Sunday I ventured up to the Big Bear area with Bill O’Neil for a bit of back country goodness. The person who first turned me onto this route asked that I not give out the names so I’m honoring that. Other than having to spend some quality time with the topographic maps there is no reason why you can’t go out and discover this ride for yourself.
We would ride/hike a series of trails over several peaks with some fantastic views. I had worn my SIDI biking shoes which was not the best choice for the adventure today. I have a couple sets of MTB shoes that have more rubber in the sole which would be much more hike-a-bike friendly than todays selection.
The terrain in this area is fairly energy sapping. Squared off rocks that slip and slide underneath your wheels makes for interesting descents where finesse of the controls and the nerve to let the bike make it’s own small line adjustments are a must to keep the rubber side down. This stuff also puts a little extra calf burn on you in the hike-a-bike sections. We did plenty of this in the higher elevations. Along one of these section I was surprised to see both a solo rider as well as two other riders (Actually at that time they were hike-a-bikers) later on. It was the first time in 3 years that I have seen anyone other than some hikers and the a couple of mounted forest service rangers.
For me the long stretches of hike-a-bike were well worth it for the views and the techy descents.
Of course what goes up must come down. We eventually did a bit of road interconnect before hopping onto a classic Southern California trail.
We took a break at a campground near the final trailhead to refill our Camelbaks and to grab some snacks. The campground was closed for maintenance but the water was still on so we chilled at one of the campsite benches. Within minutes of our arrival the little guy who runs campsite #1 came over, introduced himself and attempted to persuade us to kick him a little something for looking after the place.
Now, I know your not supposed to feed these guys but he was certainly a veteran of the campground gig. Not to mention he was so damn cute!
The final trail was in pretty good shape and it was a blast as always. The creeks were flowing well and the one pictured above got me pretty good. I picked a bad line through the creek and found the deepest part of the crossing and a sizable rock. Combined with my less that stellar effort I executed an endo to a perfect 5-point landing in the creek. That was Brisk Baby! There were no other unplanned dismounts for the rest of the ride and by the end of the day we had put in about 28 miles and a lot of smiles.