In my last post i mentioned the problem with all the sunny days and i posted a picture. And well yes, technically it was overcast but mother nature just seems to want to tease us here in Southern California. There was some moisture that fell to the ground in the evening but nothing to write home about, certainly nothing to keep one from venturing outdoors. Don’t get me wrong i’m not complaining just pointing out that there is a downside. Hope that helps you folks in the frozen climes. To be fair, i can see the allure of winter snowy activities.
So since i’m talking about getting outside here’s what i did~
Sometimes, you’ve exhausted your usual rides and some exploration is in order. I woke up feeling that way yesterday. There are ton’s of trail above my community and i’ve been meaning to explore above Haines Canyon, to see whether the trails link through Deukmejian Wilderness Park to Dunsmore Canyon. I’ve been told it does.
I entered Haines Canyon at the flood control catch basin and climbed up to a fork in the trail. To the left I’d ridden a few times and knew what to expect, to the right i was in new territory. The trail lures you in but soon i found myself all the way in using my lowest gear not capable of keeping traction in the loose rocky trail. So began my on the bike and off the bike ride. I used the term “lure” because that’s frankly how it felt (to tempt a person or an animal to do something or to go somewhere, especially by offering some form of reward.), there were MTB tracks which made me feel like it’s been done before. i continued to push my bike over a difficult rocky section where it would open up to a ridable section but soon lead me into another unrideable part of the trail. Also i had this crazy determination to make it to Dunsmore Canyon so i pressed on!
As i continued up the Haines Canyon Mountainway i could make out a slash in the hillside which looked like a fire road. The trail crossed a debris field with the trail meeting up with a gate, here again i was lured into thinking this might be an actual fire road and ridable. Moving past the gate the climbing began in earnest. I was able to ride some of this section as it rounded a ridge and afforded some spectacular views of the valley below and beyond.
I paused long enough to let it soak in but knew i was short on time the work thingy don’t you know. The Haines Canyon Mountainway links up or shares the name with the Rim of the Valley Trail and a spur called Azteca Spur/ Sister Elsie trail that climbs up the backside of Mount Lukens. In hindsight, i chose wisely to continue on the Rim of the Valley as i knew i needed to get off the mountain.
The terrain here is wide open at elevation (there’s no tree cover to obstruct views) wide open skies and from my elevated viewpoint i honed in on what i thought was the Deukmejian/ Dunsmore Canyon Flood basin, so off i went down what i like to call the “Billy Goat Trail” but is actually “The Cooks Canyon Trail” it plunged me into the depths of a beautiful watery retreat.
The last deluge two weeks before had blocked the trail with deadfall, here i also had to negotiate where the stream shared the trail. A while later I emerged out on La Mesnager Trail which t-bones into Dunsmore Canyon Trail (this lower trail was a blast to ride) and onto Markridge where I hightailed it home and made it to work on time.
Even though this was only a 12 mile jaunt i felt like i’d done something worthy.
Here’s the Strava route.
My conclusion, I’ll never take any bike in this direction again! Not even a MTB, I can see riding off of Mount Lukens on a MTB would make sense and of course this is a fine hiking trail but never will i take Homer up that trail again. Was there a reward? You betcha! I had a pre work adventure which i’m always up for and i learned some valuable information for the future.
Thanks for reading and as always keep the rubber side down.