Camp Nelson . . . E.P.I.C.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by Mikie, Aug 10, 2014.

  1. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    The sleeper of Epics!
    Shidan, owner of Sequoia Mountain Adventures must have had the vision 10 years ago… He saw the potential for the area a long time ago as a mountain bike Mecca, but has it caught on like it should have?

    Camp Nelson is located 33 Miles (48 minutes) East of Porterville on the 190 Highway, a twisty two lane road that follows the Tule River deep into sequoia country. Located in Tulare County, Camp Nelson as of 2010 registered a population of 97.
    Your closest shopping is in Porterville so if you go there and stay for a couple of days, stock up. There are cabins available to rent as well as a camping/RV place available. Bringing up an RV is arduous at best. The twisty highway to get there is tedious as indicated by the travel time vs. mileage to get there. There is no cell phone reception anywhere near this area.

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    Shuttling the Camp Nelson (which is a real good idea) can be up past an hour for the furthest shuttle points and that would be to ride the Summit Trail. I highly recommend finding a successful GPX file somewhere and uploading it to a Garmin. If we had not, we would surely have gotten lost as we were lead off the trail several times on to horse and cow trails several times. Not all of Summit Trail is worth riding, thus why it’s a good idea to get a GPX from someone who really knows the area (and the good parts to ride). We got one from Shidan, and this saved our butts several times.

    For Dirt Bags, getting there is pretty much an adventure. With thin skin, you would NEVER survive the verbal bombardment of the psychological abuse each other takes on planning, driving to, and experiencing the trails. As well, the after hours R&R'ing at the cabin can be pretty brutal as well. We may be too tired to ride, but never too tired to beat each other up with Dirt Bag schmack talk. And believe me, there is PLENTY of Schmack talk. The secret to survival, is one of two tactics, 1) Either divert it to one of your fellow Dirt Bags so as to dodge and weave as the center of attention, or; 2) One up the attacker so well that they know to pull out and focus their abuse on one of the weaker subjects. :lol:

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    Thursday: Freeman Trail through Camp Nelson Trail

    Freeman Trail is an out-n-back. The nice thing about the Freeman Trail is that you start right off with an awesome smooth flowy singletrack descent to the bottom. The bad news is that you have to climb back out of it. A good place to turn around is at the George W. Bush Sequoia. It’s huge! The climb back out is pretty steep in places so just settle in and utilize all that training you have been doing. DH’ers push yo engines! After we climbed back out of Freeman we dropped down into Quaking Aspens and BOMBED Camp Nelson Trail.
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    Camp Nelson Trail

    Camp Nelson Trail is approximately 6.5 miles long. It is both super flowy and super chunky! Bring your “A” Game for this one. Most of the shuttler’s that shuttle the Camp Nelson area do the Camp Nelson Trail over and over again…
    Fast boulder hops, to sudden drops, to baby heads, to stream crossings on boulders and a couple of planks, to hairpin switchbacks, to even a section of singletrack that goes right through the middle of a sequoia tree tunnel, and then onto a 10” wood beam bridge with a near 45 degree angle turn in the middle over the Tule Creek. This is fast if you want it to be, but painful if you have to pick your way through on foot. This finished just shy of our cabin so it was the perfect ending to our ride for the day several times!

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    Quite a day 1 for the first day at Camp Nelson. Part two is coming...

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  2. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    The Summit Trail to Jordan Peak and Down…

    Maddog shuttled us on this. The rider line up was Maddog, Scottay, Hill^billy, Tony Arnold aka AKAKTM and his amazing son Parker, and… yours truly. The Summit Trail is more of a wilderness adventure ride than a Shuttle drop to just bomb a singletrack. To get there, you continue up Highway 190 past Camp Nelson to just before Quaking Aspen Campground and make a left on Forest Route 21S50 and travel approximately 7 miles to where we dropped onto the trail. Please! Just follow the Summit Signs, they will get you there. It’s easier than the arguing :lol: we did using iphone’s, Garmins, GPS locators, and opinions to get us there, although it was nice when we DID get there to find the trailhead with a Garmin.

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    It takes you on an awesome adventure through heavy woods, amazing meadows, and crazy epic elevation views. Much of the trail is not heavily traveled by mountain bike enough to burn it in, so a lot of times you are pedaling through thick pine needles and watching your Garmin for waypoints and turns. For those that bike pack I highly recommend this trail! In following Shidan’s waypoints we spurred off to the right heading West to Jordan Peak where there is a Forestry Lookout at an elevation of 9115 feet. It’s a climb at altitude to get there but it was worth the sidetrack to take in the views. When we got to the Lookout there was a lady that was living there full time with her cat, as a forestry volunteer. She said the cat heard us coming. She invited us in and some of us went inside. I was too chicken for the heights!

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    Dropping back down what we just climbed up made for a sweet fast descent back down to the Summit Trail. Making a right turn and continuing on we got off the trail several times and were VERY glad we had the Garmin loaded with a GPX file. Dropping down once again into Quaking Aspens we stopped to say hi to MTBHotRod and his awesome family, and then plummeted once again down Camp Nelson Trail…NICE!

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    Once again, Camp Nelson dropped us like two miles from our cabin on a paved road. We cruised back in for another amazing Epic day!
     
  3. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    Up Summit Creek, down Bear Creek Trail

    Maddog, Scottay, Hill^billy, Will-D, Tracy aka Supah Chick, and myself scheduled Saturday for use of Sequoia Mountain Adventures Shuttle for our Summit to Bear Creek Trail adventure which ended up the epitome of this weekend’s adventure! A guy named Charles a local out of Springville joined us. Shidan said it was his favorite; it remained to be scene until we did it. We paid for 2 shuttle runs for the day. Shidan said we would be spent after Bear Creek and that all we most likely would have left would be energy on the 2nd shuttle up to hit Camp Nelson again. I had some left, but what we did was incredible!


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    The Shuttle
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    Dave / Willi-D
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    From the drop point of the shuttle we continued west on this paved forestry road for maybe a mile and then turned left onto another section of the Summit Trail heading south. It’s a climber. We climbed and switchbacked, and hike-a-biked, and even had a few descents as we climbed back up to the 9,000 foot level. At one point Willi-D took a small break to ride the length of a fallen tree as Tracy and I looked on. NICE!

    The Gorgeous Trail Climbing Up.
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    Willi-D riding the rails.
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    Rodney was the official trail greeter today.
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    I didn’t realize it at the time, but when we got to the Bear Creek/Summit Trail split we turned right. Heading down this section starts with a drop and then a climb and then a plummet down Bear Creek Trail. It’s an OMG Trail! The trail is incredibly steep at times with fallen logs turn into jumps. I didn’t have the guts to try any of them but unfortunately H^B tried one of the first ones which turned out to be one of the largest and he went over the bars only to receive a few scrapes and cuts. I credit him with the guts!
    Steep, loose, rocky, with switchbacks, drops, and log ramps to fly s far as you want to we continued down this section to a stop point. Charles was having some leg cramping issues so he was starting and stopping. We waited for while for everyone to regroup off the last section… where was Maddog? We waited, and waited, and waited . . . . and; waited. Hill^billy started back up the hill.

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    The Porn
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    The Ride
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    The Views
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    The Hill^Billy
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    Charles
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    MTBHotRod just getting a little off balance.
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    The Scottay
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    The Willi-D
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    Second thoughts.
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    Maddog killing some technical.
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    Two things happened, 1) Maddog found Scottay’s lost camera on the way down, and; we left Maddog before the Summit Bear Creek split and he was going the wrong way! Very bad on us! We continued on and as the trail continued . . . the trail reached Epicness! I mean, like the best trail I have ever ridden Epicness. At times flowy, at times crazy rock drops, dodging and weaving between downed trees, super speed sections with surprise switchbacks, log jumps, dodging trees as it twisted through the forest at high speed. This is “Just Outstanding“on steroids! Flying through this section of forest, Scottay right on my azz, we were flying! We were descending altitude fast, to the point that we both came around a corner and we were immediately in a Manzanita forest like Just Outstanding.

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    Hill^Billy marveling at the very big trees. We all were.
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    The temperature immediately shifted significantly warmer when we rounded a corner and hit a new section of high speed small shelved trail that wrapped around the mountain to occasionally surprise us with a hairpin switchback. My hands were beginning to ache from scrubbing off speed by braking as there was no turns at times to slow us down. The trail was narrow here (like 10 inches?). Brakes were burning and smelling. Thank goodness both Scottay and I chose to switch out our back brakes that morning or we both would have hit metal to metal in no time on this. As well, thank goodness I have ICE TECH brakes as those baby’s never faded the entire run.
    Slowing and finally stopping to wait for the others, it was near moral imperative that Scottay and I high five and knuckle bump this section of high speed craziness. It was most likely the most excellent trail I have ever ridden! Who knew!!!


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    We gathered the group and finished off the last mile or so and then climbed up a paved street to pass right in front of Sequoia Mountain Adventure. We stopped and told Shidan that we would be back for shuttle 2 in about 45 minutes.

    We did load up at around 2:30pm in the afternoon and unloaded to get another run of Camp Nelson Trail in to finish off the day and as it turns out to finish off the weekend.

    Loading up for Round Dos.
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    The group went out to dinner at the Ponderosa which is pretty good, I stayed back to cook my steak and baked potato and watch some MTB video’s.
    We crashed after watching the old movie 12 Monkeys and cleaned up the cabin and were on the road by 8:30 towards Porterville, and then make a left heading south on our way home.


    Oh Yeah! Steak Night!
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    Yes, I saved this plants life. When we got there, it was a dehydrated droopy mess. My greenthumb still works:
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    Front Porch View.
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    Back Porch was nice too. Hah! Never used it.
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    Views as we headed home:

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    Epilogue
    Is Camp Nelson a destination point? Probably not. I think that if there were a few more bullet points to Camp Nelson’s credit, it could be.
    • A network of a few more trails
    • A descent place to get groceries
    • Cell phone reception
    • A nicer place to RV or hotel it
    • Possibly at least some cross country skiing to help it survive the winter would certainly give it a fighting chance.
    • Great place to eat (Pondersosa is a descent place to eat, but is more than 35 minutes away)

    It’s true that you have to do a lot of climbing to get to the sweet amazing descents we rode. We found it worth it! Especially Bear Creek Trail, a lot of effort for amazing reward! I don’t think I will be going back soon, but I can tell you this . . . I WILL be going back, and it was worth every bit the effort to get there!
     
    Faust29, Tom the Bomb, mike and 5 others like this.
  4. scan

    scan Well-Known Member

    Name:
    fran allas
    Current Bike:
    Scott Spark
    Re: Camp Nelson . . . O.M.G.

    Nice pics!!!! Looks awesome. With regards to the 2 yetis on the deck I refer you to the RR Wrightwood 2nd to nuns ,Aug 2 entry !
     
    Mikie likes this.
  5. AKAKTM

    AKAKTM Member

    Name:
    Tony A
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripmo
    Another super ride-report with excellent pictures. Great work Mike. Anyone thinking of going to the area should read this report first! Keep posting.

    TA
     
    Mikie likes this.
  6. MTBHotRod

    MTBHotRod Member

    Location:
    Santa Clarita
    Name:
    Rodney Thompson
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley
    Great RR Mikie. I'm stoked that I got to ride with you guys a couple of days. The game plan was a little sketchy at first but in the end it all came together. Looking forward to the next road trip
     
    Mikie likes this.
  7. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    Yeah, that seems to be how I roll.... :roll:
     
  8. hill^billy

    hill^billy Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Acton
    Name:
    Doug Lake
    Current Bike:
    Yeti SB-66

    I have been wanting to thank you for the RR, but I'm waiting for part 3? Should I keep waiting or thank you now?
     
    Mikie likes this.
  9. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    Hah! H^B, I promise to get the rest of the pics and report up this weekend. If you want to give me an advance, I thank you. If you want to wait and make a full payment upon completion that is completely understood... :lol:

    Oh, by the way...You rocked those trails this weekend. Cleaned stuff I wouldn't even attempt :? :cool: ! You knocked it outa dah park! :D
     
    hill^billy likes this.
  10. SoCal_Rider

    SoCal_Rider Member

    Location:
    Temecula/Murrieta
    Name:
    Ryan
    This brings back fond memories of a guys trip we did to Camp Nelson/Kernville a couple of summers ago. We too did the Freeman out-and-back followed by the Camp Nelson trail...only we weren't smart enough to arrange a shuttle and ended up riding the road back up to the Freeman trailhead. That made for a long day.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  11. hill^billy

    hill^billy Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Acton
    Name:
    Doug Lake
    Current Bike:
    Yeti SB-66
    Thank you for the great report Mikie! That was an epic trip, with a great group of solid riders! No flats and no mechanicals is always good in my book. I would surely go back. I think I agree, Bear Creek is possibly the best trail I have ever ridden! There was nothing that trail didn't have besides features. That was a good call. :cool:
     
    Mikie likes this.
  12. scan

    scan Well-Known Member

    Name:
    fran allas
    Current Bike:
    Scott Spark
    Man that camp nelson trail looks awesome!!!
     
    Mikie likes this.
  13. BBJohn

    BBJohn Member

    Name:
    John
    Awesome RR Mikie. Never ridden up there and seeing the pictures and knowing you guys I really missed out on this one. :cry: Your report/pictures and Scottay’s pics just make me want to get up there even more now.
    Looks like you guys did have an epic time. Glad you didn’t kill each other. :D
    That's the stuff that best memories are made of, incredible!
     
    Mikie likes this.
  14. scottay

    scottay Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Gods Country
    Name:
    Scottay
    I would go again, definitely need to throw in a day or two at Cannell/ Kern along the way tho!
     
    Mikie likes this.
  15. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    Totally Ahhhgree!
     
  16. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    Bump! This was an awesome time!!! An Epic adventure...
     
    ridinrox likes this.
  17. rossage

    rossage iMTB Addict

    Location:
    East Sacramento
    Name:
    Ross Lawson
    Current Bike:
    Highball
    Might be up that way next week/ week end.
    Let's do it!
     
    Mikie likes this.
  18. Oaken

    Oaken Member

    Location:
    OC
    Name:
    CeeJay
    :thumbsup: on my bucket list
     
    Mikie likes this.
  19. rojomas

    rojomas Member

    Location:
    Kookamongus
    Name:
    Oxx
    Current Bike:
    Carbon Intense Tracer 275
    Bear Creek! I was daydreaming about that trail earlier this week. I need to go back.

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    DangerDirtyD and ridinrox like this.
  20. jfsh

    jfsh Member

    Name:
    Jeff
    Current Bike:
    Enduro
    Funny Roger. All 3 stunts in your pictures are no longer there. It has been a while since you were up there.
     
    rojomas and Mikie like this.
  21. abuck55

    abuck55 Member

    Name:
    Mark
    Great ride report and pics!! Camp Nelson is still one of my favorites. Top 3 for sure!
    Iv'e been itching to go back.. Never got to do Bear Creek yet or Freeman. Need to get back there....
     
    Mikie and ridinrox like this.
  22. ridinrox

    ridinrox Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Murrieta
    Name:
    Roxanne
    Current Bike:
    '16 Giant Trance Advance
    I get to come w ya again!! :sneaky:
     
    Mikie likes this.
  23. ridinrox

    ridinrox Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Murrieta
    Name:
    Roxanne
    Current Bike:
    '16 Giant Trance Advance
    Thank you for bumping this Mikie!!

    What a ride...........
     
    Mikie likes this.
  24. rojomas

    rojomas Member

    Location:
    Kookamongus
    Name:
    Oxx
    Current Bike:
    Carbon Intense Tracer 275
    Are you serious?! Where'd they go? The one that sticks in my mind is the skinny to log drop. The one that Andy ate sh!t on. I think it was just before that crazy redwood log berm/roll.
    BTW, happy birthday again buddy.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  25. jfsh

    jfsh Member

    Name:
    Jeff
    Current Bike:
    Enduro
    They were mostly victims of wood rot. The big log in the first photo is too rotten to ride. The log in the second photo has been removed. The butt crack jump was destroyed by the forest service. The other drop you are talking about is gone too. The wood skinny is rotten. That whole trail is less about the stunts and more about the flow now.
     
    Mikie, ridinrox and hill^billy like this.
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