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Fremont Older - October 10, 2009

Distance: 17.68 miles Ascent: 3409 feet Moving time: 2:38 hours

I had a bit of time so I went exploring. I crossed through Fremont Older and exited from Rim Trail and cross Steven Canyon Road and went through the open gate directly across the street. This opened into a good size open space with a fireroad at the back. This fireroad heads up the hill in a hurry! I started climbing but quickly got to the point where I couldn't sustain the climb and had to start pushing up the hill. It was so steep and covered with loose gravel that even walking got very difficult. I had to watch each step and use the brakes wisely to keep from sliding back. I checked the grade after the ride and it peaked at 80%! Once I got past this steep section, the grade settled in a more manageable(!) 10-30% range. Ouch!

The fireroad turned into singletrack through the brush with slight ups and downs as it went along the top of the ridge. I stayed on the back side of the ridge to avoid the shooting range below (they were shooting today). This eventually opened onto a well graded dirt road that quickly provided a view over the Steven Creek Quarry. Going a bit farther on another dirt road took me to the Hansen (formerly Kaiser) cement kiln which was in full operation.

I turned right at the kiln and headed up a hill and along another ridge top before descending a singletrack trail/rain gully down to the bottom. The trail disappeared in one direction in a creek bed and a tangle of trees and brush. I found a deer skull on the ground in the creek bed. The trail headed into a thicket of poison oak in the other direction, so I didn't want to go any further. Even though I knew I was close to Stevens Canyon Road, there was no easy way to get there, so I back tracked the entire length of the trail I had come in on.

This was an interesting addition to the standard Fremont Older ride, but the effort was probably not worth it. There are some other trails up there that might go somewhere interesting, but those are waiting for another day.

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