Remember the song: Laguna Mountain High, San Diego ? Me either, but it kept playing in my head for a little over four hours while riding in San Diego’s east county mountains during prime wildflower season at 5000-6000 feet up in the air. With grades submitted, I pulled off the Sunrise Highway a little before 9 AM, planning to turn the pedals for a while.
From the kiosk, up the old county road was my warm-up. Past Chico. Past Los Gatos. Past Agua Dulce. I decided to climb up the water bars in the direction of Rock 22, the back door way, but going around to run the rock gauntlets and take in that wonderful view.
I goofed the first set of rocks, making it through the second set, and then made my way down past the water tank and on over to that super sensational sweeping downhill.
Back up the old county road to Chico and then down into the meadows, my bike carried me.
Red Tail was my next destination, working my way across the meadow edge and on by the bottom of Gatos and on and on … and then up the 2-track and up some more, getting to the single track. The day was high and I was thinking of a Philly cheese steak at Abner’s
Down from Red Tail, I made my way over to Gatos, but instead of climbing up the gravel road, I went straight on the trail at the bend and quickly messed up that entry of the short section of rock garden. Dammit. My rock skills are lacking, I told myself, adding that: I need to get back east.
Anyway, I licked my ego wounds and stayed left, going the long way back up to the forest road. Then I went down it to Los Gatos and rode that roller coaster, hitting all the skinnies, too, all the way down to the meadows.
At the top, after riding the east side of the meadows, I went on back to Penny Pines, where I chatted with a few PCT through-hikers. Their day was high, as well.
I skipped refilling water, popping up on the Sunrise Highway and going down to Pioneer Mail.
Across on Pine Mountain to Champagne Pass, is what I did, feeling grateful to have that kind of trail and to be on this long of a ride in such a beautiful place. At this point, to note, I had seen 1 trail runner, 1 horse back rider, and 2 people walking sausage dogs by a trail head. That was it, as far as human encounters go.
I decided that I will eat an apple when I get to the pass.
Apple in my belly, it was time to go down.
Dropping into this little bowl, always makes me smile.
And then it was up to connect into Noble, turning left to ride Noble Top back over to Penny Pines.
Passing on adding water weight, I went back up to the meadows, going down the west side and around and up and back to my car. No doubt, long rides are good for my being.