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