Tag Archives: mountain biking

THAT’S NOT A STICK! THAT’S A RATTLESNAKE!

BOMMER RIDGE-OLD EMERALD AND OLD EMERALD CANYON TRAILS LOOP

LAGUNA COAST WILDERNESS

Activity: Day Hike

7 miles, 912’ elevation gain, 3.5 hour duration, rated Moderate

Date: 8-17-20

I was enjoying a lovely Summer hike in the South Coast Wilderness, which is made up of multiple County and State Parks. This is my go to area that is close to where I live and a splendid place to hike.

I was walking along looking at my phone and reviewing the course that I was taking on my Hiking APP. Yes, I know that is a good way to trip, fall, walk of a cliff, into quicksand, a bear trap, a ravine or any number of bad predicaments. Add another to that list… I look down, half paying attention and I am about to step on what looks like a stick stretched out across my path. Suddenly I realize THAT’S NOT A STICK! THAT’S A RATTLESNAKE!  I alerted some approaching mountain bikers and we watched the poisonous viper slither off into the underbrush. 

Being an Adventure Blogger I have now run into numerous venomous vipers and this was a big’n! Thank goodness I looked down when I did and that I was at least paying half attention.

I have learned from some research that Rattlesnakes maybe vicious mindless killers, but that is towards their prey, and they want nothing to do with man. They aren’t lying in wait to attack you and they don’t hunt or chase after you. What you do not want to do with any wild animal is corner or threaten it, because that is when you might find that you have more on your hands then you bargained for. Most snakebites happen when a person is going after the snake, which could include a snake handler. Also snakebites can occur when a person has accidentally stepped on it. The snake I saw was big, but actually the younger, smaller rattlesnakes are the most deadly. This might seem surprising, but the truth of the matter is the juveniles do not know how much venom to use so they use it all. The adult snake has learned to use just enough to get the job done and not waste it’s resources. 

The rattlesnake may or may not alert you to it’s presence with that famous rattle. If you hear that rattle then it is probably in a coiled, striking position. But like I said it may not even rattle. A seminar I attended said that this trait of rattling maybe getting engineered out of their bein. A snake rattling maybe attacked and killed by a farmer where if it did not rattle then they may never know that they are in the area.  The rattler gets killed, but the silent snake lives on and reproduces. That is called natural selection. It hardly seems fair, that the snake doesn’t warn you.

The first big rattlesnake I saw was in Las Vegas. I had a pretty good idea where on the trail it was after I heard screams and I could see up on the mountain where the hikers were fleeing. Even after the report from the hikers as well as tossing stones into the brush did not get the snake to rattle. Plus it blended in perfectly with the bush it was under which was basically right on the tiny trail. I did not see it until it was within striking distance and it scared the living daylights out of me, no rattle, no warning, but thankfully no strike.

If you are wondering if it might be snake season a rule of thumb to whether snakes maybe out is if you see lizards on the trail then the snakes are active as well. Snakes are cold blooded so at temperatures below 60 degrees they are slow and temperatures above 95 could kill them. They are most active in Spring and Fall and during the morning and evening. In the Summer during the heat of the day they would rather find a cool spot such as underground. So pay attention, watch where you step, where you sit, and where you put your hands. 

Back to the hike. As I have said in the past, the great thing about hiking this area is there are a lot of trails so that you can piece together the type of hike that you are up for that day. Today’s hike was moderate in length, elevation gain, and exercise. It provided great views of the surrounding terrain that included the hills and canyons of Laguna Coast Wilderness as well as Crystal Cove State Park, the mountains off in the distance and the blue tranquil Pacific down below. Great place to hike, keep an eye peeled for snakes.

Besides almost becoming a victim the other thing that stood out about this adventure was I met a young mountain biker and his Dad on a steep section of the trail. They were enjoying their day together out tackling the rolling hills of Laguna Coast Wilderness. The 10 year old boy was doing a great job. This was his last hoorah before having to buckle down and hit the books again as he began the 5th Grade. Good stuff! Good day.

Checkout the video of the Rattler that I almost stepped on.
Look how when it is not moving it resembles the nearby stick. But “That is No Stick! That’s a Rattlesnake!
“Everyone knew that you should never provoke a Rattlesnake, must less tie it in a bow. But that didn’t stop Judd. What did stop him was the rattlesnake.” – Demetri Martin

When I said that ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ was about profound experiences in nature having a close call with a deadly rattlesnake is not exactly what I had in mind. This is just a reminder that no matter how much we love nature, it does not mean that nature is going to love us back. When you are out in the wilderness, just like navigating life, you need to be aware, and with that awareness you can enjoy your experience in nature more safely and find that balance between our busy, crazy, hurry up existence and offset that with the beauty and adventure of nature. For more adventure and profound experiences join me right here by leaving a LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. For more spots to choose from please check out the menu above for many more outings throughout the West. Each is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Why not pick up some top quality Adventure Wear with the PBTA logo at SHOP APPAREL?

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

MOUNTAIN BIKING CRYSTAL COVE

CRYSTAL COVE STATE PARK

NEWPORT COAST

Activity: Mountain Biking

This blog is mostly about hiking, there is not a lot of backpacking in Orange County, but there is a lot of mountain biking, so this post is about that. There is some great mountain biking in the OC and Crystal Cove is a super spot with about 24 miles or so of trails that range from beginner to expert.

Crystal Cove State Park is the county’s largest open space with 2,400 acres of wilderness and beach. It is available from 6 AM to Dusk.

Crystal Cove is basically a coastal canyon with splendid views from up top, as well as from the ridges. Phenomenal visions of the magical blue Pacific and sweet views of Catalina Island reward those ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure.’ On a clear day San Clemente Island juts out of the ocean as a pleasant surprise since you don’t always see it.

The Park’s vegetation is mostly coastal chaparral some of which is pretty dense other spots are dry and rugged. In the bottom of the deep canyon is a wonderful grove of oak to provide some nice shade to an otherwise pretty sunny place.

There are big broad double track fire road paths that gain and loose elevation almost like you were on a programmed piece of gym equipment, but you are out enjoying the environment for a natural workout. Mountain bikers will get a good thigh burn climbing, and on the long descending stretches will really blast off, but be cognizant of the many hikers.

There are not as many single track trails, but they are fun and will leave you with a grin from ear to ear, as you weave like a snake, (by the way, keep an eye peeled for rattlesnakes), through the chaparral. When you’re doing all of this weaving just make sure you lean to the inside especially when there is a patch of cactus to the outside.

Crystal Cove State Park has a good community of nature lovers. Other mountain bikers are happy to provide trail information. Hikers are generous to step off the trail and let a biker by. Hikers and bikers alike greet each other with a friendly smile and a wave.

The other day I was winding along single track and a more advanced rider caught me from behind. I felt the need to push it since he was right on my 6, but he made sure to let me know to take my time, be safe, and that it’s all good.

Crystal Cove is a fabulous place to feel like you are out in nature and provides a little taste of wilderness, especially when you are down in the canyon portion with hills all around. If you think about it- that is pretty special when you are pretty much smack dab in the thriving metropolis of Newport and Laguna Beach.

That being said, the weekends can get pretty busy as this is a popular spot and with the pandemic it seems that hiking and biking are now one of the favorite activities instead of crowded gyms.

A cool thing about this area is that you can easily connect it to other nearby wilderness parks such as Laguna Coast Wilderness, Boomer Canyon, and Irvine Open Space which would then give you a net work of more than 50 miles of trail.

Thanks for joining my sailing and mountain biking buddy Steve and I on our mountain biking adventures at Crystal Cove, fun times to be sure! What a place to spend a couple hours, and as often as possible. I did not talk about individual trails, but if you go back and look at ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure- Orange County Hiking“ and review posts that concern Crystal Cove you will find pictures and stories regarding individual routes: No Name Ridge/Mach One/Boomer Ridge is one such trek, No Name Ridge/No Dogs/Moro Canyon/W. Cut Across/Rattlesnake/Red Tail/Boomer Ridge is another, No Name Ridge/Ticketron/Deer Canyon/Red Tail Ridge/Boomer Ridge Loop is a variation with some other trails mixed in. You can see the whole idea is there are a lot of different trails at Crystal Cove so you can mix and match trails depending on the difficulty you are seeking as well as how long you would like to ride. Keep in mind they are from a hiking prospective, but most of the hiking trails are also mountain biking trails. Conversely some of the popular single track mountain biking sections you will find hikers on them.

Hey do you like the logo performance gear in my picture? Need a technical sports shirt, hat, or face gator? Then virtually bike on over to SHOP APPAREL.

‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ seeks shelter from this crazy world of ours and some peace by experiencing soulful spots all over the West. Checkout the menu above for a compass pointing to Adventure. If you enjoyed this post then please LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW, and SHARE.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Fullerton Loop Trail

FULLERTON, CALIFORNIA

Activity: Mountain Biking (Also a hiking trail)

Distance 11+ miles, 900’ elevation change, duration 90+ minutes, rated Moderate

Date: December 29, 2019

Night Rider

It’s crazy to find a mountain bike trail, (which by the way also has hikers), in the middle of Fullerton which is OC suburbia. But the funny thing is the trail has a country feel about it and is set up pretty well to allow that feeling. This area is partially hilly and the trail goes through some places that you couldn’t put a house very easily so why not a trail? The trail skirts the back of neighborhoods, and incorporates some parks. The Fullerton Loop Trail is an eclectic mix- mostly dirt single and double track, with some sidewalk riding, asphalt, and even maneuvers around some equestrian trails, as well as railroad track. There is a little lake and some side excursions you could throw in.

We threw in just such a side trip. We headed up to a little peak that over looked the OC and even LA County. My sailing, and mountain biking partner Steve and I took in views of an awesome sunset which quickly went from twilight to plunging us into darkness.

Night riding is what we had come to this trail for, and apparently it is a thing here. In fact, we met more riders along the trail in the dark than we did during the day. It is a thrill ripping along on a trail in dim light, and limited visibility with the beam of your bike light reflecting on the dust particles thrown up by the bike in front of you, and your head lamp reflecting on the cloud of your breath, (we were riding in Winter), both obscuring your vision and adding to the excitement.

There is a nice mix of flat as well as hilly riding. Some of the ride is through barren land, some is through neighborhood streets, sidewalks and along busy roads. But the cool part is the night riding and the different aspect that it adds to mountain biking.

Because it is such a crazy sort of ride we got lost in the dark a couple times. We also lost each other once or twice due mostly to the lead rider concentrating on the trail ahead, the next bend, or tree branch, and not turning around to make sure he still had the other rider in tow. The other reason for the separation, and the second rider falling behind, was because… well… I wrecked on a steep, rutted out section. The problem is I tried to take it easy instead of yelling, “Yeehaw!” and throwing caution to the wind. You might think that taking it easy on a difficult section, if you don’t want to wipe out, might be a prudent thing to do, and you- like me would be wrong. I guess you just have to commit. But instead… I started hitting the brakes to slow down and I started skidding on the steep hard pack, which had a light layer of dust on it making it slippery. Once the back tire started going a little sideways I hit a rut then it was it over. A little flight time, a muffled yelp, and I landed hard right next to a cactus patch. (Key word is “next to“, so it could have been way worse.) So besides a couple of bumps, bruises, and a little bloody finger print on my cell phone from slight road rash… I called Steve to “stop”. Dusted myself off and I was good to go. All part of the Adventure.

Steve checks the route as soon we would be in the dark.
California Sunset sets up mountain bike night ride
“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, throughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow what a ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson

Thanks for joining Steve and myself as we were “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure“ in the dark, on a bike and not always in control, but perhaps that is part of the adventure. Obviously on this ”Night Ride” I did not quite find that balance that I seek, lol. Please take a moment and COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you happened to have ground in grass, dirt and dried blood stains on your favorite shirt don’t fret just go to SHOP APPAREL and pick out a new high tech, moisture wicking, performance shirt with the PBTA logo. There are many adventures categorized by area in the menu above. Find some that inspire you and go out and grab some nature by the horns. (Not literally… bison are not as adorable as they look.) Each location is it’s own website and needs to be Followed separately.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

$Million$ Dollar View – Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Boat Road/Boomer Ridge Trail/Emerald Canyon Loop

Activity: Day Hike

Date: July 7, 2019

Distance: 8.5 miles, 1,632’ elevation change, 4 hour duration, rated Moderate

This particular hike in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park was all about the view, location, location, location as they say in real estate.  This real estate has a million dollar view, with a striking vista of Main Beach in Laguna, but really all of Laguna and beyond.

I started my hike late in the morning and the summer air was cool in the 60’s due to the marine layer that burned of within an hour.  This whole area of different trails rambles through rolling hills and canyons.  They are all somewhat similar and they are all really nice.  But it is always fun taking a trail for the first time. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is a great place for a hike and as a training ground for other more strenuous hikes.

When I was researching what hike I wanted to do one site actually called this hike ”strenuous” and also pegged it at another thousand feet of elevation gain.  While this hike has some mileage to it and a couple fairly steep climbs it is definitely moderate.  I think some people measure all elevation gains not just from the low point to the high point, and this hike is different in that it has two different climbs and descents.

This whole area has great hikes, but Boat Road has a stunning view that makes it a must do.  Make sure that you take the little side trip to Spur Ridge, (refer to the trail map), which has great views and a commemorative bench to Joseph R. Sweany.  Sit down take a load off and take it all in before getting back on Boat Road and heading back down.  I guess it is boat road because I could see plenty of sailboats on the horizon, as well as motor yachts anchored in the coves.

The trail head for this hike is in a neighborhood at Gate 14.

The trails in this area are shared by hikers, trail runners and mountain bikers.  I have not seen any horses in this area.

The hike goes down into the canyon which is greener, and has some nice oaks and other trees to provide some shade which is a nice break from the full sun.

Boat Road Pursuing Balance Thru Adventure (40)

Nice shot of Laguna Beach’s Emerald Bay

Boat Road Pursuing Balance Thru Adventure (41)
Panoramic view of Laguna Beach: from Left to Right: Arch Bch Heights, Downtown, 3 Arch Bay, Treasure Isl, Sugarloaf Pt, Main Bch, Diver’s Cove, Shaws Cove, Crescent Bay, Abalone Pt.

Boat Road Pursuing Balance Thru Adventure (42)
The hills above Laguna Beach are a great place to be “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure.” Join me again soon and LIKE, FOLLOW, COMMENT, SHARE. Find your balance enjoy a little adventure! Ya’ just gotta love it! Roger Jenkins Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

“Adventure is worthwhile in itself” – Amelia Earhart