All posts by pootle78

El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve

So with brother coming to stay, I felt we should get out and explore at least one of the famous mountain bike routes of the Bay Area. If you’re wondering why the image above, the location was chosen as it was near to Alice’s, so that he could sample their amazing baby back ribs of course.

A quick google revealed what we thought would be a reasonably challenging, yet do-able, 10 mile ride starting from Skeggs Point:

The ride plan was taken from this site, which has a lot of detailed information including gps track data, which I’d uploaded to my Garmin, as the advice was it’s pretty easy to get lost at this park. The park website is here.

After a reasonably flat start along Tifoni Trail then Fir Trail, the downhill along Resolution Trail started – which was single track and quite technical in places. At this point it became quickly apparent that the ride was going to be a little harder than we had planned for, both in technical and aerobic abilities required. All this downhill meant only one thing – mostly uphill on the way back!

Still, after only about 2.5 miles, we turned left onto El Corte de Madera Creek Trail and descended further toward the creek. A little less than a mile later, and with the realization that much more downhill was to come on the planned 10 mile route, we decided to modify our route to take an alternative trail back to the top, without the additional 500 ft descent/ascent.

At around 1 hour in, we turned around and headed back along Madera Creek Trail back to the Resolution Trail junction. Here we continued on the Creek trail for one epic climb back to the Parking Lot.

This was what we’d accomplished…

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This was of course, justification enough for some of these:

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Maybe next time, I will try to conquer a longer route. Watch this space….

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Ed R. Levin County Park to Monument Peak

After a few weeks break due to visiting relatives and busy schedules it was good to get back to hiking.

We decided to push ourselves to a slightly longer and more intense hike, so headed to Ed R. Levin County Park and aimed up towards Monument Peak.

This meant an early start since we were aiming for a reasonably long hike, and knew that shade wouldn’t be something we’d get much of here. Most of the parks in the east bay are exposed, with very little in the way of tree cover, meaning that it is best to hike in this area either in the early morning or the California “winter”.
We set off early enough to allow for a Peet’s stop of course, and still arrived at the park gates a few minutes prior to opening at 8AM.

You can download a .pdf of the park map here.
We entered the park through the Downing Road entrance driving past Sandy Lake to the parking lot at the far end which has facilities (useful after the aforementioned coffee stop).

15.10.04 Endomondo data
Starting out heading north on Calera Creek Trail, passing the Hang Glider Landing Zone, we were in for a slow and steady climb turning left onto Agua Caliente Trail as we passed through 1000ft.
We were treated to fairly decent views of the bay although it was a little hazy in the distance.

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After around 2 hours, 2 deer, a cow and a snake later we reached the Monument Peak Road Junction. Here you really are treated to some great views looking both westward to the valley, and east to more rolling hills.

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East Bay HIlls
Having decided up front that we wouldn’t make the extra few miles over to Mission Peak we headed south and started making our way back towards the Sierra Trail Junction, but not before taking the short 0.4 mile trek to the Monument Peak at 2,594ft.

Monument Peak
A couple more deer and another cow later we picked up the Agua Caliente Trail which would take us almost all the way back to the parking lot, with some good views of the Hang Gliders hitting their LZ.

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We returned to the parking lot via the Tularcitos Trail.

It was a great hike to get the blood pumping while ascending those hills, and we finished our hike before the temperature rose too much.

Birthday Hike with Wife and Madonna

So, turns out the US was nice enough to have a holiday for Mrs M’s birthday this year, and she decided what better way to start the day than an nice gentle hike. Unfortunately actual Madonna was busy, so instead we chose to hike at Mt Madonna. We have been to Mt Madonna before, which mostly involved hiking in the clouds, so this time was quite different. Thankfully the trails are mostly sheltered under the canopies of the <insert correct tree type here, I’m not sure exactly what they are but they are big> trees, and with it being another scorcher of a day here in the Bay, it was a little cooler up in the mountains, and a perfect day for a hike. We set off early and collected our fearless leader D’Ivy [Dog Ivy, as opposed to our human friend of the same name, H’Ivy]. After a windy (that’s winding roads, not a blustery gale) drive up Pole Line Road from Hecker Pass Hwy, we reached the main entrance. Expect to pay $6 to the friendly Park Ranger Person, and then be on your way. We parked by the Amphitheater and made sure to start our various FitBits, watches and phones to record our progress.

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Setting off along the Upper Miller Trail, we joined Blue Springs Trail and continued to descend (much to Steph’s delight) to meet Pole Line Road. More shady downhill sections followed as we took BlackHawk trail along the creek (which, unlike its name suggests does not contain any actual water). BlackHawk Trail is only partially open, as landslide activity has permanently closed a large section of the trail after the junction with Contour Trail. This diversion means taking Contour Trail towards Ridge Trail, where there are options for a long loop (continuing to Sprig Recreation Area and the start of the Merry-Go-Round Trail), or a shorter alternative via Tie Camp Trail.

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Opting for the shorter route, as things were hotting up and we didn’t fancy the full extent of the climb back from 560ft, we continued our Hike along Tie Camp Trail,  starting at around 1000ft and winding its way slowing back along the ridge under the trees to intersect Merry-Go-Round at around 1400ft. Here the climb becomes a little more exposed… IMG_2192

After a half mile, we took Loop Trail heading south until it meets the cut-off, which was our only option at this point as the main Loop Trail was closed. After a short but fairly steep climb up Loop Trail Cut-Off, we reached Lower Miller Trail, and soon after the car park was visible again. Clocking just about 5 miles, and nearly 1000ft descent/ascent, we totally deserved a Stack’s brunch, so we set off back down the mountain and headed to Campbell to continue Wife’s birthday celebrations.

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Lindsay’s Notes: I would recommend doing this hike backwards, particularly on a warm day, as the later portion of the hike is much more exposed, so better to do this going downhill than to have sunshine and incline, and then the uphill hike will be nice and shady 🙂