This past Friday, I went and checked out a loop in South Poway that I had heard about that contained a mix of city approved/created trails and social trails. I really did not have much in the way of expectations when I set out on this semi-urban adventure.
The first chunks of “trails” that I went on were what I typcially expect when I hear of a municipality in San Diego county being involved with creating “Trails”. Dirt sidewalks and bullshit existing dirt roads trying to be passed off as “trails” which provide little in the way of a quality natural outdoor experience. After six or so miles of the this homgenized lowest common demominator tripe things picked up as I went further along on this loop.
Here is a bit of an official new city of Poway trail that is a nice singletrack. Clearly somebody gets it in the city as it provides a nice natural outdoor experience, its sustainable and it is narrow to minimize the enviromental impact.
The next section of trails I was on roughly followed the route of the planned eastern end of the South Poway trail.
According to the current city trail map the eastern end is still just planned. I sure hope the intent is to use this trail pictured above as the eastern end of the of the South Poway trail because the trail above it is just an awesome chunk of cross country singletrack that had great flow and contoured well.
Once I got onto the “built” western portion of the South Poway trail, I was once again back onto the crappy “THIS IS NOT A F#$^^NG TRAIL” dirt road junk. Note in the picture above only about half the width of the road being passed off as trail is in the picture. It is a wide barren strip of non-native gravel that is an enviromental blight that the city probably spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to “create”. Everytime I have pulled the string on the “who designed this” question, it seems to typically point back to some trail standard the governing agency has that was written by people who have a background in civil engineering (aka building roads) vice either an enviromental or forestry background (aka protecting and managing natural resources). People (or contracted companies by the city) then blindly follow these antiquated standards to build these low quality, expensive hunks of crap.
This little gem (which I think is not an offical trail), was probably built by volunteers and did not cost the city a dime. Its enviromental impact is a mere fraction of the offical dirt road tripe that scours along the ridgeline above it. The rest of the route I did during the day was a mix of both the offical junk “trails” and a fair amount of well done social trails. Overall the awesomeness of the singletracks outweighed the retardness of the dirt/gravel road abortions (referred to as “trails” by the city) that had to be dealt with. I did about 15 miles total that day. I will be doing some more exploring out here.
I was long overdue for giving some loving back to the trails so Saturday morning I got managed to carve out some time to help out with some trailwork out at La Costa. I would like to bring my boys along, but they both had hockey games later in the day and I’m sure thier coach would not appreciate them showing up to the game dog tired. Maybe next time.
There was a good showing of folks out at this event, I think I saw 45 at the start and another half dozen showed up a little latter on.
Much of the work was routine treadwork, with some corrective work had to done due to some folks just riding way too soon after our heavy rains earlier this month.
There were folks of all ages out and for some it was an entire family affair.
In addition to working on the trails, there was also a revegitation work being done up on the peak. Some hard ground was broken up and some seed was laid in hopes having some more green on the summit in the future.
NASCAR also saw some TLC along with a good to-do list getting started for future efforts on this trail.
All in all some good work was done and afterwards it was time to burn and flip a few burgers and dogs before some swag from the SDMBA Sponsors were tossed about. A Saturday morning well spent. Wanna get in on the action? Check out the San Diego Mountain Biking Association’s website, sign up for the Trailnews or better yet, join.
Saturday I spent a good chunk of the day helping out with the construction of a new section of trail that will be part of the Coast-to-Crest trail. This was a a short notice trailwork to get some things accomplished prior to March 15th when restrictions on access to the area take effect in an effort to give the threatened gnatcatcher bird a better breeding season.
Before we could get started in earnest we had to relocate a couple of the “locals”.
I was pretty stoked with this shot above as I got this snake’s eye in focus and the light was good enough that you could see the flash of the camera. While nobody but me can pick it out, there is a bit of my reflection in the it’s eyes. I can’t help but wonder if I had one of those $5K 22MP cameras and some L-series glass would I have been able to pick that up better.
This was some exceptionally tough work done that involved almost exclusively rock work. This section of the trail is within the 20 year flood plan of the San Dieguito River so it will be a raised section of trail with periodic culverts. Our main jobe today was to frame in were the trail is going to go and start on the foundation of rocks that will eventually be filled with dirt.
We used some sizable rock to make the frame of the trail. There was one rock large enough to be dubbed “The Asteroid”. When completed it will be cool to ride by that spot and say “Yeah, I help put that rock there”
This was the first time that SDMBA has worked with the SDRP folks and I think we left a good impression about the quality of work SDMBA can produce. One this was for certain, I was good and pooped.
Here are some additional photos.
Now that we have had a little break in the rain enough to give the trails some dryout time, I went out to Alpine to ride Anderson Truck Trail which handles the moisture well. I was joined by Cliff, Danny and Chip. It was first time riding with Danny but Cliff and Chip are old friends. I spent eight days down in Copper Canyon in Mexico back in 2005. Cliff is not only one of my biking buds, he is also my real estate agent who did mighty good by me a few years back when we stepped up to a larger home. I have not seen too much of either of thes guys in a while so riding together was good for catching up. Mother Nature has been doing some landscaping on the trail and there are some spots that are going to need some attention on the trail. I only had my video camera today so no pictures from the day. The ones here are from a week or so earlier.
The climb up went well really pretty scenery and and blue skies. There was enough moisture in the ground that you could just feel a little more resistance on the climb. We enventually made our way to the top and then enjoyed the fruit of our labor. I did not hit some of the stuff I normally would since I had my XC helmet cam vice the full-face helmet. If you are wondering why I use a full-face helmet when “playing” in and on serious rocks/chunk read this experience at Goat Camp nearly a year ago.
The return trip back down the main part of ATT was really freaking great with insanely perfect traction. It was quite possibly my quite run to the bottom. Afterwords I had a good chunk of time to kill before the monthly SDMBA meeting. Lucky for me Chip invited me back to Casa Del “ChipandDale” for dinner. While dinner was in the works, another one of the Copper Canyon crew, Joey, swung by for a bit. For dinner they had some family friends come over so I added some folks in the friends column over a really yummy meal. I was about to drop off into a food coma, when Chip informed I was about to be late for the meeting. Luckily they live just a few minutes away from meeting so I got there just in time. The rest of the night was spent at the SDMBA meeting where Michael Beck, the San Diego Director of the Endangered Habitats League was the quest speaker. It was interesting to see a different perspective on the land usage debate in San Diego and get a better understanding of what organizations like his are trying to do. I can’t say that I liked everything I heard but I understood it. One thing is for certain mountain bikers have more in common with these groups than we have different and hopefully they can see that responsible trail users can be dedicated stewards of the lands.