News from "the Yuma Chapter": by Ron Colombo
2/22/13: John and I rode on the bombing range Tuesday and covered new loops off the Capriano Pass then went North to Legirta and back. 65 miles. We plan our last ride next week.
2/27/13: Last Yuma Ride: J.Cox and I rode new sections to Mittry Lahe and found several sections of single track (about 2 miles). We covered 52 miles. The single track was very interesting but john says he will never ride it again. Some people just do not have a death wish. See you at the May club ride.
Middle Creek Outing Report: by Chas Moser
Well its about time. After four years of trying, Chas finally organized a successful outing at Middle Creek, although only three people showed up!! The weather and trail conditions were just about perfect. A few wet spots, a little snow and ice at the higher elevations, but otherwise the trails were in excellent condition with very little dust. The daytime temperatures were in the 60's to mid 70's. All three of us arrived on Thursday and camped in three adjacent sites. By Saturday, the area was full to the brim with all 26 sites taken with several camping out in the staging area. Even though the staging area is designated as day-use only, the Forest Service folks allowed them to stay. Likewise, Penny Pines further up the twisty Elk Mountain Road was full as well. One reason for the large turnout is due to the fact that Stonyford, for the most part, is still closed because of the recent fire.
Friday at 10 AM, after the morning chill was gone, new member Jerry Karr, Jerry Stober and Chas departed on a 45-mile ride that turned out to be fun-filled and invigorating as well as perplexing. One of Chas' goals was to find Trail 6 which, among other things, is the beginning of the "corridor" over to Stonyford (Fout Springs). The group started out by crossing Middle Creek several times, which fortunately was quite low, and climbed up the infamous and challenging Sled Ridge, then on to the Deer Valley campground. Four years ago, Chas had met Roger Jacobs at Deer Valley campground so that Roger could reintroduce him to some of the wonderful trails in the area, one of which was Trail 6. Chas remembered that the Trail 6 trailhead was about 1.5-2 miles east of Deer Valley. The three of us left Deer Valley on a single-track (Trail 7) in the quest for Trail 6. At mile two, Chas found a jeep road that he was convinced led to the correct route. The road ended about a mile later at what appeared, at least to Chas, as an old overgrown trail. Two of us attempted to start out on the "trail". After a lot of work, we gave up and turned around. From here we took trail 7 east for several more miles to French Ridge. We turned left onto a dirt road, following French Ridge for several more miles. On the downhill north side, we ran into long stretches of extremely slippery ice. Chas checked out the last (for us) ice patch and decided it might be getting a little too steep, and therefore decided to turn around. The ice was so slick that the rear tire couldn't find enough traction for any forward motion. The other two carefully hoofed it down to give Chas' bike a gentle push, which was just enough to attain the needed momentum to make it out. When we got back to Deer Valley, it was lunchtime. Jerry Karr, the only one of us that wore an enduro jacket, removed his jacket. His jersey underneath was so drenched with sweat that he had to take that off as well to wring it out. Needless to say, he was one tired puppy. After lunch, we rode more single-track, passing through Penny Pines, then eventually back down Sled Ridge, across Middle Creek and back to camp. About half-way down Sled Ridge, we stopped for a well-deserved rest when Jerry Karr exclaimed, "I didn't realize that this trail was so steep, especially on the way down". Friday evening, Jerry Stober offered to treat us to pizza with a hot chicken wing appetizer at the quaint little town of Upper Lake. Jerry Karr bought a pitcher of beer and Chas provided transportation in his luxurious Dodge Sprinter. The pizza was as good or better than any of recent memory. The thin-crust pizza with everything was cooked to perfection with an abundant amount of the various toppings.
Saturday AM, we were all a little stiff and sore. Since this was Jerry Karr's first "real" ride in a long time, he didn't want to push his luck so he decided to go home Saturday AM. Jerry Stober got a call regarding a potential job opportunity on Sunday and he also didn't want to push his luck, so he also left Saturday AM. Chas, being somewhat bullheaded, was still bound and determined to find the trailhead for Trail 6. Against the admonitions of Jerry and Jerry, he promised to stay off the single-track and ride only on dirt roads. So Chas set off by himself and put on about 30 miles or so, checking out various trailheads, again staying on the dirt roads. Exactly 1.6 miles past Deer Valley campground, Chas came across a well-marked sign indicating the beginning of Trail 6!! The trio the day before had crossed over this narrow road without realizing that it led to Trail 6, as the sign was not visible from the single-track trail that they were on but was only visible from the road. In any event, Chas took the narrow jeep road for about two miles to the actual trailhead, where he stopped and had lunch. As he was finishing lunch, three riders approached from the same direction on their way to Stonyford. They asked Chas if he would like to join them. Their plan was to check out some of the trails that were not burned out on the SW side of Stonyford and make a big loop, including Trail 37, on the way back. Since this was Chas' plan in the first place, he said that he would love to join them. Talk about a super ride. We got over to Trail 4 and, as it was climbing up towards Goat Mountain, we started running into snow at about 5,000 feet. The snow eventually became impassible, therefore the group turned around to complete the large loop. By the time Chas got back to Middle Creek, he had ridden 80+ miles for the day.
Middle Creek is a must go-to place for TBSA. It offers over 135 miles of superb single-track trails, and some trails are also accessible to ATV's, as well as the numerous dirt roads. Plus it is within easy driving distance from Sacramento. From Loomis via Hwy 16 out of Woodland through Capay Valley, it is just over 140 miles. The normal route through Williams is quite a bit farther.
Middle Creek Outing Photos: by Chas Moser