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Whenever the opportunity presents itself, I try to ride trails that I have been on before. This type of exploration helps build my consolidate trail map and the exploration keeps things new and interesting. I did a bit of this and discovered why the trail wasn't used!

We headed to Grant, a place well known to us. There are various odd little trailheads that we haven't explored and today we decided to explore one of these. We headed up Halls Valley and just after one of the cattle gates there was a singletrack heading off to the left while the fire road continued up and to the right. This eventually got us to a stream bed (currently dry). After exploring downstream a bit, we headed up stream to see "what was up".

The compacted, visible singletrack began to disappear. We were game and continued on, only to discover that the further we went the trail became less visible, steeper and much looser. We weren't going to let these temporary annoyances dissuade us for our journey and we pushed onward and upward. Then it became very soft and crumbly and we were forced off of our bikes and had to continue on foot. How much worse could it get?

A bit worse it seems. Patches of poison oak started to show up. Then the patches grew in size and started getting closer to the trail. And over the trail. We danced around it as we continued to push our bikes upward. Then we hit patches that covered the trail from both sides and forced us to head farther up the hill to get around it.

After surmounting this, it was time for a very steep and loose section. There was almost no stable footing except for an occasional root or stone and the grade jumped up to about 40%. Forward progress ground to a halt. Ken found a long traversal route and I went up the hill sideways...2 side steps up the hill, lift the bike up, 2 side steps up... We finally found a flat spot to catch our breath. I did a reconnaissance and discovered what looked like a potential road cut another 50 feet higher. We made our way up and discovered this was the top of Halls Valley. Our hike-a-bike was over!

After all of that hiking, we decided to ride our bikes instead. We headed up to Antler Point to take in the view and see the remains of the hunting cabin that burned down. After a brief break we headed back down to re-hydrate and slather on TecNu in hopes of avoiding a serious outbreak of poison oak. Time will tell if we were successful.

I suppose the lesson here is that while some seldom used trails are hidden gems, others (like this one) are seldom used for a good reason.

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