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Fremont Older/Montebello Rd/Stevens Canyon - December 23, 2008

Distance: 28.8 miles Ascent: 4,423 ft. Moving time: 3:52 hours

The poison oak is just about gone, so it is easier to ride again.

We caught a break between rain and drizzle today with a nice cold (high 40's) overcast day. Since the forecast is for more rain, I thought it would be a good idea to get in some riding. I started with a quick transit through Fremont Older, riding up to and then down Coyote Ridge and then exiting the park. A short ride on Stevens Creek Road and a bit of trailhead location and parking consulting for a newbie with new fancy clothes and a new Nomad brought me to Montebello Rd. It had been quite a while since I had gone up this hill, so I had to refresh my memory by riding up. It hasn't changed, but I think the cold weather makes it much easier than riding in the summer heat. I found that wearing tights and a short sleeve jersey combined with the climb exertion was sufficient to keep me warm on the ascent.

The ride up was pretty uneventful. It is a bit frustrating being passed by the road riders on the way up, but they never seem to make it out to the actual trail. Once at the summit, I put on my jacket and dry gloves, had a quick snack and snapped a few pictures. I was the only person up there or on the trails at all.

Rather than coming down the "normal" way on Belle Vista, I decided to try something new. In spite of the number of times I have ridden Stevens Canyon, I had never been on the Adobe Creek trail, so I decided to try it this time. I rode down old Montebello Road (toward Page Mill Road). I had not been on this section either, so this was fun. The Adobe Creek trailhead was well marked, so I turned right onto this trail. It is a fireroad width trail, but it does not seem to be heavily used based on the lack of foot or tire prints (it has been raining, so only very recent tracks would show up). It started off pretty easily rolling through some grasslands. It suddenly opened up with a very nice view of the entire south bay. It was pretty impressive, so I stopped for a few quick pictures and then continued on. The trail then entered a hardwood forest area. It looked like all of the leaves had recently fallen as the trail and forest floor were covered with a red carpet of fallen leaves. At a low point in the trail where it crosses a gully, the forest was a beautiful mix of red leaves on the ground, bright green moss-covered trunks, and a brown canopy above. It made me stop and take notice. I continued on. At the bottom of a decent there is a false exit onto Page Mill Road (about 20 feet away, but fenced off and signed). You have to turn left at this point and gear down to climb up the hill. This will eventually take you to a paved road (lower Montebello Road, I think). I turned right here and headed down to Page Mill Road. The entrance seems to be a legitimate trailhead, but it does not seem to be marked as more than a driveway. Ascending a ways on Page Mill takes you to the Stevens Canyon trailhead, for the "normal" return.

Stevens Canyon trail was in pretty good shape. It was moist but firm and only a few puddles. However, I did keep my speed in check to avoid potential for accidents since I was by myself and it was getting dark and cold quickly. I was able to cross the creek without getting wet. This was good since the only thing that was a bit cold were my toes.

The ride home was uneventful other than I was out too late and it got dark. I had my small 1W LED light, so I mounted this and turned it on when I left the trail. It did a good job.

This was a good ride. I liked riding in the cool weather and exploring a new trail in a familiar park. I should have started earlier to avoid getting home in the dark.

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