Saturday, September 24, 2011

Montecito Trail Foundation Fundraiser ride 9-24-11

Every year the Montecito Trail Foundation sponsors an annual fundraiser, and many different groups of people set out to explore the frontcountry. There were three different groups of riders doing different trails, and hikers and bikers. I chose to go on what was considered the most ambitious and technical of the trails. which went up the San Ysidro to the McMinnamee, down the Girard, and back over the Old Pueblo.

The day was extremely overcast, so there was no view, making what otherwise are steep drop-offs down canyons and an ocean overlook into a hazy trail surrounded by a cotton wool cushion of maritime fog. But that was nice, actually, it was cool and pleasant.

Length: 6.4 miles
Duration: 2.5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate, with most of the trails well maintained by the MTF. Many sections need trimming or brushing, but there are no trail hazards. Lots of single-track and steep ascents and descents, lots of sections where the trail is an exercise in mindful riding, scrambling over rocks.
Altitude gain: 1290 ft
Grade: III

View MTF Fundraiser Ride 9-24-11 in a larger map
 Tobe snacks and waits, as the riders arrive and tack up and get ready to assemble.
 The first area is a eucalyptus forest, lots of leaves underfoot, wide trails and easy to ride and chat with other riders.
 But soon we hit the mountain trails, and see many examples of stonework reinforcements like this wall that the MTF is responsible for.
 This bridge is much older, I would guess it dates back to the 1920's.
 The Hot Springs used to have a big resort, and this structure that looks like a forgotten temple is apparently one of the few things left after the Coyote fire burned it to the ground in the 1970's.
 Most of the trail is clear and open, but all of it could use trimming of overhanging branches.
 Ordinarily this would be an overlook from which we would see the islands off the coast, and a view of the city below. Not today! It is entirely a fog blanket obscuring any view.
So there didn't seem like much point in taking a lot of photos, I concentrated on riding and so did Mr Mule.