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Purisima Creek - June 13, 2010

Distance: 12.6 miles Ascent: 2,896 feet Moving time: 1:59 hours

Summer has arrived and it was in the nineties today. We decided to go to one of the cooler locations and headed over to Purisima Creek. Don and Anna were not available, but Mike (from last week's ride at Wilder) joined Ken and I for the ride.

We hit the trail pretty quickly after we got there, heading down North Ridge Trail. With all of the hot weather and recent trail conditions at other locations, I was surprised to find several wet boggy spots along the trail. We descended on Whittemore Gulch, enjoying the singletrack through the forest, the switchbacks, and the fast descent to the bottom.

At the bottom, we headed along the creek on Purisima Creek and then turned up the hill on Borden Hatch Mill. I was riding along thinking that it was not as bad as I remembered and then realized that there were some steep parts still ahead. Oddly, we say a ranger in a truck on the trail (this was the first time I had seen one up there) who seemed to like to sit in the middle of the trail. After regrouping at the top and taking a bit of a breather, we did a nice, quick descent on Grabtown Gulch and back down Purisima Creek.

We retraced our path, heading up Whittemore Gulch. The bottom part was steep but manageable and large middle part allowed us to find our own pace that took us to the end of the singletrack. For some reason, my mental toughness evaporates at the end of the singletrack and I usually have none left for the climb up the gravelly North Ridge to the parking lot. Today was no exception. I gutted it out, but I certainly did not enjoy it. It is steep at over 20% grade with short sections much steeper than that, but I should have been stronger. Oh well. Maybe next time (but probably not).

The good weather brought out lots of hikers. I don't think I have ever seen so many hikers in Purisima. There were lots of small groups of hikers everywhere (we didn't see any on Grabtown Gulch). Everyone (including us) was very polite and friendly, making a good example of co-existence of hikers and bikers even on narrow trails. Actually, it was nice to see so many people out enjoying the forest, especially the small kids.

We stopped for lunch and re-hydration (!) at Alice's.

I think it was smart to go to a cooler location today. It was certainly hot when we got home. It was better to "perspire rather than expire."

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