So I have not been up Bernardo Mountain located on the north side of Lake Hodges in a quite some time. While it is not a terribly long climb, it has always been a solid climb with some pretty technical bits up near the top. For many years it has been one of those benchmark trails to judge where I stand against my former self. I decided to go out and run “the test” again.
Before I really got started I had to take a short pause to yield the right of way to one of the locals. I have only see a few rattlesnakes this year so I was pretty bummed that I was not lugging a round my DSLR rig on this ride. After some interaction time with Mr Nope Rope I was onto the climb proper.
There is a distinctive spot on the trail where the “test” really starts. Its probably a little more than halfway up and the trail switchbacks to the right and gets rocky, ledgy and steeper all at once. It is not like this all the way up but there are plenty of sections like this to negotiate. From this point on I had a series of disappointments. (Just for the record I did not clean the climb to the summit from here) The amount of sanitation that has occurred in this trail has very much changed the character of the trail. For the most part there are no longer any loose rock sections to climb. The loose rocks have for the most part have been kicked off the trail and piled up along the sides. People have even pulled out rocks to make some sections smooth. Smooth sections that are now going to be more prone to erosion now that the soil “armor” is gone. I realize that some people think they are improving the trail, but really? There are also those other types you feel the need to modify the trail in order to say they rode it or to get that personal best. Those folks are some other special flavor of narcissistic asshole.
Maybe I’m just a grumpy old bastard. Maybe I’m the narcissist asshole yelling the equivalent of “back in my day we had to walk to school in the snow, uphill, both ways!”. Either way I did much better on that climb than I should have. It was not because I was in any kind of better shape or more skilled than my last outting here. The climb is just not as hard as it used to be and I’m pretty aggravated about. Its not easy by a long shot, it is just not as hard as it used to be. I realize this happens to most trails as I have seen it happen in numerous places but it does not mean I have to like it! Alright Bitch Sesson complete.
Updating the Lake Hodges pages on my website has been on my to-do list for quite some. Now that there is a pedistrian and bike bridge connecting the north and south side of the lake there are more ride options in the area on a single outing. Additionally, a few years ago I got a letter from some of the land owners and the western end of the easement road (known as the high road) that did not want anyone using the easement rsload for recreation and asked that I take down that information from my site. Well obviously I’m a busy guy and have not be able to get to that yet. It looks like it maybe all figured out by now since new signage has gone up. Of course that new signage has made things as clear as mud. Take a look at the picture above. The easement road sign says “No Trespassing” yet they installed a people tunstill beside the gate. New signs were put up telling you it is okay to hike and bike to the right, but no trespassing to the left. Looking at the sign above at the far western end of the easement road one would think it is okay to go through the gate and ride off to the right vice on the easement road that goes to the left. That is not the case at all. What the signs are trying to convey is that when you are on the easement road, everything uphill of the road is private property and everything downhill (towards the lake) is part of the park. This is also not entirely correct as the private property owners land typically goes some number of feet/yards downhill of the road. The park has put up private property signs at the bottom of the trails that connect the lower trails to the upper easement road. I find it odd that some of the land owners don’t want people on the eastern end of the easement road, yet nearly all of them have gates onto the easement road from their backyard. Presumably so they can use the easement road to get into the park. Hmmm so it is okay for those land owners to get onto the little sliver of the easement road they own and then trespass on their various neighbors property and then enter the park through unauthorized trails but it is not okay for the public to do so. Hmmmm, the best advice I can give is to do your best to make sense of the various “non-truth” signs you see and make your own judgement calls. Following the predominate and fresh foot and bike tracks is probably a safe bet.
The Benardo Mountain trail has no controversy involved with it. It just a nice trail that will work you over on the climb up to the peak. There are some tough grade sections and some technical bits as well that will test both skill and fitness. There was some nice purple blooms going off on the climb.
The view of the bridge connecting the North side to the South side from the peak.
Snow on the mountains to the east.
After Bernardo Mountain I rode out towards the dam until it was time to turn around and get back to the rink. I made it back just as Jake was get off the rink so two sweaty Porter Boys to funk of the truck on the drive back to Casa Del Bill.