Just another trip with my friends into the mountains, this time with a bunch of snakes, mosquitoes, treacherous switchbacks and a hell-of-a-good-time.
was a late start bikepacking in the Angeles National Forest. The heat was pretty intense, I had another mechanical not more that 4 miles into the trail. After our first section of downhill I saw what I think is my first rattlesnake that I almost hit on the trail as we were pulling into Millard campground. We quickly decided to keep going because there was a camp hobo that was super interested in our bikes. “How much do those bikes cost?” and, “Do those come with Low-jack?” We filled up our water reserves at the creek using my MSR hyperflow filter and took off for a less methie campsite.
We got to sierra camp off of Mt. Lowe road just before sunset. I was able to get some pretty stellar shorts of the city, the view while we ate dinner was pretty great. We all felt like we earned some sleep that night despite the fact we only rode eight miles. I cant help but think of the real bikepackers that could do what we did in a fraction of the time. I also got to try out my new 1 person tent (thank you MSR Hubba NX, the tent so nice I bought it twice.). Anna-maria told us that she was gonna call it an overnighter and head back the next day to hang out with a friend of hers in Pasadena. It was about 59 degrees, and I slept like a baby in my tent, with the ambient light of the city creeping over the edge of our bluff.
we decided that the heat was our worst enemy and tried to get back on to our bikes before the sun cooked us. Matt and I knew we had a big day of climbing ahead and very little water to do it with. We said our goodbyes to Anna-maria, and climbed, and climbed and climbed. From paved, to gravel, to dirt we creeped up to Mt Lowe trail camp. I salvaged some leftover water at one of the campsites in a half empty water bottle, Matt took it as he was pretty much out of water at that point. Anna-maria gave me what she had left, before making her decent, and I was even about to run out myself.
We continued up through the Mt. Lowe tunnel, and onto tarmac where we were met by a couple of mountain bikers. They kindly gave us some water and we shot the shit before saying our goodbyes. Since the first day, Matt had told Anna-maria and I about some mythical pie that was sold at the cosmic cafe at Mt. Wilson observatory, and I was saddened to see it was closed during the week. It didn’t matter though, I ate my instant ramen, downed about what felt like 13 gallons of water. I repacked my frame bag with a 64 oz. bottle I had salvaged from the prior campsite with the intention of not letting the next water stop go to waste. Matt poked around the observatory museum as I searched for a viable route back to the next camp that would give us more downhill than up hill. After Matt got his fill of the Hubble telescope, we set out down Sturtevant Trail which was probably the most technical trail riding I have done to date. Switchbacks, rock gardens, scree, logs you name it this trails got it. It was also unrelentingly steep till about the last mile. I took my first spill trying to round the corner of a switchback and ditched my bike, lucky for me my bar dug into the hillside and it didn’t go plummeting down the mountain side steamrolling me in the process.
After finishing the trail with a high five and exhaling for what felt like the first time in 2.6 miles and 2,403 ft of descending elevation, we found our selves at Sturtevant camp. At a distance, this place looked like it was swarming with mosquitoes. As we got closer we realized it was teeming with ladybugs! They were literally on every surface I pointed my camera at, it was amazing. Matt and I just ended up sitting in the chairs, taking in the sights and sounds. Due to the mosquitoes, Sturtevants might be a better location due to the ladybugs. Matt decided to cowboy camp and didn’t not bring a tent.
Unfortunately, the ladybugs did nothing for the mosquitoes, and despite Matt and my best efforts we were an all you can eat buffet. It didn’t stop us from having our morning coffee, and fueling up for what was to me the most fun day of riding of the trip. I felt like after Sturtevants trail the day prior this was a piece of cake, and went bananas. We made our way down the bottom of a canyon and proceeded to clime our way out of it via a old road with a 18% grade. After that luckily we were rewarded with a paved downhill into the suburbs of Altadena, but not before getting a burrito at El Patron. Job well done team, a very enjoyable trip Bike