Laguna Mountains Funtime

This weekend I joined Chip, and crew out in the Laguna Mountains for some good times in the dirt.  We started at the top of Redtail Roost and dropped the singletrack  down to near the meadow.  We then climbed up Aqua Dulce to the top of Los Gatos.  After taking Los Gatos down to the meadow we looped back up to the top of Los Gatos via Chico Ravine.   After descending Los Gatos a second time, we took a lap around the meadows before climbing back up to the Redtail Roost.  Good times!

Here a few pictures of the dirt hulligans on this outing.

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Chip and Roger

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Jorge

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The crew at the top of the Meadow. (Photo by Chip)

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Jason

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Jason and Amy

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Chip playing with his new bike

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At the top of Los Gatos with Jason, Jason and Tony

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Me with Mr Gopher Snake (Photo by Chip)

Laguna Mountains Camping

Last Sunday through Wednesday  my youngest son, Jake, and I did a three-night camping trip up in the Laguna Mountains east of San Diego. We got in some mountain biking, hiking and some good just kicking back time.

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Nichol joined us on the first day for a bike ride around the meadow, dinner and some marshmallow destruction before heading back home to play responsible adult while the boys played in the dirt.  Over the last few years there has been some reroutes to the meadow loop as well to some of the spur trails.  I would say they are all for the better.

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Back at camp, the marshmallows did not stand a chance.

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The morning of day 2 was meet with some leisurely breakfast making before hitting up some of the trails.

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Some play time on the Los Gatos trail was had.

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Jake working on a skinny.

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Jake working the camera.

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We spent the early part of the afternoon just chilling out camp watch the squirrels trying to figure out how to get to our camp treats.  This guy was craving some Cheetos.   That afternoon we did a hike nearby that include the PCT connector trail from the meadow.

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Day 3 we were up pretty early to hit some of the other Pretty Cool Trails in the area.   We rode the meadow over the Penny Pines Trailhead and then made our way over the Pioneer Mail Trailhead where we picked up the Pine Mountain Trail.  We took the Pine Mountain trail over to the Indian Creek Trail at Champagne Pass.    Indian Creek is the primary legal trail connector for bikes between Cuyamaca and the Laguna Mountains.

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We dropped off of Champagne pass to the east on the Indian Creek trail heading back to towards the Lagunas.

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Jake loves him some downhill fun but is not a fan of climbing at all. He wonders why every place can’t be like Mammoth or Big Bear. Once we got to meadow pictured above, I took great pleasure in letting him know it was 3 miles to anywhere from here in either direction and it was uphill in both directions.  We continued on the Indian Creek Trail to the east and climbed up to the junction with the Noble Canyon Trail.

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From there we turned north and climbed Noble.   (Colloquially known as the “Elbon” trail.)   There is a recently completely reroute of Noble up near the top.  The reroute eliminates a couple of road crossings.    The new section is much tighter and a twistier that the original section and while a bit loose right now it should bed in nicely once we get some rains.   I’m sure some of the Strava-tards and will wank about the reroute messing with their times.  (My suggesting to those folks is shut up, just ride faster or turn to juicing.)    Noble Canyon has its loyal followings of which some subscribe to the “Never Change My Trail” mentality so I would expect there will be discontent for a few months.  Personally I think the reroute is going to be really nice once bedded in.

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We took the “shortcut” spur trail that connects back to west end of the meadow vice going all the way back to the Penny Pines Trailhead.  Once back at the meadow it was a quite spin back to camp.

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It was pretty hot during the middle of the day so we kicked back in the shade of camp for a while before jumping in the truck for a swing by Laguna General Store for a Mexican Coke (The south of the border variant is made with real cane sugar vice corn syrup…tastier)  and an Ice Cream bar  before we did some recon work for some of the other trails in the area that are on my to-do list. Dinner that night was some tasty rib-eyes, grilled asparagus and zucchini with some brown rice.   That night we shook off the food coma by strapping on the headlamps to do a mini night ride out on the meadow that included some lights off time to check out the stars on that completely dark night.

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The next morning I was up before sunrise to get in a solo ride while the boy slept in.  Presumably there would be no one else out of the trail as well.  Sunrise was a Pretty Cool Time of day to be out and about by yourself in the woods.    On the way back from the 16 mile loop I saw Mr. Wyle Coyote out looking for breakfast.  After the initially moving away from me for a bit the coyote went back to hunting once establishing that I was not there to bother him.   I watched him for a good five minutes or so before moving along.

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Jake was just waking up when I got back to camp. A second round of coffee was in order for me and it was time for breakfast all around.   After breakfast it was time to break down camp and head out of the mountains.  I had a great time on the camping trip with Jake.   With the exception of a few minutes, we did not have data  coverage so having Jake “unplugged” was a bonus.   With no competition with the all powerful 3G/4G  it allowed for things like watching the “Campfire TV”, gazing at the stars, observations of the “little” things and conversations that would rarely occur otherwise.  Good times.   With some new GPS data and observations,  I’m planning on updating some of the maps, files and pages I have for this area on the site, so stay tuned.

Rolling through the Dog Days of Summer

Man long time no post.  The Dog Days of Summer have seemed to go on forever.  I spent most of the summer either down by the coast or as high up in the mountains as I could get.   La Costa, Lake Calavera, The San Clemente Singletracks and the Laguna Mountains have been the been most of my main riding haunts.

 Pretty Cool Trail

Of course there have been some excursions outside of the local range as well as places not fit for public blabbage.  Here is a Pretty Cool Trail off the beaten path that during the right kind of weather would be within sight of Palm Springs.

Homebase of my employeer is Philadephia and I am part of small contigent of folks who take care of things here on West Side.   Quite a few of my co-workers back in Philly are mountain bikers as well so we when they are out here we try to squeeze in some “Off Site” time with me playing Julie the cruise director.   Here is Jonathan out of the Laguna Mountains lugging around my UZZI.

Some good summer monsoon clouds rolling in.

Rocking a log ride 

I have been up on the Big Laguna Trail more times this summer than I have in quite a few years combined.    Here is Michael Paul riding the big log on the Los Gatos Trail.

From the top of the of Los Gatos trail near Mount Laguna you can get in some awesome views when it is clear out.   In the center of the picture above is downtown San Diego and Point Loma, 49.5 miles away as a crow flys.

Here is a zoomed in shot.  The downtown buildings are in the middle and Point Loma is on the left hand edge of the screen.  For a number of years I worked out at Point Loma and I always marveled at the handful of days in the winter when you could look at downtwon with snow capped mountains as the backdrop.   It was pretty cool to see the view from the opposite direction on this day.

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From another visit, here is my youngest son Jake making a run at the big log on the Los Gatos Trail.

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  This was a successful “One and Done” run for the log ride.  I’m going to have to watch out for this boy.

Soul Ride in the Laguna Mountains

Wednesday was pretty freaking hot (by San Diego Weather Weenie standards) with a bit of mugginess thrown in due to a bit of weather on the way in.      Steve and I decided to pass up triple digit sufferage in the usual Alpine spot and head up into the Laguna Mountains for what we consider the “Soul Ride”.   Big Laguna Meadow and the network of surrounding trails.

One of the reasons we call this the Soul Ride (Along with the overused “Chicken Soup for the Soul” reference) is that it is just a fun time out on the bike.  While most of the usual places around San Diego County have browned all up and gotten into full on summer mode, you can still find plenty of greenery and wildflowers out and about up here.

It was cooler in the Laguna Mountains but it was still 90 when we started.   It was quite overcast when we started but there was just enough breeze to keep things reasonable.

Steve brought out the clown bike so of course a show had to be put on.  This rock is known as “Dental Plan” because if you screw up you are going to need one.

Later on in the day there was a bit of a break from the full blown overcast which made for some nice bit of afternoon color.   This is the connector between the Noble Canyon Trailhead and the Big Laguna Trail.  If you are going to do the Tour De Noble you will be on this trail at some point.  Today we did this trail as an out-and-back to refill our water bladders at the Noble Trailhead.

We are on the northernwest of the meadow here.  This was one of the fire boundary lines that held during the 2003 wildfires that swept through the area. There were thousands of acres burned to the west (behind me in this shot).   The area has been recovering well.

This is a nice scenic spot along the southern side of the meadow.  The only thing it needs is……….

A stupid human trick!   (I can get Steve to try anything when I pull out the camera)   Steve had eyed up this line before but had not pulled the trigger before. I think it took him having my high quality steed underfoot to allow him to pull this off.    This line has been named “Compressor”.

This picture should explain the name.   7.5″ of travel in the rear and 7″ in front were fully used on this move. 

Stuntworks over it was time to work our way back to the vehicles as pulled pork sandwiches and tasty microbrews at Alpine Beer Company were calling our names.   Our chosen path was one less traveled with some challenging bits.  This Wednesday did not suck.

Big Laguna Meadow Cruise

The weather was pretty freaking awesome this past weekend out in the east end of San Diego County.     It was a wonderful time to head out to the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area for some playing around on the Big Laguna trail.

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While just a few days away from the offical start of summer, there was plenty of green and patches of wildflowers here and there.

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While riding technical stuff and challenging yourself is always fun and exciting sometimes just getting out on a nice sliver of singlerack in some beautiful countryside good for the soul.  Such was the case of on this day.

Tasty Beer from Alpine Beer Company afterwards does not hurt either!

Noble Canyon and the BLT

What an awesome weekend I had.   Jeff Sherman was down for the weekend from Kernville for the weekend and Bill O’neil came down from West LA as well.   Friday was yummy grub and tasty beverages at Stone Brewing Company.   Saturday was Big Laguna – Noble Canyon ride.   We had a sizable group of 11 and did it in semi-slacker fashion by cutting out the Pine Valley and Indian Creek segment and doing a point-to-point ride versus the classic climb-o-rama Tour De Noble

We started thing off up top by taking the Redtail Roost singletrack down into Aqua Dulce,  from there we worked our way up to the top of Los Gatos Ravine.  We did of course play on a log or two in the process. 

Trickier than it looks.

Once on Los Gatos we stopped and played on an feature or six.   Here is “Dental Plan” 

 Some more of “Dental Plan”

There was some log ridage and log pileage to be played on.

Once down on Big Laguna Meadow.  We went clockwise around to the west side where we found the “Water of the World” pond almost frozen over. 

Halfway up the west side we cut back over to the east side of the meadow at the lake and the went up the meadow counter-clockwise.  There was some log chunkage found to play on before making our way over to Noble Canyon.

Noble Canyon was as awesome as always and the there was some log airage to be had.  

As well as some Rock Airage.

Stairway to Hell did not disappoint.

Stairway Chunkage.

A bit of roman wallage on Extra Credit. 

After polishing off the trail we were treated to the first release of Kernville Brewing Company’s Chocolate Porter creation courtesy of JFSH…….Tasty Stuff!

A mighty fine day on a bike with old and new friends a like.

Lost Webpage Found! Cuyamaca – Noble – Big Laguna Epic

Riding from the Cuyamaca to the Laguna Mountains and back is a really awesome ride that can range from 31 miles upwards  towards 40 to 65 miles and beyond according to what you add on at the ends.    The most I have done is around 40 miles.   I have made a couple of videos of this ride in the past but I thought it was about time that I put together a page with maps and pictures of the ride.   As I working on the map I came across a map file with a similiar name as the one I was starting.   When I opened it up I was surprised to see it was the route I was working on.   I started digging around through my local copy of my website and found a page I had orginally done up in 2003 and updated in 2007.  Somehow, when I did my big website makeover in 2008 I failed to include this page in the menu directory for the trails.

East Mesa in Spring 2007   

More East Mesa Spring Goodness

Wildflowers in Big Laguna Meadow

While part of me is a little bummed that I missed this page in the first place, it is sort of cool that it shown up now.  It is like finding treasure I buried myself and forgot about.  

Check out the Cuyamaca to Noble Loop

Snooping around in the Laguna Mountains

I got an afternoon ride in the Laguna Mountains area on Wednesday and went back on Friday to some more exploring.   We rode some of the classic routes as well as some stuff that gets basically no action at all.  I’m gonna have to do some further research to see if some of the stuff is fit for public deseminaton but it was pretty awesome to point the bike in a new direction see where things would take us.   For now here are some pictures.

 

A Coast-to-Coast Big Laguna Ride

Back in the summer of 2008, while on a business trip to Philadelphia,  JD showed me around one of the local riding spots.  It was good stuff so I was glad to return the favor when my schedule and JD’s line up this past week.   One cool thing about air travel in the westward direction is the time zones work in your favor.  JD took the first flight out of Philly on Monday and was in San Diego just before lunch.    I met him at the airport with an extra bike and we headed east.   Well not directly east.  JD got here before lunch but his luggage decided to catch some brunch back in Philly and catch him at his hotel later.     A quick stop by a local bike shop netted JD a fresh set of SPDs and some shoes before heading out.

The Big Laguna Trail system in the Laguna Mountains Recreation Area was the designated “off-site conference location”.    Sure there are gnarlier bigger rides like the Tour De Noble nearby but this area is super pretty this time of year and we did not have all day. 

 Cruising the ridge off of Red-Tail Roost.   I’m a big fan of Red-Tail Roost followed up by Los Gatos Ravine.

Cruising the north side of the meadow.

 

 Yeah, Work Sucks!   I think we talked enough shop to confidently say we were not playing “hookie”.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 

We did a pretty good chunk of trails in the BLT system.  On our final segment back to the truck the afternoon light started to make some of the colors in the meadow pop which made for a nice way to finish off the ride.   That’s the way Monday’s should feel.