Chalk Bluff Outing Report: by Chas Moser
This outing for the most part was very successful. There were eight rigs present, including the DiMattia family, Robin & Glenda, Ron & Rose, John Cox, Dan Kelly, Bob & Bert, Keith & Vicki, and Chas. Larry Mason came up for a day ride on Saturday. The weather was very mild, especially up at the 5,500-foot campsite elevation.
On Thursday, Keith and Chas went on two great rides - one before and another after lunch. The morning ride consisted entirely of very tight single-track for which Chalk Bluff is renowned. They rode basically the entire 15-mile Excelsior Loop. For the afternoon ride, the two rode the recently expanded five-mile single-track loop right next to camp. They then explored some of the dirt roads northeast of camp and discovered a new route leading to a single-track trail which ended up paralleling Hwy. 20 going east. They then rode some interesting areas, including a ridge overlooking Lake Spaulding, Interstate 80 and Hwy. 20, followed by a steep loose uphill and a steep rocky downhill which turned into a nice long trail eventually ending up at Omega Road.
Friday included a ride that Chas will never forget. First as a preface to the ride: Chas has been searching for a particular 'hidden' trail several miles east of the historic town of Washington. On the map, the trail named the Doolittle Trail starts several miles east of Washington on the north side of the South Yuba River. Chas has been valiantly searching for this trail for years without success. Dan Kelly and Bill H. rode this trail a number of years ago without telling Chas about it, other than the fact that they rode it. After several years of coercing, Chas was finally able to get Dan to show him the 'hidden' trail, so with Dan and Keith in the lead followed by Chas and Robin they began their journey. The trail is a very precipitous, narrow, loose, shaley, steep climb. The lower section is very steep and goes basically straight up to some tight switchbacks intersecting with a ridge trail near the top. According to the map, turning right on the ridge trail eventually ends up on Bowman Lake Road just above (north) of Lake Spaulding. When the group finally arrived at the trailhead location, Dan exclaimed (professed) "I can't seem to find the trail - - (long pause) - - just kidding Chas, now stop crying". The actual trailhead was barely perceptible from the jeep road but as the group proceeded, it eventually turned into a real trail. The trail gradually got steeper and steeper, and very narrow and loose as described. At one point, the rear wheel on Chas' bike slid off the edge of the trail causing the whole bike to slide a short ways down the steep slope. With a lot of strenuous effort and the aid of a tow rope, Robin and Chas were finally able to pull the bike back up on the trail. Out of breath and with trepidation, Chas continued on. A short time later both Chas and the bike went off the edge for the second time. By this time Dan and Keith, after almost reaching the top, came back to check on the two missing riders. The four of us extricated the bike, getting it turned around in the process, and proceeded back down to solid ground. Chas was embarrassed, but nevertheless relieved to make it back safely.
Chas took Saturday off (to go home) to visit with his son Jeff, who had flown in from Portland to Sacramento for a one-day family visit. Missed the Potluck - - but hey, that's life. The DiMattia clan had a great time riding on many miles of Chalk Bluff single-track plus excursions on the dirt roads behind camp. Ron Colombo, John Cox, Larry Mason and Bob Smith did a fun road ride up Bowman Lake Road in an exploratory search for new trails. (Ed.Note: On Saturday, the Ladies of Camp went into the town of Washington for lunch and "shopping".)
On Sunday, Keith and Chas went on a very enjoyable 53-mile ride basically following the power-line trail to the Dutch Flat Forebay lake just above Dutch Flat, then making a big clockwise loop which did include some fairly well camouflaged single-track, then lunch at the broken bridge over Steep Hollow Creek, then continuing on through the Red Dog-You Bet area, where they searched for long lost trails but found everything pretty much posted closed, then by Deer Creek Forebay lake and back to camp.
Chalk Bluff Outing Photos: by Chas Moser, Keith Hepler and Vicki Hepler
(Click here for Part B)