way of the Deer Springs and Indian Creek trails.   It was about a 40 mile day of great fun!

Neck muscles of steel!

This video was shot with a 1080i Canon HDV camcorder.  It shot good video with the exception of the image stabilization.  It used optical image stabilization which was consider really good for the time.   However it was optimized for handheld work and not for the rapid bouncing around that occurs during use as a helmet camera work.    I’m pretty sure that the optical image stabilization often made things worse not better.   It certainly did not work as well as the electronic image stabilization that was on my previous standard definition camcorder setup.

I had previously remastered my Galbraith Mountain video from 2009 but did not try to do any software stabilization of the video.  Many moons ago I tried software stabilization and did not like all the artifacts it created in the video.

For the Cuyamaca – Laguna video I gave the software stabilization another shot.   I’m using Adobe Premiere  CC 2018 and it has warp stabilizer effect/filter built in.   After a bit of trail and error I found some setting that work well enough.   There is a balancing act that has to be done with with the 1080i footage between smoothness and clarity.    The filter will do a good job of stabilization but at the cost of cropping the footage.   When the footage is cropped the clarity of the footage is decreased.    I found that trying to keep the crop below 125% typical kept thing looking good.   Some scenes I did not stabilize at  all.    Overall I’m satisfied enough with it as it is better than the windows media format stuff I was previously using.     There will be some more of this coming in the future.

San Juan Trail

Okay it has been quite a few moons since I last rode the San Juan Trail. This past Monday I made a return trip. The trail is the trail over course but I was a little taken back by the condition of those bottom 10 switchbacks that you open up with.

Those switchbacks have always had thier troubles with errosion and they were pprobably the more maintenance intensive bits. That being said these switchbacks have damn near been replaced with lollipop turns. Here is an older picture of that section.

Take a look at the switchbacks now.

They are all rounded out. WTF? People were making those turns on downright arcane MTB rigs. With all of the modern bike tech that is out there right now why is this happening?

I have my theories. Most of them involve some type of rider/tech with “tard” or “hole” added to the end of it.

After mentally grumbling about how much easier and less rewarding these switchbacks now are to clean I realized another fact. This trail still goes freaking uphill. Its good stuff. This was my first “epic” trail and still a classic in my book.

I did not do the lollipop on this day. I was plenty fine with heading back down after chillaxing at Cocktail Rock for a bit.

The descent rocked

Black Mountain – RB

My day job was been rather pesky by infringing on my Saturday so I only had to time to squeak in a short ride.   I had not been out to Black Mountain in Rancho Bernardino.    In had been at three years and change since I last rode here.

Looking west from Black Mountain

I knew some development was in the works in the area but I was a little surprised at how much at been developed since I was last our there.    I will definitely need to update  my page on this area as there home where some trails used to be.       The good news is the open space park is under good stewardship and the San Diego Mountain Biking Association (SDMBA) have a good relationship with the management of this area.   Some new trails are in the works and in progress.

Miners Ridge Loop

I did a counter-clockwise loop from the baseball fields along the service roads to the summit, night hawk, miners ridge and the lilac trail.    All of it was in pretty good shape.    I am going to make a more concerted effort to update things with the latest on this area.   More to follow on that.

Website/Blog Recovery in Progress

I am in the middle of recovering from a webhosting transfer, backup/restore failure.   While the static webpages are back online (with the exception of interactive maps), the blog has issues.     The appearance has to be rewickered and entries from 2013 up to the middle of 2017 have to basically be rebuilt.

UPDATE – 11SEP18:   All of my data and photos have been recovered!!   Some of the external links are not going to work due to database index changes but the content is all there.   I still need to redo the appearance theme of the blog.

UPDATE – 18SEP18:   I now have a new blog theme, tweaked to mesh up with my regular site better.   You will find that it works much better with mobile devices than my previous setup.

The Crested Butte 401 Trail

Wow, I have been away from the BLOG for way too long.   Between work being….well…WORK and a ton of other life things I have been away from the keyboard.   The 401 trail is thoroughly covered in snow right now but I finally finishing off my pictures and notes from the fall Colorado trip.

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I spent a few days in Crested Butte and got in a couple of great rides.  One of those was the 401 Trail.

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Here is the webpage with all my pictures and some blabbage from the ride.

The Monarch Crest Epic

I have spent the last month working out of the country and pretty much had no-time and less mental energy to finish up my pictures and thoughts from my Colorado trip.  The Monarch Crest trail was my day six excursion and it did not disappoint.   Much of the route is part of the both Continental Divide and Colorado Trails.  This is certainly a bucket list quality trail that I’m super stoked to have ridden.

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View from along the trail

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Nudging up close to 12,000 feet of elevation.

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Looking down into the Silver Creek drainage that I would soon be riding through.

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Near the bottom of the Silver Creek Trail.

Check out the rest of the pictures and ride description here.