...now on my laptop...

Sunday, 2004-5-9

UCSC and more of Wilder

Like last Sunday's ride, I started yesterday's longer ride at the old Rincon site on highway nine. Erik Goetze's QTVR sites map actually shows where the Rincon Connector trail crosses highway 9; the parking area is a bit farther up 9. (Check out some of the Wilder QTVR views on Erik's site to see a bit of what the area looks like.)

Yesderday's ride was much earlier in the day (around noon) than last week's, and the turnout was pretty full of parked cars. I rode up U-Con into UCSC, and all the way up along Chinquapin, across Empire Grade at Twin Gates, and down into the Gray Whale section of Wilder Ranch. Gorgeous weather, got some cooling ocean breezes up there, and awesome views over Monterey Bay, with just a bit of fog out on the bay, unable to make it to shore. I rode down Long Meadow trail -- haven't been on that one in many years. Somewhat boring technically (just a moderately descending fire road), but the meadows and the bay views were so outstanding that it very enjoyable. I did not see a soul on that stretch, all the way from the Chinquapin junction down past the lime kilns, up past the top of Engelsmann Loop, out to another great bay view, and onto the lower part of Wild Boar (ah, back onto some interesting singletrack).

Saw some hikers as I climbed up to the east end of Old Cabin; I rode on across that and Rodrigo (I cleaned the challenging switchback along there), and along those fun singletrack sections, to Five Corners. At that point, it's time to pay for all that fun. I rode and walked up the west side of the Big Meadow to the Eucalyptus grove, and then mostly rode up into and through Gray Whale back to Twin Gates.

There was some kind of student scientific survey going on at Twin Gates -- a couple of large vans from Cabrillo College and over a dozen students out at various parts of the meadow. Could have been an Ohlone Tiger Beetle survey ... this is their mating season and there are a few areas fenced off to protect them. I didn't stop to chat, though, because I had to be back home by 3:00pm. Rode on down Chinquapin and U-Conn, and back to the car.

Over the course of the day, I saw about 20 MTBers, a dozen equestrians, and maybe 15 hikers or runners. So, for most of the ride, it was just me and my bike. :-) I ended up getting home at 3:10. Not too bad timing-wise, and an outstandingly beautiful ride.

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