Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Big West Fork Loop

It is such a satisfaction to finally finish a ride! Every time I have gone up West Fork, I have turned around for one reason or another. Not that I was even trying the same ride each time, but wherever I have been headed up there has always eluded me until today.

As usual, I saw real fishermen.
But it was the cartoon variety that I photographed today.

After I got past the 7 mile mark, and the road tilted up, I thought I wouldn't see people anymore. Beautiful tributaries, yes; but people, not so much.

I can't get enough of this stuff...

The next photo is of a place I never got to before. When heading up West Fork Trail (2n25), I hit snow and turned around. When heading up Redbox Rincon Road (2n24), it started to rain. I had a goretex raincoat, a long billed cap, wool socks, knee warmers, and I should have been fine, right? Not without gloves, I wasn't! I'm telling you, white boy be crazy!

We were following the power lines...

Notice how I said "we." That's because I ran into a couple on full squish bikes at the junction of 2n25 and 2n24. So while I thought I was being all hardcore, thinking I'd be all alone up there, all I was doing was catching up to a couple of mountainbikers who have almost two decades on me.

Maria and Jim were fine company.

Except for the part where Jim slashed his tire...

It was a great day up there, and I finally did the whole West Fork Loop (as I call it). Plus I met some compadres. The ride was not such a big deal, at only 4000 feet of elevation, but it felt soooo good.

Here is a picture of a tree:

That's a tree, all right!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What are you doing on West Fork?

Yesterday morning I headed out to the West Fork of the San Gabriel River. 11am is still technically morning, right? Anyway, I've been wanting to ride up to Angeles Crest Highway from there, so I gave it a shot.

The first six miles of 2n25 are fully paved and seem flat. Lots of folks were out there for a casual ride or to fish.

The graffiti is mostly close to Hwy 39.
Further off the road = nicer.
Some folks were just out for a ride...

There were plenty of people who combined the two activities. And others who thought walking next to the river was good enough sans bike or rod and reel.

If you zoom in, you'll see a pole extending rearward from the saddle.
This kid is taking Mom for a walk.
Even vintage bikes enjoy a little catch and release.

After almost six miles of false flat, there is a campground. Just after the campground the road tilted up and I stopped taking pictures.

These bikes are camping. Did they forget to bring people?

On my way back, I snapped a few. So I'll put them here--all out of order.

After climbing pavement to the top of Cogswell Dam, 2n25 turned to dirt. And climbed some more...

This is really 2n23, but it gives you an idea.
(NOT! That is WAY smoother than most of the dirt portion of my ride.)

Remember how I said it was a climb up to the dam? If you zoom in on the next picture, you can see that way down below is the water in the reservoir. Maybe that explains how I got all out of breath and stuff...

A totally new view for me.

So, after I rode to the very end of 2n25, I took 2n24 just a little ways. When I hit 2n23, I turned north. North is towards Angeles Crest, so that was good. The bad part was, I also turned down...

End of the line.

The reason 2n23 goes down is that Angeles Crest is on the other side of the San Gabriel River. The same river that Cogswell Dam dams. In other words, I lost almost all the elevation I had gained. And then came upon a briskly flowing river that looked a foot and a half deep at least. It did not seem wise to attempt a crossing.

I know these photos don't make it look treacherous...
...but I swear I thought I would be swept away!
This here is the real West Fork.
No pavement, no people...
...and I was positively cross-eyed!

Part of me is bummed that I didn't reach my destination. However, this way I get to go back!
: )