Three Flags ride in the Santa Anas, well, almost...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by knucklebuster, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. knucklebuster

    knucklebuster Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Mission Viejo (South Orange County)
    Name:
    Dave
    Current Bike:
    Canfield The One '12
    I was going to do this ride on Memorial Day, to show respect for the freedom our servicemen and women have fought for. And somewhat a personal thing, as it's a stretch for me to reach these three flags in the Santa Ana foothills in one ride. With all the difficulties our military personnel have overcome (and still trying too in many cases), surely I can do this.

    Memorial Day ride got cancelled... due to a DIY toilet flange bolt repair project (how patriotic is that?). Today was my next chance. Of course it's the first day in weeks that there isn't a heavy marine layer... it's gonna get hot.

    From Saddleback church, through Edison, up the down way of Whiting and over to STT. The first flag is on Fossil Hill. Jim @kioti told me it was nicknamed after some marine fossils found there, maybe he can elaborate. We brushed some of the trail to the flag a year or two ago, but wasn't expecting much.

    Most who have ridden STT-Luge has seen this view. STT skirts the big hill, but there is a trail up to the top of it and big flag pole..
    IMAG1776.jpg
    Side trail to Fossil Hill after the big STT switchbacks. It's pretty much all hike-a-bike
    IMAG1777.jpg

    One big flagpole at the top, 6" diameter, maybe 20 feet tall. Flags not in too good of shape, but think you'd have to bring a ladder to get up to change them..
    IMAG1779.jpg
    IMAG1781.jpg

    Nice views from Fossil Hill, this is looking down to the flag at the top of the Luge, if you squint you can see it
    IMAG1782.jpg

    Flag 2, most everyone knows it. Camera lens is smugged, sorry. If you look hard you can see the flag at the top of Fossil Hill in the center background
    IMAG1786.jpg

    Original plan was to go up STT to to Cadillac and drop down to O'Neil, but it was already getting hot, so went down the Luge and Live Oak to try to beat the heat. Up twisty-tire to Rancho and pavement up through Robinson Ranch to Bell View trail.

    Bell View isn't bad except a 100 yard section that is steep loose hike-a-bike. I got up that to a low ridge and started having second thought about the Bell Ridge Flag. It was hot, the bugs were bad (forgot my headnet), and I knew I had another climb through O'Neil after that. And, Ding Dong decent to the wash solo is a little sketchy, and I also didn't bring my pads.... I decided 'live to do it another day in better conditions'.

    Pic of the Bell Ridge flag (crappy zoom on the phone camera). It's on the highest hill in the middle

    IMAG1792.jpg

    Non zoom, the Bell Ridge trail HAB that is really tough up to Bell Ridge. Ding Dong trail cuts off Bell Ridge just before the flag hill and drops down to Trabuco wash. Another day...
    IMAG1794.jpg

    This was the part I didn't do that I wanted to do
    Bell Ridge Flag.jpg

    I guess, mission failure, but I still feel good about it. I'll get back and do the whole route with better conditions for sure.

    Full route today... 26 mi, 3870k says Garmin
    Screenshot (58).png
     
  2. scan

    scan Well-Known Member

    Name:
    fran allas
    Current Bike:
    Scott Spark
    No biggie, you can always do it another time. Getting out there, exercise, and enjoyment are what matter!!
     
  3. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Steve
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon & Highball C
    Nice... That's a pretty big ride! And now that I'm looking at your map, the trail I thought was Ding Dong isn't... I thought it was the flowy single track that starts farther down.
     
  4. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    Nicely Nice! Nice to have stretch goals, this looks like a great one Brothah!
     
  5. Cornholio

    Cornholio iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Salton Sea
    Name:
    Carol
    Awesome! If I remember correctly the water lines in the beginning of Harding (left canyon wall as you are climbing in) are from something like 80 million years ago so I would assume fossil hill was under water around the same time. It was years ago when I heard that so I may be off by a few million years. :coffee:
     
  6. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    '15 Intense Tracer 275c DVOish
    Definitely NOT a failure! Good on ya mate. :thumbsup:
     
  7. kioti

    kioti iMTB Rockstah

    Name:
    Jim Jennings
    Current Bike:
    ibis ripley
    That's quite a ride, Dave! I got the Fossil hill and Luge part, but was thinking.. where's that third flag?

    I usually hit Fossil hill by climbing the ST on the other side. You get to it by descending halfway to the Luge, and make a hairpin right at the first flat area. The climb's rideable in good conditions, but probably not right now as I think it's a little overgrown and loose. Anyway, then I descend the west side to where it reconnects with the STT (your 2nd photo). It's a short, fun, mildly techy descent.

    And yes, the hillside is covered with seashell impregnated rocks. Pretty cool.
     
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  8. knucklebuster

    knucklebuster Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Mission Viejo (South Orange County)
    Name:
    Dave
    Current Bike:
    Canfield The One '12
    Yeah Jim I think you and I and Mo brushed up from the Luge downhill side, and came down the the side I went up today, which is much steeper and overgrown. Definitely would be easier going up the backside way we brushed, and was not bad going down that way today.
    That flag pole up there on Fossil Hill is heavy duty stuff. Still don't know who or how they did that, but much heavier than the Luge pole. It's just so tall it seems very difficult to get up that high to change the flags .... I stand on your back or you stand on mine? :)
     
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  9. kioti

    kioti iMTB Rockstah

    Name:
    Jim Jennings
    Current Bike:
    ibis ripley
    You're right about the brushing, and it was something I was hoping to do again soon. I love the STT option trails!

    I've wondered about that flagpole, too. I betcha @mike could figure out a way up it! :thumbsup:
     
  10. Cougar

    Cougar Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Washington City, UT (near St. George)
    Name:
    Craig
    Current Bike:
    '14 Turner Burner
    I never knew about Fossil Hill or any "STT option" trails... and I must have ridden STT -> Luge near a dozen times now.

    Neat ride concept :)
     
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  11. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Girth hitch for the summit! :sneaky::thumbsup:
     
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  12. pperrelle

    pperrelle Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Carlsbad
    Name:
    Paul
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripmo, Ripley & Tranny
    Do I see an IMTBtrails flag changing ride being planned in the near future? I'd be happy to pick up a couple of flags if someone could figure out how to ascend the flag pole and attach them.
     
  13. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
  14. knucklebuster

    knucklebuster Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Mission Viejo (South Orange County)
    Name:
    Dave
    Current Bike:
    Canfield The One '12
    I looked back through my ride database, it was July 2013 we brushed it. Three years, doesn't seem that long ago.... May have been done again since then(?)
    There are a few, Jim knows them better than me, but the one I liked most, can't remember the name of it... is up on the ridge on the left shortly after hitting the dirt. You can see a trail with a pretty good drop coming off the ridge just after the gate... that's the end of it (best to do it heading down towards Modjeska grade imo). The entrance to it is up near where the first little downhill on STT is. Another is is my humps usually done going up, and Fossil Hill best done going back towards the grade.
    And a harness? :cautious:.. if that isn't implied with a girth hitch(?)
    I'll join, even carry the flags up there, but not real good with heights, so I won't volunteer to climb the pole :sick: Not sure if anyone maintains the Fossil hill flags, seems like there would be more hiker traffic than bikes up there (shrug)
     
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  15. kioti

    kioti iMTB Rockstah

    Name:
    Jim Jennings
    Current Bike:
    ibis ripley
    I don't know who's traditionally changed the flags, but we can probably take care of it.

    The optional trails I like..

    Starting at Modjeska gate, head up maybe 1/2 mile to saddle overlooking Modjeska Canyon. Most people go up the ridge on the right, commonly known as My Humps. Goal is to clean the climb, but the final 20 feet are tough. 2nd goal is to stay in one piece on the descent, which reconnects with the STT.

    2nd option: From the same saddle as the bottom of My Humps, turn left and climb the ridge to the weird cross, then descend the narrow ST that winds down and along the ridgeline, then goes across a spine and drops through an alluvial fan type formation (pea gravel over hardback). I shoot for the short drop to the right of the centerline. And then continue down on a rutted old roadbed and through a narrow ST to the upper parking lot near the Modjeska entrance gate. I call this trail PhD.

    3rd option: The fall line trail from the upper switchback to the lower switchback at the 2.5? mile point from the Modjeska gate. Best going down, but HAB up.

    4th option: Near the bottom of this little trail there's an old roadbed that heads left off the STT if you're heading toward the Luge. Seriously overgrown right now. Keep an eye out for it in the not-to-distant future.?

    5th option: Fossil Hill. I usually ride and/or push up the ST on the east side of the hill, then ride down the west side to re-join the STT. It makes a fun little Ken Block style loop if you're heading for the Luge, or you can hit it as an option if you're riding the STT back toward Modjeska. Also possible to ride/HAB up the west side.
     
  16. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Yep. An etrier (webbing ladder) or two will help also. Is the pole tapered? How smooth is it? Might have to bring a little additional trickery. Happy to help; let me know :thumbsup:
     
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  17. knucklebuster

    knucklebuster Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Mission Viejo (South Orange County)
    Name:
    Dave
    Current Bike:
    Canfield The One '12
    Not tapered, fairly smooth steel ( a little rust). In the pics above you can see there are welded on foot/hand holds starting about 10 feet up. Probably not a big deal for a monkey-like creature to climb, but that's not me :gag:
    Paul @pperrelle - do you want to organize a ride to do the deed? Or I can, but if it need to be a weekend thing it'll be a couple weeks (out of town next w/e). Maybe do some exploration of the side trail options with @kioti 's lead, or even tackle the Bell Ridge flag/Ding Dong.

    Cheers guys, thanks for the input and enthusiasm. I want to see Mike climb that pole (and not fall) :)
     
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  18. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Thanks, Dave.

    I can't see pix on the forum, though. If you would, please email me the shot. Thx!!
     
  19. pperrelle

    pperrelle Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Carlsbad
    Name:
    Paul
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripmo, Ripley & Tranny
    Would have to be a weekend ride for me. How does Sunday the 19th look? Would be cool to do a little exploring while we're up there. I've only done the normal Luge loop.
     
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  20. knucklebuster

    knucklebuster Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Mission Viejo (South Orange County)
    Name:
    Dave
    Current Bike:
    Canfield The One '12
    Hmm, Father's Day the 19th, probably not. And need to coordinate with @mike since he has the climbing gear to get up the pole.
     
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  21. knucklebuster

    knucklebuster Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Mission Viejo (South Orange County)
    Name:
    Dave
    Current Bike:
    Canfield The One '12
    Got up there and did #5 Fossil hill (climbing from the Luge side this time), #3 the switchback connector (which transitions nicely from the Fossil hill downhill), and #2 Phd on the way down. Fun change of pace, a bit overgrown in places, primarily Fossil hill and the switchback connector. A few pics...

    Marine layer just clearing at top of Fossil hill
    IMAG1812.jpg

    The start of the switch back connector, a bit overgrown, a bit steep and some ruts, but doable
    IMAG1808.jpg

    The entrance to "Phd", adjacent to My Humps. Once past this little climb, all downhill, mostly
    IMAG1801.jpg

    Strange monument up on the ridge. Didn't see any human remains or signs of sacrifice
    IMAG1815.jpg

    A little narrow and some exposure in one spot. STT is down on the left of the pic
    IMAG1825.jpg

    The exit off the ridge to STT
    IMAG1800.jpg
     
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  22. pperrelle

    pperrelle Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Carlsbad
    Name:
    Paul
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripmo, Ripley & Tranny
    The same goes for me, didn't realize it was Fathers Day when I posted that. Mike, is there a day that works for you?
     
  23. DangerDirtyD

    DangerDirtyD iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    La Verne, CA
    Name:
    Dennis (AKA Dio)
    Current Bike:
    2013 Trek Slash 9 (26er)
    You guys should bring along a stripper to climb the poles for you. Done deal...
     
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  24. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    I can do it most any day. Let me know what works for you guys, and I'm sure it will for me.
     
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