With the lockdown in full force, my weekend planning has been somewhat limited. Thankfully my primary activities all involve getting out into nature by myself so this whole quarantine thing is generally more of a blessing than it is a curse. I am still going to work anyways, albeit with an adjusted schedule. Its still very weird how empty everywhere is (except the beach in malibu, that is PACKED because people dont get it). But anyways, my adventure this time was intentionally planned to get as far away from the crowds as possible to not be part of the problem. Ive done a hike up to this ridge before in the summer time and remembered how overgrown the trail was due to non-usage so it seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
This was also a good choice to get a nice canyon drive in on CA-33 as well. One of my favorite roads in the area due to the length, variety in scenery, lack of traffic, and fun variety of curves to enjoy. Its more about higher speed sweepers than tight twisties on this one so the Subaru is generally the better choice than the Miata here. But it was also about 45 degrees out so I wasnt quite feeling the top down life that day!
Once at the trail head, it was even cooler at about 40 degrees and just a few cars were in the lot there. And since I didnt end up seeing anybody on the trail the whole way up, they must have gone to different trails in the area. So I definitely picked it right to maximize social distancing.
Heading up the trail, snow could be seen on distant peaks and so I began to wonder about what lay ahead of me on the trail. The trailhead was at 5200 feet and I was going up to at least 7200 feet so surely I might run into snow eventually. In the meantime though I just enjoyed my steady uphill bike ride for about 4 miles in total.
At about the four mile mark, the following happened to the road:
And boy was I stuck struggling to pedal anywhere, even when it wasnt uphill. I pushed the bike a bit further, enjoying the couple of dry patches here and there. And pedaling through the non-uphill stuff. But after a half hour of pushing along and not making a whole lot of progress, it was time to stop.
I just left the bike off the trail and away from easy sight. I wasnt too worried about it disappearing up here if you recall the barely any people around. And up here in the snow, there was 1 bike track, no foot prints, and a couple of ski tracks. So it definitely did not see much traffic at all. Not sure when it last snowed but it had certainly been more than a week.
The landscape was so different than the last time I was up here. I believe it was late summer when I came up last, basically fall even though we dont really have that season in Socal. The snow became deeper as I went up and there stopped being patches of dry pavement or any evidence of the road really. I still just followed the ski tracks uphill on foot and enjoyed the scenery.
After about two miles of trudging along, faster now without the bike, I ended up at the top of a peak near the top of the other trail. Here I found far more foot prints, so people had actually been here via that route. But still, nobody to be seen and so I found the tallest point around and a nice climbable tree to get a view since it was fully obscured by trees up there.
While climbing a tree seemed a little dangerous, it wasnt too bad since the footholds were solid and I made sure to do a bit of jumping on each branch to ensure it wouldnt snap unexpectedly. At the top, the view was great, allowing me to see out into the valley and the road I came up far below. I wanted to sit there and eat lunch but I settled with a more stable rock nearby even though it had less of a view.
After lunch, I made my way back down. I really took my time to appreciate the surroundings and the quiet offered by snow everywhere. Nothing but ski tracks up here and the only sounds were snow melting off of the trees and crashing down to the ground. The desert floor off to the North was a sweet contrast to the snowy alpine area I was in.
I have to imagine skiing down this would be kinda fun. Heavy snow that wasnt too deep since it was easy to walk through, but it would be a fun adventure I guess. I was assuming these were skin tracks and the person skiied down the other side.
Overall my journey covered about 12.6 miles with just over 2200 feet of elevation gain. The bike ride back down was awesome though and was another true treat of this trip. Once I got on the bike, I had to battle through a bit of snow first. But after clearing through that, it was smooth sailing and barely any pedaling the rest of the way down. Brakes worked great and the weather was perfect to be just a bit cool but not too cold to wish I had more layers. Would definitely do this trip again once the snow melts a bit more. I could only imagine having that bike ride downhill last longer would have been super fun.
A good way to get out and enjoy nature responsibly and easily keep myself safe from this virus without locking myself in a bunker. This is probably going to be a long new reality with no real end in sight. So I need to keep enjoying what I can while I can. Until next weekend for the next adventure!