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  1. #1
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    SoCal Deserts - Vacation Trip Report

    Hi all-

    I wanted to thank folks here once more for their help planning our recent successful vacation. I’ve posted links to .gpx files, maps, aerial photos and geocoded photos on my blog.

    Briefly, here are the highlights:

    Aliso Viejo – I didn’t post this one, because we ran it so fast that we didn’t any get photos, but if anyone wants the .gpx file, just email me at rich at make your own maps dot com. I will say this though…Rockit was a blast! Riding from our friends’ house, it was 17.5 total miles and 1213 feet of elevation gain.

    Anza Borrego – What a slog across the desert! I was doubting the wisdom of this one from the very beginning, when it turned out we couldn’t take the car anywhere near as far as we had hoped. But we made it to Sheep Canyon primitive campground, ditched our bikes and played at non-technical canyoneering for a couple of hours. If you would have told me that I was going to enjoy the very slight descent on the way back (nine miles through sand), I would have said you were crazy, but it was a blast. This was my first fun experience on sand and I really enjoyed it. Stats: 18.9 miles, 2682 feet of gain.

    Thomas Mountain – The Ramona trail is awesome single-track. Highly recommended. Lake Hemet Campground sure is cold in early November though, but at least they have hot showers! 13.3 miles, 1863 feet of gain.

    Palm Canyon / Pinyon Flat – Flat is the right word. We got our first three flats of the trip on this cactus lined loop. After four days in a row, we were really too tired to do this one, so it felt pretty brutal. 10.4 miles, 1730 feet of gain.

    Goat Trails – After a rest day, we were ready to build on our previous workouts with the coup de grace. We actually surmounted Murray Hill and made the loop, but the steep downhill from Murray turned out to be a rutted, BLM – mismanaged disappointment. We would have been better off doing it as an out-and-back on the beautiful single track we climbed west of Eagle Canyon. Nevertheless, it was a blast, with a little more route-finding than the other rides. It ended up being 12 miles and a whopping 2880 feet of elevation gain.

    Finally, a couple of quotable quotes from my wife, the best mountain biking spouse a guy could dream of…

    “Speed will get you through times with no technique, better than technique will get you through times with no speed.” (Apologies to the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers)

    “Survival is secondary!”

    Rich Owings
    www.MakeYourOwnMaps.com
    www.GPStracklog.com

    "We were desert mystics, my friends and I, poring over our maps as others do their holy books." - Edward Abbey

  2. #2
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    Iv'e been on several rides

    Iv'e been on several rides there. I can't remember a single flat. I try to stay on the trail. Never pull out the thorns when you find them and the tire isn't flat.

    Next time I go, I'll prolly have ten flats.

    I wouldn't have matteedr if I typed this or not. I thought of it. Now I'll get the flats.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by noslogan
    Never pull out the thorns when you find them and the tire isn't flat.
    (
    Now you tell me!

    Rich Owings
    www.MakeYourOwnMaps.com
    www.GPStracklog.com

    "We were desert mystics, my friends and I, poring over our maps as others do their holy books." - Edward Abbey

  4. #4
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    Did you end up finding the petroglyphs in Sheep Canyon? There are plenty of crazy cool historical spots there...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by punkndrublic
    Did you end up finding the petroglyphs in Sheep Canyon? There are plenty of crazy cool historical spots there...
    No, unfortunately we were pretty rushed due to short days and no 4WD for closer access. I've been wanting to hit those canyons for years. Maybe next time I'll set up a base camp for multi-canyon exploring and between canyon bushwhacking. A technical descent from the top would be even better.

    Rich Owings
    www.MakeYourOwnMaps.com
    www.GPStracklog.com

    "We were desert mystics, my friends and I, poring over our maps as others do their holy books." - Edward Abbey

  6. #6
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    Wow!

    Nice trip report. I used to live in San Diego, and was something of a backcountry rat. You found a few places I've never been down there.

    Looking at the maps, I wish there was a zoom out feature, or a link to a larger area map for context

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    Nice trip report. I used to live in San Diego, and was something of a backcountry rat. You found a few places I've never been down there.

    Looking at the maps, I wish there was a zoom out feature, or a link to a larger area map for context
    Harry, it is pretty easy to find. Out Christmas Circle towards Salton Sea and Borrego Springs Resort, go left on the second street and it will take you up to Coyote Canyon. Follow the dirt roads up the drainage past the old Anza ranch and it will climb through sand and rocks to Sheep Canyon. The throughfare ends up top near the oasis and from there you are free to hike, wander and climb all around the mountains.

    If you know where Rockhouse Canyon and Clark Dry Lake are then this is the next large canyon/drainage over to the west. Also, if you know where the Sealy Reds (most amazing grapefruit in the world) honor stand is on the dead end road, it is one major block west of that. Coyote Canyon is pretty easily found on local topo maps but the road is closed six months of the year for the annual sheep boogie.

  8. #8
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    How bout the others?

    Thanks, Punk! I should have been more clear, though. Unfortunately, Aliso Viejo (in OC) and Sheep Canyon / Borrego were the spots I pretty much did know the locations of. But the ones he mentioned after that weren't real familiar. I think I've been to Lake Hemet once; I'll have to map it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    Nice trip report. I used to live in San Diego, and was something of a backcountry rat. You found a few places I've never been down there.

    Looking at the maps, I wish there was a zoom out feature, or a link to a larger area map for context
    Yeah, I wish TopoFusion (the program I used to generate the map) had those features. I played around with a way to bring TerraServer topo maps into Google Earth / Maps awhile back, but it didn't work. I'm betting it won't be long until we'll have those kind of tools available for online trip reports though.

    BTW, the other three rides are all covered on Mountain Bike Bill's website. He has .tpo (National Geographic TOPO) files posted.

    Rich Owings
    www.MakeYourOwnMaps.com
    www.GPStracklog.com

    “We were desert mystics, my friends and I, poring over our maps as others do their holy books.” – Edward Abbey

  10. #10
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    Good job! Thanks!

    "BTW, the other three rides are all covered on Mountain Bike Bill's website. He has .tpo (National Geographic TOPO) files posted."

    I appreciate that. I haven't looked at his web site in a while. I'll have to do so.

    Have a great Thanksgiving!

    HC

  11. #11
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    Harry, if you are out there, be sure to cover Grapevine to Jaspers as well. Good climbing in sand and a great downhill blast. Look for the singletrack on the right after road ride!

    There are a couple of cross country slogs out there that will require panniers and a camp, but onto great Indian sites. If you want help on it, lemme know.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by punkndrublic
    Harry, if you are out there, be sure to cover Grapevine to Jaspers as well. Good climbing in sand and a great downhill blast. Look for the singletrack on the right after road ride!

    There are a couple of cross country slogs out there that will require panniers and a camp, but onto great Indian sites. If you want help on it, lemme know.
    Doing one ride in Anza Borrego Desert State Park does not do it justice. Grapevine Jasper, Coyote Canyon from the top, Uno palms five palms 21 palms, Mine Wash, Pinyon mountain Split mountain, 3 canyons ride, Blair Valley, San Felipe Rainbow canyon, and many others I can't tell you about.

    Nothing like a good slog up a sandy alluvial fan other than the resulting blast down it! We run wide tires with slime and pressure according to the conditions.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by richwolf
    Doing one ride in Anza Borrego Desert State Park does not do it justice. Grapevine Jasper, Coyote Canyon from the top, Uno palms five palms 21 palms, Mine Wash, Pinyon mountain Split mountain, 3 canyons ride, Blair Valley, San Felipe Rainbow canyon, and many others I can't tell you about.

    Nothing like a good slog up a sandy alluvial fan other than the resulting blast down it! We run wide tires with slime and pressure according to the conditions.
    Yeah, one of these days I'll leave the redwoods and move to the desert!


    Rich Owings
    www.MakeYourOwnMaps.com
    www.GPStracklog.com

    “We were desert mystics, my friends and I, poring over our maps as others do their holy books.” – Edward Abbey

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