Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ride Recap: Siberia and Camp Creek Exploration

Yesterday's ride was epic/crazy enough that I think it deserves it's own little blog post.
I know this is October, and what I should be doing right now is sitting on the couch and eating bon bons or something, but when Carl Baur raves for weeks about how great this one trail in Big Bear is, and offers to lead an awesome tour of new-to-you trails in the area on a Wednesday it's kinda hard to say no. Add to that the fact that I hadn't touched a mountain bike in 10 days and wa;/s DYING to feel the thrill of sliding down a steep, loose, scenic trail/ dip and weave through the flow of Skyline and it's REALLY hard to stay home on the couch!

So yesterday I jumped at the opportunity.

We parked at Angelus Oaks and met up with Carl's friend Jason, half an hour late because I somehow left the house with road shoes... The ride started out with the outstanding Post office loop trail which was in great shape and instantly reminded me why I love mountain biking so much! Can we say dipping, weaving, plunging into banked turns and sliding through corners :)

Next we climbed Clark Grade, the longest fire road you will ever encounter, ever. There were some flies and sand, but we managed to tough it out and hit the top in about an hour. Because Jason was predicted to be a bit slower than Carl and I, we rode down Trick-or-Treat trail, and climbed back up to the 'Grand Overlook' (the spot where Skyline and Seven Oaks intersect) to give Jason time to finish climbing Clark.

From there we rolled across the road to Pine Knot trail, an incredibly fun little stretch of singletrack I have somehow never ridden before. More dipping and weaving and sliding through sweet sandy turns, plus some rolling off rocks and wall rides made this an instant favorite.

Next we made our way over to Siberia Creek trail, the one Carl had been raving about all this time. The first half of this trail was INCREDIBLE! The fall colors were crazy pretty, the ground was covered in ferns, and the sky was bright blue. After we twisted and turned through the dense woods we popped out on the side of a mountain with out of control views of the ravine below and mountains across the depression. The trail was narrow, and involved a lot of navigating rock problems while balancing on the edge of a couple hundred foot drop off.

This is what the trail looked like when it was fun to ride/only a little scary. 
My best friend at Gunsight Rock. This bike was phenomenal in the less than ideal conditions.  
It was equally terrifying and incredible riding, and every so often I would look up and freak out over the amazing view.

Eventually the nice, rideable trail deteriorated into a super narrow line of sand that fell down the hillside as you rode over it. This gave way to a mess of debris flows coming down the mountain from above and straight through the trail once we turned onto Camp Creek trail. Needless to say there was A LOT of hiking! To add to the difficulty of the trail the yucca tried to stab the crap out of you as we hiked across these super precarious narrow sections, and that gave way to super scratchy bushes grabbing our arms and handlebars on BOTH SIDES! Oh and the fallen trees, there were SO MANY fallen trees that were most definitely not rideable. All this misery lasted JUST long enough to make me start to question if the views and flow of the trail at the top were worth it. And at the moment when I started thinking maybe I wanted to end it all by 'accidentally' sliding off the cliff Carl told me we were more than halfway to the end of the trail. Ha.

The tour guide. He's lucky Jason and I didn't murder him after Camp Creek...
Eventually we popped out on fire road, and slowly made our way back to Middle Control Rd.  We reached the top of Middle Control around hour 7, completely out of water and kinda happy to still be alive :) And of course we stopped for Slurpees on the drive back to Orange County :)

So that's my story of Siberia Creek. I honestly do not recommend it to anyone, but if you want to scratch all the skin off your arms on bushes and spend an hour hiking with your bike, and feel like you might die for 10 miles, go ahead, but make sure you enjoy the view at the top!

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