Wildhorse – SART

Bill and I did a ride on the Wildhorse trail near Big Bear and connected it up with the Santa Ana River trail. We typically do this as a point-to-point ride. This logistics of this takes over an hour at both due to the length and the long high clearance road you need to drive to get to the top.

The opening climb at around 8,900 feet

We mixed things up on this ride and met up the evening before and left a vehicle at the bottom and camped at the top.

This fellow has some age on him

Since we were camping just for the night we both went pretty minimalist on the camping gear. One area we did not skimp on is the refreshments.

Ferns and trees on Wildhorse

The next morning we came up with a novel idea. We need to start setting an alarm clock to tell us to go to bed. We had stayed up into the wee hours of the night having tasty spirits and trying to solve all manner of the world’s mountain biking problems. (The world has plenty of working on that pesky hunger thing)

Neither one of use were exactly moving quickly in the morning, but we still managed to get rolling earlier than if we had not camped.

Wildhorse did not disappoint and the SART was in good shape. Surprisingly we made really good time on the SART portion. I think we were afraid the wheels were going to fall of the bus of our hangovers so we should keeping movung while we were good.

A little hair if the dog at the bottom and all was well. It was a great day to be out on a bike.

Hitting up the SART

It was mighty nice to get back up in the mountains near Big Bear again.    Outside of the my recent ride in Flagstaff, it has been months since I had been out for a decent ride.  This was just what the doctor ordered.

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Ali, Bill and I started off on the Sugarloaf Trail and I was quickly reminded that the main muscle that I had been working out as of late has been my beer drinking arm.    9,000 feet of elevation and loose semi-chunky climbing soon found me gasping on the side of the trail barely able to see let alone breath.    That kind of punishment was exactly what I needed.   I had been a bad bad lard ass and I deserved to be punished.    While it was not that far, it seemed like a long way before we hooked up  with the loose chunky Sugarloaf connector down to the Wildhorse Trail.

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Ali rolling through the ferns at the upper end of the Wildhorse trail.

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Looking down along a part of the Santa Ana River watershed area from the Wildhorse trail.

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Bill zipping by

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Ali cruising through

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Besides a bit of Where’s Waldo action, you can see a good bit of the impact of last year’s Lake Fire that came through the area.    After finishing off the Wildhorse trail we did a bit of road cruising to the South Fork campground and hooked up with the Santa Ana River Trail for some more single track goodness.   The SART was in just about as good of a shape as I can remember for this time of year.

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Clowning around on the SART.

As usual good post-ride refreshments, grub and general shat talking ensued at the bottom.   A great day to be out in the dirt!

Wildfire threatening the SART

There is a wildfire burning near Angelus Oaks, Barton Flats South Fork Area.   Hopefully they can keep this contain south of HWY 38 and protect the homes in the area.   It would also be a horrible for the Santa Ana River Trail or Wildhorse to burn.  Major Bummer!

LAKE FIRE UPDATE AS OF 6/19/15 @ 0658 HRS:

The U.S. Forest Service is reporting that the Lake Fire is now at 11,000 acres, with 10% containment. There are currently 1,224 personnel battling the blaze with the following resources on scene: 88 engines, 1 air tanker, 10 helicopters (including night-flying), 1 air attack plane, 28 crews, 3 water tenders, and 1 dozer. Additional resources have been ordered. Highway 38 remains closed from Angelus Oaks to Lake Williams Drive. The Big Bear Sheriff’s Station will continue to provide updates as information becomes available.

You can follow along with the progress of the firefighting efforts here

JUNE 22th 2015 UPDATE

The fire has burned 17,305 acres and is at 21% contained.   If the trends continue in their current form, the Santa Ana River Trail is going to be spared from any fire damage.  Currently all hiking trails into the San Gorgonio Wilderness and the Pacific Crest Trail from Whitewater Preserve to Onyx Summit are closed.

JUNE 29th 2015 UPDATE

The fire has affected approximately 30,716 acres in size and burning in timber. It is now 50% contained. Highway 38 has been re-opened, however all areas affected by the fire remain closed to recreation purposes.

NorCal Peep Tour of the SART

So I know some people who know some people who …….

That is typically the start of a really good bit of story telling.   It ranks right up there with “This is a No-Shitter”.    Of course any story that starts off with either one of those opening lines is to be treated as suspect and the phrases are synonymous with some kind of embellishment disclaimer.      (NOTE TO SELF:  Remind the viewers of my site, that nearly all my website work is done while enjoying tasty west-coast style hop-infused micro-brews that forces me into heavy reliance on the spellcheck function.  With that in mind  the readers should expect the wong word two bee used from thyme too time and possibly a complete would be missing here and there 🙂

So a freind of my mine in Norcal had a friend of his talk to a friend of mine, then that friend and I came up with a plan to take that friend of our friend onto a trail that a mutual friend had shown us some number of years ago.    Yeah I know some people who know some people who….

So after meeting up with Vincent we dropped off a truck down at the lower elevation and made our way up towards the back side of Big Bear.   About an hour later we were doing the final gear checks and  headed off up “a trail”.   The trail started off at 8,700 feet and we would be climbing to just under 9,000 before pointing the forks downhill.   It is was immediatly clear we were not a sea level.  It is pretty awesome how clean, clear and crisp the air feels at this elevation.  Which is a good thing as I was using a lot of it!

We were not long into the ride before it became quite evident that the wet and late winter played havoc in this area as there were plenty of deadfall to deal with.   We made a little roll action here and there and cleared what we could but for the most part we had some flow bustage to deal with when up in the pines.

 So we were already in the “Back 40” so to say, but there was this off-shoot remenant of a trail that Bill and I had been eyeballing for some number of years so we decided to check it out.   Checking it out meant some granny gearage and some hike-a-biking.  The remenant ended up going  where we thought it might and it was soon time to point the bikes back downhill for a quick bit of raw and untramelled excitement.

 

We expected cooler temps up higher but it soon became apparent that some unexpected weather had rolled in and had the entire area covered in clouds.  The good news for us was that as we shedded of the elevation the temps were not climbing like we expected.  We were living good! 

 We got in some great backcountry trail action before having to commit to a bit of dirt and paved road action that would take to the Santa Ana River Trail.

 The SART was in good shape and the lower temps made for some nice riding conditions for this time of year.   I was especially feeling in the zone and was having an incredible time  on all of the sidehill goodness this trail has to offer.  

 Vincent rolling by

 There was quite a bit more water than expected at all of the creek and feeder stream crossing.   

This was the final creek crossing of the day and soon after this it was time for tasty beverages full of tiny bubbles and chit-chat about today’s adventure.  We had barely rolled back to truck when the clouds cleared and the temps quickly climbed into the hot zone.    Like most days on a mountain bike near the middle of nowhere, today did not suck.