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Pescadero Creek - July 5, 2009

Distance: 21.1 miles Ascent: 2541 feet Moving time: 2:14 hours

Due to conflicting family obligations, I didn't make it to the usual Sunday morning group ride. However, I was able to work in a ride later in the afternoon. I wanted to explore around Old Haul Trail to see if it could be included in a long future ride. I headed over to the Old Haul trailhead at Wurr Road in Pescadero Creek park in San Mateo County.

I started riding southeast on Old Haul. This is a fireroad width route through the forest. It is a former rail bed for a train that was used to haul lumber to the mill, hence the road's name. Since it was a rail route, it means that the grades are not too steep. I was able to maintain a pretty good speed as I zipped through the forest. I noted several side trails as I rode for investigation on the way back. I went past the Iverson Trail junction that leads into Portola Redwoods State Park and rode to the end of Old Haul. The road actually continues, but it is blocked by a gate at a bridge about a mile past the Iverson junction. The construction of the bridge is just being completed (there is still lumber on the ground). A sign on the gate indicates it is owned by the Santa Cruz Lumber Company, but it was interesting that the lumber was on the state park side of the gate while the bridge was beyond the gate.

Not wanting to cause problems, I headed back. I have been through Portola Redwoods before (see the Pescadero Creek description), so I skipped it this time. I took a right onto Bridge Trail and headed down to a bridge that crosses the creek and goes up the other side. I got to a section of a paved road with a sign that it was headed to the jail and that guns, knives, alcohol, drugs, etc. where strictly prohibited (it doesn't sound like they have any fun there!). I decided there were better things to do than visit the jail, so I backtracked slightly and headed up Tarwater Trail (note: this is not the trail to the Tarwater Trail Camp trail that was passed on the left side of Bridge bikes permitted there). Tarwater makes a loop, heading up the hill through the forest and into the grass lands before reaching its summit and heading down a delightful single track. Once back on Tarwater, I took the short Snag Trail through the forest back to Old Haul.

I continued back on Old Haul, passing some side trails that prohibit bikes. I veered right at a "Y" intersection and headed down Towne Fire Road. This heads down to a flat spot that crosses Pescadero Creek before heading up the other side. The creek is shallow here, but you may get your feet wet (not a big deal). I headed up to the Shaw Flat Trail Camp which had a nice view across the valley to the forested mountainside opposite me. I continued up until I got to a service road (Pete Town Trail?) with another sign about the jail, where I turned around in the interest of time. I roughly retraced my steps out to Old Haul and back to the trailhead.

This was a very nice ride. I was the only person on the trail the entire time even though this was the July 4 weekend. Old Haul as scenic, smooth and fast. Tarwater and Towne were very nice excursions off of the beaten path. I should have taken more pictures, but I was having too much fun just riding.

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