RR: Big Wednesday

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by Dr. Wellington Yueh, Jun 18, 2020.

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  1. Dr. Wellington Yueh

    Dr. Wellington Yueh Member

    Northridge, CA
    Tom Kenney
    Boredom catches me, and I wander...

    I was about to start a phase of 'enchainments' of my favorite trails in the San Gabriels. Doing bigger loops, adding road sections to existing rides, now this: I considered parking at Cloud Burst Summit, riding Mt Waterman (up rd, down tr), riding highway over to Islip, do the Islip Ridge loop, then return via highway to the car. I shelved this still enticing idea and decided I needed a break.

    Five years or more has passed since I rode anywhere in the Sierra Nevada. It's an awful dry spell that has come to pass due to fundamental incompatibilities in husb/wife travel styles. Wife: "You need to take me to 4 Aristocrats shows this year...in different cities!" Me: park the car, throw my s#!+ on the ground, that's camp!

    I'm out the door at 8:30 AM. Four hours' driving later, I arrive at Lower Peppermint CG, which is still closed. There is a mob of people parked at the overflow parking, and at the primitive sites. Looks like mostly swimmers headed to the lower Pep Falls, a prime spot with a beechin' big waterfall for a backdrop.


    My start for the day, the 'warm-up' climb, would be Sand Hill Ridge. A bit of research revealed that the stuff I'd been eyeballing in Google Earth was indeed open and trafficked. Descriptions of the trail generally said "good down below, sandy and steep above" and this I found to be accurate.

    The lower part of the trail is mellow, meandering around a large burned area (McNally Fire) with a robust recovery in the black oaks tempering the 'scorched earth' scene. Steep sections of road eventually yield to continual steepness, and trudge. Walking was the norm on the middle third of the climb. Through this section I was fallowing bear tracks, Mrs Bear and a very small Jr Bear. There were also 4 sets of bike tracks and 1 set of moto tracks, all going up.


    On approach to the base of Dome Rock, the bugs relent and the views improve. Then, as you crest a small ridge, the trail mellows and the Dome shows it's steepest side. From this point onward there is a very cool rolling section, and then the re-mellowed climb resumes to the summit of the Dome.



    There was a cold wind on the summit, and people milling about, so I snapped a pic and continued the adventure. Next on the itinerary was an attempt to locate 'Quacking Quaker' in the woods south of Quaker Meadow. I found the start but mis-navigated a critical turn. A 'T' intersection presented equally beautiful options to flow on through the forest, and I chose the only right turn I should have lefted. I ended up back on the highway at Ponderosa...a pleasant detour nonetheless.



    I continued on up the highway to the Freeman Creek Tr with plenty of daylight left. Why not do some recon? The Summit Tr is located up one of these roads, so I decided "End of the road or bust!" The minor flaw in my plan was that the road splits to 2 'ends of the road' with the fork signed for 'Summit Trailhead' being the longer by 10km. Since I was already about 5km from the Freeman Creek Tr, I decided for the shorter option, and headed out to Lewis Camp Trailhead.

    This was a very beautiful extra credit run through prime Sierra meadow country. "Everything's so f#(<ing GREEN!" Curiosity satisfied, I retraced back to Freeman Creek to flit amongst the giants. The upper switchbacks are looking pretty manky. When I first rode this trail (2004?) it was immaculate. Now it's pretty chewed up. The section in the flats provided a nice unwind as I dodged 800- to 1000-year-old trees in the last rays of the day.

    I hit the road, made a right, and cruised on through the evening's eye candy. Sunset painted Sherman Peak and the east wall of the Kern Gorge as I finally returned to Peppermint. Silence! Beauty! Peace!

    Now for the soul-crushing drive home...ugh!

    SIMPLE STATS: 60.9km (38mi) / 1726m (5700ft)

    Mikie, UPSed, Tom the Bomb and 23 others like this.
  2. mike

    mike iMTB Hooligan

    Western US
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    HT, FS
    Killer ride – and report! TFPU :thumbsup:
  3. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Laguna Beach
    Current Bike:
    2020 SC Megaplower
    Well(ington) done - you! :thumbsup:
    Mikie, rossage, Tom the Bomb and 5 others like this.
  4. hill^billy

    hill^billy iMTB Rockstah

    That IS a killer ride!
  5. konakc

    konakc iMTB Rockstah

    Some humans have this innate need to see what is around the corner...what is at the end of the road? (how north and south america got populated so quickly from siberia) ..
    thanks for sharing your explorations... true mountain biking adventure!
    Mikie, rossage, Tom the Bomb and 3 others like this.
  6. Tom the Bomb

    Tom the Bomb iMTB Rockstah

    Alta Loma, Ca.
    Thomas Cosgrove
    Current Bike:
    Niner rip 9
    All in one day, travel too! Noice!
    Mikie and rossage like this.
  7. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Lebec, California
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Ibis DV9, Santa Cruz Hightower
    This is awesome!
    Tom the Bomb likes this.
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