Friday, January 25, 2008

Look what I found in a box in my basement!

It's the first ever (and maybe still only) mountain bike guide to the Pikes Peak region, "Where to Ride Guide" by Rika Newton Moore, circa 1989. Inside you'll find lots of pedal clips, big Bell helmets and not a shock in sight. Interestingly, despite a surge in mountain biking in the 20 years since it was written, there are not many more mountain bike trails. The classics still stand: Captain Jacks, Chutes, Section 16. There are a few intriguing trails I don't know. Anyone ever ride Mule Creek near Woodland Park?


Teleken said...

I worked at Team Telecycle in Woodland in 89-91 and we helped her with this one and the 2nd edition. Mule Creek is great, but it crosses some private property now and you have to hop the fence. 6-7 creek crossings in Spring it can be a moist challenge. Also a little torn up by motos & ATV in the upper section.

We always laughed that the 1st edition had directions that were often tough to follow and we paraphrased "turn left by the tree and the rock."

Zen said...

Ahh 1989 and not a shock in site. Those were the good days of mountain biking. I was riding the Bay Area back then, trails were wide open, and it was a good place to be. Then I got fat and old and and depressed. Sigh. I need Dr Phil.

Zen said...

As Teleken mentions, Mule Creek crosses the creek multiple times. Even in dry years the creek is running all year long, so there are always water crossings.

It's a shady canyon so it holds snow and ice often from early November into May.

In a normal Spring (May - June up here) , the creek floods out portions of the trail.

And as Teleken mentions it crosses 120 acres of private land. It always has and was never a problem, but the current owners (a prominent Springs doctor I hear) fenced it several years ago (though their house is 2 ridges away). Various parties have attempted to negotiate an easement for years, and if they could get it, Mule Creek would be some 6 miles one way and connect Hwy 67 to Trout Creek Road and into the 717 trail system (though Mule Creek itself is posted non-motorized). But all efforts have failed and as far as I know, the issue is dead (for now).

The Trout Creek side sees some motorized trespass, but the Hwy 67 side does not. Legally it remains a dead end trail of less that 2 miles length one way from off Hwy 67.

There will be some logging on early stretches near the Hwy 67 entrance for several years as part of the Trout West fuels reduction project. Though the USFS doesn't anticipate going into the canyon itself, they are trying to get a spruce beetle (as opposed to MPB) outbreak under control before it reaches the canyon.

But the biggest reason for keeping bikes off this portion of trail is the Mule Creek Canyon is a spectacular show of wildflowers rarely seen in our dry region. The trail is narrow, and because the canyon faces North, the area is moist and vegetation is thick and tall. It's more like the Oregon Cascades or around Gothic than anywhere else I've seen at this elevation in the Pikes Peak region. Because of this lush nature, there many areas where passing a hiker would not be possible without damaging the resource.

But as a hike in July and August (especially in a wet summer year) it is worth the visit. Bring the sandals!