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Harvey Bear - May 31, 2009

Distance: 22.7 miles Ascent: 3236 feet Moving time: 2:33 hours

Since they had never been there, I took Ken and Don to Harvey Bear. We followed the same general route (with a few differences) from the route described on the Harvey Bear page, so go there for the specific details.

The weather was very cooperative today, with temperatures in the 70s. I expect the park will get quite a bit hotter as we move into full blown summer heat, but today's ride was very pleasant. In spite of the moderate temperatures, all of the grass has become brown and almost all of the wildflowers are gone. It also seemed like the grasslands were pretty well grazed. I suppose this serves a dual purpose of reducing the risk of brush fires and generates some extra revenue for the park. We saw cattle all over and lots of "evidence" that they had been all over. We even rode through a small herd, but they were reluctant to get too close to us.

I noticed a few differences from my first ride at Harvey Bear:

  • There were a lot more people on the trails. Hikers, equestrians, dog-walkers, mountain bikers and others. Everyone got on well, making room for each other on the trail. We saw several people multiple times and we all seemed glad to see each other. The equestrians were very polite (we stopped for each other). This was a good example that multi-use trails work as hoped.
  • There seemed to be less wildlife on the trail. While I was able to surprise a coyote on the trail, most of the animals were hunkered down. I think they were just avoiding all of the weekend traffic on the trails.
  • The double track to the top of the hill on the southern end of Mendoza Trail is now marked as "Not a Trail". There was another double track nearby that was similarly marked. There was also a new trail cut off of the southern end of Coyote Ridge that headed up the hill. I think they are working on a new trail, but it hasn't opened yet. This will be a nice addition to the park.

This was a good ride. We got in enough climbing, but the grade was not too steep and there was plenty of up and down to make the climbing less noticeable. Ken and Don enjoyed the Calaveras (ask Ken how to pronounce it!) and Valley Oak trails. They also agreed that these trails would be a good introduction to newer riders. They pointed out that beginning riders can handle most of the trails and will probably be limited by their own stamina. Due to the trail conditioning, this park might hold up well in wet winter weather.

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