Big Bear Day 3: Wildhorse and SART

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by Daddy Dirtbag, Jul 4, 2016.



Want to donate to imtbtrails?



  1. Daddy Dirtbag

    Daddy Dirtbag Member

    Location:
    Castaic
    Name:
    Jeff Johansen
    Current Bike:
    2016 Trek Stache 9 29+
    Several years ago, dstepper posted a ride report on STR that piqued my interest, and it has been on my 'list' ever since.

    We have been staying in a cabin just east of Big Bear City (near the Sugarloaf area) since Thursday. We rode Exploration Trail in Running Springs on Friday, and did the big IMTB hullabaloo on Saturday. The world was our oyster for Sunday's ride, so we decided we would like to do something we hadn't previously done, and we are staying really close to the north end of the Wildhorse 2n23 fire road. A no-brainer in my mind to take full advantage of our situation.

    Our plan was to ride from the cabin out Hatchery Drive to the beginning of Wildhorse, up to Wildhorse Meadow, and down Wildhorse Canyon (top to bottom the purple line on the map below), to Hwy 38. Ride down Hwy 38 a few miles, and then jump onto SART at Southfork, and ride down to Angelus Oaks. My wife, the Shuttle Honey, would pick us up at the top of Middle Control Road, and head back up to the cabin.

    Wildhorse Map_002.jpg

    We started about 2 miles from the 2N23 trailhead. The ride up 2N23 was about 5 miles of moderately steep fire road. This section of fire road is just rocky enough to make it hard to keep a good momentum going. After yesterday's festivities at Skyline with the IMTB crew, it was downright soul sucking on the 29+ hardtail with my lowest gear yielding in the neighborhood 21 gear inches in the granny gear. I remember thinking that this would be my first and last time climbing this fire road. . . . .

    IMG_6815a.jpg

    On the way up 2N23, Ted spotted this unfortunate critter that had met his demise. After looking it up on the internet, we have determined that this is likely to be a San Diego Ring Necked snake. There is a San Bernardino version, but this didn't look quite as much like this one as the San Diego version.

    IMG_6816a.jpg

    Once we made it up to the saddle and into the Wildhorse Meadow area, my outlook quickly changed. This area has a really great backcountry vibe to it. As you start heading downhill, there is a long beautiful meadow on your left.

    IMG_6817a.jpg

    After a little ways, there is a break in the meadow where the fire road veers left and then goes down the other side of the meadow, but if you stay on the right side of the meadow, you head down what looks to be an old jeep track that is becoming overgrown. There are wood posts in the ground to prevent automobiles from heading down it. We continued on this trail on the right side of the meadow that eventually narrows down into true singletrack.

    IMG_6824a.jpg

    Ted is constantly on the lookout for 'things' in the trail to jump off of. He found one such 'thing' here.

    IMG_6828a.jpg

    Pretty soon, you are heading through lush ferns, the trail barely visible at times as you crash down the canyon. When I think about the type of mountain biking I would do in my dreams, this is it. Careening downward through lush forest singletrack, with a stream just a few yards away proving a peaceful soundtrack to an epic adventure.

    DSC_0082a.jpg

    Eyes on the prize. . . .

    DSC_0083a.jpg

    Eventually, the trail crosses the stream where there is a backcountry camp aptly named 'Wildhorse Camp' according to the posted signage.

    DSC_0086a.jpg

    We searched for where the trail would continue along either side of the creek, but could not find anything. Then, we saw a trail heading south from the camp, uphill along the east side of the canyon. We continued to search for evidence of a trail that would stay alongside the creek, as we were hoping not to have to climb up out of the canyon, but we couldn't find anything, so we climbed up along the east canyon wall for quite a ways.

    IMG_6831a.jpg

    Spinal compression provided here, free of charge. Just put your head down, and ride forward, from the other side for milder compression, or from this side for maximum compression. Fortunately, I chose the former, the 'milder compression' option. Stopped me in my tracks.

    IMG_6833a.jpg

    The view as we climbed out of Wildhorse Canyon, looking down toward our eventual destination along SART.

    DSC_0088a.jpg
    More of the same. . . .

    DSC_0090a.jpg
    Eventually, this trail started heading in a more easterly direction, and from here to Hwy 38, we would be descending 99% of the time. This section of the trail, in it's own way, was just as awesome as the first section, only much longer. It was here that I absolutely toasted the brand new 180 mm Ice Tech rotor that I installed a few days ago. The 203 mm rotor on the front stayed silent the entire day, but this rear rotor squealed like an undead banshee. No need for a trail bell from this point forward.

    IMG_6834a.jpg

    There were a couple of boulders behind the bush below his rear tire, so no savant was needed to figure out what would happen next.

    IMG_6837a.jpg
    A ganked shot, but I thought it was interesting that my front spokes appear to be bending, but it's most likely some sort of effect provided free of charge by the cell phone camera.

    DSC_0091a.jpg

    After we dropped out the bottom of whatever trail we were on, onto HWY 38, we coasted down to Southfork CG where we inhaled the best smushed PB&J sandwiches ever made, and replenished our depleted water supplies.

    It would not have been difficult to make the decision to tap out, and forego SART, but neither one of wanted to be 'that guy', so onward we went into the afternoon sun.

    The view is much the same in hundreds of places along SART.

    DSC_0092a.jpg

    Water was flowing in several of the feeder creeks, so I did what any good orc would do as they trudge through middle earth.

    DSC_0095a.jpg

    Thankfully, the log bridge didn't break. . . . :eek:

    DSC_0096a.jpg

    So, at the end of it all, 31 miles on my speedometer, we both concluded that this was as good or better than any ride we have taken, EVER. A pretty tough day in the saddle, no doubt, but fantastic trails and scenery. Many of us have done SART, so there isn't much to enlighten the group about, but if you're looking for a ride with a more adventurous flavor to it, I highly recommend giving the Wildhorse area a try.
     
  2. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    irgendwo
    Name:
    Stef
    Current Bike:
    3 SC is now 2 SC.
    It was a pleasure to meet you and your son on the IMTB group ride...

    This report is awesome! All of the boxes are checked... Thank you for sharing your adventure, and adding another area to my wish list. :thumbsup:
     
    Mikie likes this.
  3. knucklebuster

    knucklebuster Well-Known Member

    Location:
    34.2295° N, 117.2257° W
    Name:
    Dave
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Megatrail
    Excellent report :thumbsup: Thanks for posting it. I've been talking with friends about doing such a route out of BB down SART as far as we could go, but hasn't happened. This gives me new spark to get on with the planning, maybe for fall :sneaky:
    You had a great 3 days out there, Exploration one of my faves, Skyline and Wildhorse/SART, awesome!
     
  4. Voodoo Tom

    Voodoo Tom MTB Addict

    Location:
    Castaic
    Name:
    Tom Kokkinakis
    Current Bike:
    Mango one, blue one, black one
    Yowza that's a great ride & report & pics. I love those rides that you just don't know exactly what you're getting yourself in to. What a great way to spend a long weekend.
     
    Daddy Dirtbag likes this.
  5. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Tallboy Upgrade
    This is so great... can't believe it's just an hour up in the mountains from here!
    Seems like it would be from Colorado, Tahoe or somewhere less local! Love it!
     
    Mikie and Daddy Dirtbag like this.
  6. sir crashalot

    sir crashalot Well-Known Member

    Location:
    laguna beach
    Name:
    gary fishman
    Current Bike:
    2018 banshee rune
    On my todo list this summer
     
    Daddy Dirtbag and Mikie like this.
  7. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    '20 Pivot Firebird 29
    Nice - well done and thanks for sharing! :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::cool:
     
    Daddy Dirtbag and Mikie like this.
  8. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    You guys skipped SART from Heart Bar to South Fork?
     
    DangerDirtyD, Daddy Dirtbag and Mikie like this.
  9. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    Sahhhh-weet!
    I love these adventure rides. The trail less travelled.
    Great write up and pics. Ted seems like an awesome guy. Totally killer you two ride together :thumbsup:
     
    Daddy Dirtbag likes this.
  10. Tom the Bomb

    Tom the Bomb Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Alta Loma, Ca.
    Name:
    Thomas Cosgrove
    Current Bike:
    Niner rip 9
    Very interesting:thumbsup:
     
    Daddy Dirtbag likes this.
  11. dstepper

    dstepper Member

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Dean Stepper
    Current Bike:
    2014 Turner Czar
    Wildhorse is a jewel. Wildhorse needs more traffic to keep it open.

    A decade or two ago the boy scouts cut the new trail from Wildhorse camp to Highway 38...that is Wildhorse Trail. The old trail that follows the creek and on older maps was not sustainable. I have bushwhacked from the Highway 38 up and Wildhorse camp down. There are a few sections visible mostly very overgrown. Yes the climb back out of Horsecamp is a stiff one but the remaining downhill is first class.

    Pic of the ferns on Wildhorse.

    NOTE: I have read hiking reports that the water in Wildhorse has high levels of heavy metals due to old mines in the area. I have also had friend camp their on biking trips drink it. Many do drink it.

    Dean

    IMG_5018.JPG
     
    Stkx66, Fueledbyex8, CarlS and 6 others like this.
  12. DangerDirtyD

    DangerDirtyD iMTB Addict

    Location:
    CA
    Name:
    Chicken Nugget
    Current Bike:
    2018 Guerrilla Gravity SMASH
    TeeHee! soon...
     
    Grego, konakc and mike like this.
  13. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    '20 Pivot Firebird 29
    Steppie! I wonder how he's doing. I think he lives near me.
     
    DangerDirtyD likes this.
Loading...



Want to donate to imtbtrails?