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Wilder - August 30, 2009

Distance: 19.84 miles Ascent: 2652 feet Moving time: 2:25 hours

After several days of over 100 degree temperatures, we decided it would be wise to head over to the cooler trails on the coast so we went to Wilder State Park. After paying our $10 parking fee, we chatted with the ranger to see if Wilder is on the closure list or what it would mean for a state park to be closed. He didn't know (or wouldn't say) anything, so we were only $10 poorer. I did feel a small comfort in doing the right thing, but increasing the parking fee from $6 to $10 seems pretty steep.

The ride was great. We rode up Wilder Ridge from the bottom to the junction with Enchanted Loop, bypassing the Zane Gray climb we often do. The climb up Wilder Ridge past the stables and the dump was better than usual and I cleared all of the steep climbs except a small loose section near the top. From the junction, we rolled down Enchanted Loop and then climbed to the junction with Eucalyptus Loop, which we rode up to the picnic tables. After a short break, we climbed Chinquapin up to the gate. We descended Mailboxes to the bottom and noticed that most of the wooded stunts have been removed.

We exited at the bottom of Long Meadow and rode Old Cabin, politely passing two equestrians (quite nice) at some wide spots on the single track, and then rode the lower portion of Eucalyptus Loop. Rather than going to the end, we cut over onto Twin Oaks, a trail that we have somehow never ridden before. We rode to the end at the junction with Wilder Loop, and turned up the hill. We stopped for a few minutes at the vista to get a great view of the ocean and Monterey Bay on a very clear day. We proceeded down the trail to descend Zane Gray and retraced our entry path on Wilder Ridge to return to the farmhouse.

As a special treat, park volunteers were serving home-made ice cream and apple crisp or pear cobbler. We stopped and bought some for each of us. The ice cream was so good! The volunteer had hand-cranked a 5 gallon canister for 25 minutes to make the ice cream. It was a real treat and reminded me of making home-made ice cream as a kid. This was a great way to end the ride!

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