Sycamore Canyon Southern Access

This will not surprise those of you who have been following the ongoing access issue to Sycamore Canyon in the San Diego Area. Access to the Sycamore from the south continues to be problematic Part of the long standing trail network linking the Mast/Media area of the Santee Lakes to the southern entrance of Sycamore Canyon crosses over MCAS Miramar land known as East Elliott. For decades there has been little concern over this access route but in the last couple of years the access has been of more concern for the USMC.     Here is a blog post from the SDMBA on latest round of enforcement that includes the confiscation of bikes.  Below is a map that is been floating around on social media.  I kind of like my bikes so I would recommend avoid those trails that cross onto the USMC land.   There are other option in the area.  Options I can’t post of my site, but a quick strava search should give you some things to think about 😉

Here is a message from the SDMBA president regarding the issue.

Hodges, Black Mountain Sycamore

I have hit up several different places over the last week.


I started the week off with meeting some new and old friends for a spin through Sycamore Canyon and then some.  There will be some updates on my site in the coming weeks for this area.  Biggest takeaway for now is to stay east of the watershed running down the middle of the canyon as the Marines are patrolling their land that is on the west side of the seasonal creek.  Instead of parking at the dirt lot near Mast and Medina, park at “Hole in the Fence”.   Google Map   9100-9140 Birchcrest Blvd, Santee, CA 92071 and park near there.  This is a neighborhood so remember to be a good visitor in their hood.  Be quiet and don’t thump your system.   Trail starts through the hole in the fence at the end of Birchcrest.    Exploration is good for the soul!


I have been refreshing my knowledge of the Black Mountain area in preparation for a webpage update and there were a couple of back corner trails that I had not been on in a long time.  So an after work ride was in order here.  I kinda had lost an appreciation for how much climbing you can get in out here.  Often times when I’m researching an area I put together a route that allows me to cover the most trails and trails I have not been on it a while.   This latest research route I did was 14 miles and included 2,900 feet of climbing. No wonder muscles and joints were wanking the next day!


I came across the fellow while out on the trail.  Literally! I came across him.  When I realized that this big fellow was a snake I was way to close to stop and not prepared to bunny hop over him.   Boy was he pissed!

2015-03-14 11.32.52-4TB

Nichol had been out of town for a while so Saturday we took a welcome back cruise on familiar ground out at Lake Hodges.   It was unseasonably warm but as far as I’m concerned there is no time like the present to start getting acclimated to the hot weather.  Ahhh, the kind of problems we have to deal with in San Diego.

Summer is Here – Midweek Stoke

So I started the mid-week stoke out on Tuesdays with a ride out at Sycamore Canyon and boy was it hot.   The heat has always been my nemesis and it takes me what seems like the better part of summer to acclimate to it.  I took the UZZI out here mainly because that was what ended up in my truck.   There is no reward  to speak of for riding a 7″ travel bike out here.   It was however a good workout and it was a good test for figuring out how the bike would work me over in an XC enviroment.  Overall the bike will git-r-done but it is going to make you work for it.    I was good and pooped by the time I finished up the ride.  
Wednesday, I met Steve out for some Alpine Action and it was even toastier.   It was 92 when we started from the bottom which mean some of the “dead air” zone on the climb were more like 95-97.    We were shocked to see some organ donors on this climb.    No helmet, no water and rocking an old-school Wally World bike.   There was some water donated and some “best to turn around now” advice was given before we continued onward and upward.   
Now that Steve had an audience, a clown bike show was in order.   This was when I whipped and my 4lb DSLR to realize that my battery (that is good for 1,500 pictures) was completely dead.  This is only second time in a handful of years of toting around a big camera that this has happen.   The mental result was still the same, a 4lb camera with a dead battery in your pack feels like a 10lb camera.    Ahhhh, yes the stupid shall be punished!
The rest of the climb went well as far as climbing in the heat goes.  I have certainly suffered much harder out here in the past. None the less, I was feeling worked at the top.   I did not feel particularly comfortable through the first set of features as things were just not clicking.    I think getting worked over on the climb took some “snap” out of my reflexes.
That was not the case with Steve as he had the juices flowing and hit the “Garth Gap” for the first time on the black clown bike affectionately known as “Shoniqua” (named because she is Big, Round, Black and Sticky… just like his…..)
This was Steve’s last shot from his camera before his battery went dead as well.   The rest of the ride went well.   I made really good time on the final run down the hill but there was some scary turns here and there and the summer conditions are pretty much set in now that offer some “exciting” corners traction wise.     The post-ride chatter included tasty beverages at Alpine Beer Company along with a tasty pulled pork sandwich.    (FYI for you Hop Heads, The Pure Hoppiness double IPA is Da Bomb!)   Bottom Line — I have had far worse Wednesdays.

Sycamore and Santee playtime or “Plague-aholic” rides again

Wednesday afternoon I got out for a ride out at Sycamore Canyon and the Santee area in general.  Steve had been off the bike for over two weeks with what he described as “The Plague”.   Last week  the germal infestion caused an aborted attempt for a ride with Steve, but this week “Plague-aholic” made the show.  Not wanting to push his recovery luck we opted for something much more XC oriented and mellow than the typical Wednesday stoke rides. 

This area is pretty singlespeed friendly  so I decided the bring out my one-geared steed out today for a little bit of trail luvin.

XC mellow day or not Steve has a passion for rocks, so I made a point show him a couple of play spots

The steep head angle of this bike was not most rock hounding capable rig (for my skills) so picking the lines carefully was the name of the game.

We ventured over towards Santee and did some more line scopeage and rock play.

The texture of this rock was pretty freaky and we could not help but want to call this the “Brain Rock”

We played and snooped around until daylight became and issue and then headed back.  Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday afterwork.

(Photos: Mostly by Steve, all with his camera)

Comfort Dirt at Sycamore Canyon

It was way too freaking early for a Sunday morning when I got up to meet Chip and friends down in Santee for a 7AM ride through Sycamore Canyon.     I had not seen Chip in a handful of moons and I had stuff to do in the afternoon so it worked out well.   I had also not been out to Sycamore Canyon in a really long time.  I think it has been over a year.   It was good to see Chip and good to ride Sycamore Canyon again.


All of the singletracks below the south gate of Goodan Ranch are in pretty good shape and the main trails in the park proper had seen some SDMBA TLC over the winter months.

After making our way to the upper trailhead at the north end of the park we continue northward and the did the area known as “Tip-Top”.   We did a nice lollipop up this area before coming back to the upper trailhead and taking the Martha’s Grove trail.

The run down Martha’s Grove was fun and it it was fairly zippy return back to the trailhead in Santee.   I was done and headed back towards home by 10AM.   This was very satisifying ride that was just the right size.   Like a good meal with a modest portion size, it was just enough to make you feel full but not uncomfortably stuffed.   Not every ride needs to be an epic, a training hammer fest or an out-of-beyond exotic ride.   This was like a comfort food kind of ride.  You know like a PB&J and a glass of milk.  (Pick your favorite)