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Grant - October 4, 2009

Distance: 21.24 miles Ascent: 3799 feet Moving time: 2:56 hours

Ken and I went to Grant Ranch to enjoy one of the first hints of autumn. The air was crisp but the sun was shining as we headed out. Rather than follow one of our usual routes, I talked Ken into exploring a few bits that we somehow have managed to miss until now.

We started the ride by riding up Highway 130 to the base of Edwards Loop Trail. Shortly after hitting the dirt the trail started turning upwards. We were just getting into the swing of things and commenting about how few people were out when we saw a hiker. In a matter of moments, we started seeing several groups of 2 to 8 hikers coming down the hill as we went up. So much for being an isolated trail! As we got to the top of the climb, we notice a small singletrack, so we decided to explore a bit. This was a nice change from the fireroad, but there were about 3 places where the trail crossed places that had been torn up by wild pigs while wet and then dried into unridable clods of dirt. These were easily walked around. We continued onward and discovered two bikes lying on the side of the trail. There was no one visible and no tracks in the grass nearby. We assumed that it must have been nature lovers out for the day.

We descended on Heron and crossed Quimby Road and then continued on Heron to Dutch Flat. The climb up the north end of Dutch Flat has challenged us several times in the past, but today seemed very easy by comparison. We both made good time up the hill while avoiding the "I'm about to burst" feeling. We rode the length of Dutch Flat and turned onto Canada de Pala and explored a fun little singletrack before heading up to Hotel. Hotel is another good climb, but we did a pretty good job there too. After one or two very short hike-a-bike sections, Foothill took us to a 4-way trail junction. I rode the length of Manzanita only to confirm that it ends in a locked gate on a ranch. Looking at Google Earth, I think there might be a way to get to Coe on this ranch road if the gates didn't exist. We agreed that was a good ride for the day and decided to head back along the highway.

It was a great ride. I enjoyed exploring a few new trails and completing our traversal of all the trails in Grant. The weather was great and it was a huge improvement over riding in the hot sun or the rain as we usually seem to do. We got in enough hill climbing to satisfy Ken even without crossing the highway!

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