The San Diego Mountain Biking Association (SDMBA) has a Call to Action Alert regarding the California Department of
Fencing Fishing and Wildlife’s (CDFW) continued mismanagement of the Calavera Highlands Reserve (aka Calavera Lake). CDFW officials have been “aggressively” engaging with trails users
While Calavera is a sizable area with a large network of user-built trails that is a good place to get in riding with a descent outdoor experience it is definitely a shit show of redundant trails. No doubt about it, these are unofficial and illegal trails that the CDFW are wanking about. There is also no doubt about it that the CDFW does not manage this area. If this organization was doing its job, they would have been losing their mind a long time ago. Arbitrarily locking out the public from public lands by putting up fencing and signs and then walking away is not management.
From the periods in which I have interacted with CDFW, I have come to believe they think the land they acquire is “their” land and they are entitled to all of the protections and benefits that private property owners have. The primary benefit being they get to solely decide who may come on their property and who may not. It does not matter what their regulations state, the public knows that the land is public. The public will never accept Calavera Highlands Ecological Reserver as a pristine ecological reserve worthy of locking out the public. All one has to do is stand atop Calavera Hill and look around. The public is not staying out.
The CDFW track record in San Diego county seems to indicate that they do not possess the skillsets to properly manage lands that have an existing recreational baseline that includes people. Personally I think they depend on academic, non-profits and “friends of …” groups that do the bulk of the monitoring and management for them. The primary reason Crestridge Ecological Reserve allows mountain biking is because the Earth Discovery Institute is the de-facto land manager who recognized the benefit of responsible human-powered recreation . If the Earth Discovery Institute had not pushed so hard for the unique change for this reserve it would not have happened.
Despite the California Riding and Hiking Trail (CRHT) being on the San County Regional Trail Plan it is pretty much unattainable as a viable regional trail as long as the CDFW is involved with any of the land along the route. Numerous sections of the this trail in San Diego county go through lands mismanaged by CDFW and at pretty much everyone of those, the trail has fences and off-limits signs.
The county is most likely going to end up speeding hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a new section of trail for the Coast to Crest Trail near Boden Canyon because the CDFW are not going to allow an easement along a 0.2 mile section of an existing old dirt road!
There are many other examples of the CDFW’s culture of “its my land not yours” mismanagement style throughout the county. Humans are part of the fauna of the San Diego ecosystems. Until the CDFW develops the skillsets and polices to effectively deal with the outdoor experience needs of this species the organization will continue suffer from a lack of land management creditability with the pubic. Until that changes the pubic will continue to give the CDFWs signs and fences a big double middle-fingered salute.
I woke up to the sounds of Coyotes yipping it up with all of their friends in the wee hours of the morning. One of the coyotes sounded like he was right outside of tent. I could hear the other end of the conversation way off in the distance, so evidently the fellow near me had to put a little extra spank on his call to get there. It was still dark out and after Mr. Coyote moved on, I got another hour or two of shuteye before getting up for good. Here was the view of Casa Del Bill for the weekend.
After seeing a few “new-to-us” forks in the trail and cairn stacks yesterday we decided that we would ride a second day here instead of hitting up a different location. It certainly made the logistics easier by not having to break camp and pack up before heading out for a ride. Cook up some breakfast and hit some trails straight out of camp was the plan.
Little Creek Mesa once again did not disappoint. We found our way over to the stuff we had seen the day before and we were soon on some nice stuff not on our map.
I later did find the trails on some other maps where it was listed as something along the lines of “The Alternate Loop”. It is a fantastic alternate.
I like the way the photo above came out as I think it captures one of cool aspects of riding on the huge sections of rock on the mesa. You are routinely scanning for the route, looking and chasing rock and looking for lines across and through the fields of slick rock. It is a form mental engagement with the trail that is hard to come by on different forms of topology.
While scoping along our route, we came across sizable rock overhang that required an assessment of its chilling out worthiness. Oh its most worthy! This area we were was marked with cairns but was to later not be found on any of the maps/resources I have.
Talk about a tough way to make a living. This small pine tree is literally between a rock and a hard place. You see this often out on the mesa and it pretty to cool to see how life is going to find a way.
One of the section of the mesa we were on was quite fun and required quite a bit of route finding as we went along. The picture above is looking back at the direction we came from. We realized we would have more ups than downs on the way back.
This was the view off the edge of the mesa we had ridden down to. The view did not suck. From here we would trace our way back to camp and start getting packed up for the return trip home. I pulled back into the garage at home at roughly 10pm. This was a pretty easy there and back kind of weekend with some quality trail time from sure. I tend to forget just how accessible this area from San Diego. I need to make more trips here.
Day two of the quick Utah weekender started off by waking up on Little Creek Mesa. Both Bill and I are Scotch and Bourbon fans so we both brought some offering from our collections to share around the campfire. I was clearly too enthusiastic with the barrel aged goodness that night and I found myself having a rough go of getting started in the morning. Luckily it was a short commute to the trailhead 🙂
I love this mesa, the slick rock, the vistas, single track, it just sooooo good.
One of the first spots along the main loop that comes out onto the western rim of the mesa.
Gooseberry Mesa out across the valley.
Good stuff and good views along the main loop. There are a few spots where you don’t want to wildly blow a turn.
At the junction of the north loops and the main loops, a flash gathering of the Yeti tribe happened. The two Santa Cruz riders in the group took the pictures.
Cruising along out near the North Point.
I dig how this rock formation looks like some kind of ape skull with the way the light is on it.
More slick rock awesomeness. While on our way back to camp we saw a few lines of cairns heading off in directions we had not been before. We decided then and there we would come back and check that out tomorrow vice dealing with additional logistics of going someplace else and bringing down camp.
After the main ride for the day, we did some poking around at other spots on the mesa. We came across this “Waterglyph”. According to my readings, these were made by the Anasazi inhabitants in the timeframe of 900-1200AD. While most like they have nothing to do with water, there are some interesting theories on their use. Solstice markers, prayer shrines and bird of prey snares were just some of the more intriguing theories. There seems to be plenty of debate among the theories. You can find some the resources used at Waterglyphs.org and Dixie Rock Art. I think next time I head out here I’m going chase down an archeology/rock art enthusiast with a MTB problem or a Mountainbiker with a archeology/rock art problem to show us around.
Once back at camp, we were devising plans for the following day, eating huge tasty camp burgers and enjoying tasty spirits.