Monday, December 6, 2010

Herbert Creek, Again

Last time I rode my bike up the Herbert Creek trail, I took a wrong turn and didn't get very far.  So I decided to try again.  Today would be about exploring all those spurs that I had spurned earlier.  And again, I didn't get very far.

Almaden Reservoir, with the Loma Prieta ridge in the background
The weather report has called for rain for days, but very little has appeared.  Lots of wind today, but little rain.  As I passed by Almaden Reservoir I had my raincoat in my bag, and was comfortable in my T-shirt.

Twin Creeks.  Well, one of 'em, anyway.
After Alamitos Road passes Hicks, it gradually becomes enclosed by woods.  The road steadily decreases in width from two lanes as it enters Twin Creeks to barely one lane (but still paved) as it heads up the river.

As I passed through, Twin Creeks was quiet.
The fork in Herbert Creek trail
At the fork in the road, I took the high road, the one I skipped in my earlier trip.  As you can see, the gate was open, almost inviting me in.  But that welcome didn't last long.  Perhaps 100 yards after this junction, I could see a set of cars parked all over the road.  Well, not cars -- trucks.  White trucks.  White pickup trucks are the standard vehicle around here, more numerous than people.

In this part of the world it wouldn't be unusual to see abandoned vehicles, but these trucks were obviously still shiny, and indeed there were people milling about. If I wanted to continue, I'd have to ride through, and I wasn't about to do that.

So the Herbert Creek trail, for which I had high hopes, didn't have much to offer.  I knew that the other trail ran into buildings after a few hundred yards.  But not having anywhere else to go, I headed in that direction.

Herbert Creek Trail
The trail was damp but not wet.  This area probably doesn't get too dry even in the summer, considering the moss on the trees.

A little ways up the road, there's a branch covering about 2/3 of the trail.  I remember seeing it there last week.  There's not enough room for a car to pass, so apparently no car has passed this part of the road in a week.  A motorcycle could make it, I guess.

When I got to the buildings I really did mean to pass through, but... well, they looked pretty well kept, and there were a lot of them.  They couldn't possibly be abandoned.

Just short of the buildings, there's a spur of trail that crosses the creek and heads up a ridge.  So having balked at the buildings, I tried that route.  Within a few feet it became clear that the trail had not seen recent maintenance, and that its grade meant it was a hiking trail, far too steep for a bike (or a bike ridden by me, in any case).  It headed southwest, diagonally up the ridge.  If it continues, it must reach the Loma Prieta ridge (after looking at some maps, this trail may just go up a ways to a barn, not all the way up to the ridge).  I was surprised to see that my Garmin device completely ignored this little side trip; I guess my hiking pace didn't register at all.

Eventually I gave up on that and headed back to the main trail.  Near the same position, another spur leaves the trail to the left, climbing up the opposite ridge.  I headed up that trail, but it comes very close to some mobile homes that are part of this little complex of buildings.  So I pretty quickly turned away from that, as well.

One last thing to check before I called it a ride.  On some maps, the trail that heads from the Twin Creeks area to the Loma Prieta ridge has a spur that reaches this Herbert Creek trail.  I think I found that connection, which takes the form of an overgrown trail, blocked from the main trail by a chain and several tree stumps.  So that seems to match up, but again this is a trail for hiking, not riding, so I wasn't going to be exploring that today.

All in all, very little new riding trail uncovered in this ride, although of course I found plenty of hiking trails.  I got up to about 1100 feet at the top, which was near the buildings.

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