Sunday, January 01, 2012

Activity at the Top of Risinghill

Theo sent  this email yesterday and wanted to share on the blog:

"I am freaked.  Three suspicious instances occurred since I last communicated with you: (1) I was sitting at my dining room table and saw a guy taking a photo of my house.  I ran out and confronted him.  He said he was just hiking.  He was there with another guy.  They said they had hiked over from Millard Canyon.  Two white guys.  They actually seemed innocent enough, but I don’t like people taking photos of my place.  (2) Yesteday I saw an SUV coming down my driveway as I was coming up.  He was in a hurry, avoided eye contact, and sped past.  Today I noticed that one of my ladders is missing from my backyard.  (3) Marina (my neighbor) said she saw a couple of guys taking photos yesterday of the trail near my house.  They said they were scoping out bike trails.  She said that routinely cars will come up here and drop off several bikers, then go back down.  When she engages them they are rude and express a sense of entitlement.  Holy cow!  What is going on?"



Anonymous said...

I have to comment here. This is lengthy, so please bear with me...

Before I moved up here, I used to hike along Brown Mountain many times, and it was almost always serene with no traffic. It became one of my top two favorite hikes in The Crest. Now, it is overrun with bikers from all over the place. I have no problem with them as most are cordial (although some are just plain a*******). But, I can't believe how many people have "discovered" the canyon trails since the Station Fires burned everything down. It's like they've had an epiphany of sorts. I know since people can't access Millard Canyon via the campground, they venture up Brown Mountain and find a "new spot" to explore. That's great, and I'm happy for them – especially those who appreciate nature. I, after all, discovered Brown Mountain for myself about ten years ago deciding to take the "trail less traveled". I was one of so few back then. And I never knew the Meadows existed until I was looking for a home in Altadena. Now, it's a smorgasbord, and the tranquility is disappearing.

I, too, have seen hikers and bikers traversing through The Meadows' roads to access the trails. Again, that's fine if that's ALL they're doing. Otherwise, we may have to be on the lookout now as these mountains are no longer as intimate as they once were regarding human population. And with 2 zillion dollar La Vina next door, who knows...

Anonymous said...

I would argue that most people hiking, photographing, riding, etc. are, in fact, innocent and well intentioned. Greeting these people in a friendly manner would doubtless go farther than accosting them, and might even foster a sense of mutual respect between casual trail users and residents. (My thoughts, anyway...)

My significant other and I are both professional mountain bike racers, and use the trail access on El Prieto Rd and Rising Hill Rd to get from our home on lower Canyon Crest to the trail network above (say hi and wave if you see us pedaling up through the neighborhood)

The comments above regarding the recent influx of mountain bikers are well taken, and we find ourselves grumbling about the irresponsible trail users who leave trash, skid marks and other unsavory remnants for us to pack into our jersey pockets and carry home. It's an inevitable consequence of the sport's growing popularity--there is a broader demographic of cyclists now, not just outdoor enthusiasts who happened upon fat tires, like we did in the early 90s. The same could be said of hiking, mountaineering, etc.

However, I am also an Eagle Scout... I practice proper trail etiquette, live the "leave no trace" philosophy, and work closely with CORBA and other trail maintenance groups on El Prieto, Sunset, Lower Sam, et al. My close circle of cyclist friends are much the same, and encourage new mountain bikers to ride responsibly.

Don't let a few inconsiderate trail users ruin your outdoor experience. We live at the gateway of a 12 million person metropolis... there's bound to be a few bad apples that get into our mountains.

Just smile, wave, pick up a few pieces of trash and enjoy the beauty around you. Everyone's mountain (home) experience will be better for it.

Anonymous said...

Here's where I get confused, though- you are 'professional mountain bike racers'. That's great. But our trail system here was not designed as a race track. It was designed for people, not bikes, and certainly not bikers whose only goal is speed. Walking along a trail enjoying nature, only to have someone come whipping past on a bike at top speed, forcing you into the brush at the side of the trail...? not much fun. And seeing the bikers skidding around the corners of the trails, making them much wider, flinging dirt onto the plants, and generally making the trails dustier and harder to walk on, is saddening. I understand riding your bike on the trails for the same reason people walk and hike - to enjoy being out in nature, see the sights, etc., but if the goal is speed, I would think there would be more appropriate places for that.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely correct, and I agree with all of your points. Lest there be any misunderstanding, these are multi-use trails—not race tracks—and I certainly do NOT condone unsafe speeds, skidding, cutting trails [I’m the one swinging a shovel on trail maintenance days, so it behooves me not to skid or cut turns], or forcing other trail users aside.

There are, in fact, appropriate venues for such riding. I only “race” at sanctioned events, on closed courses built specifically for cyclists. Forgive me if my previous comments lead anyone to believe that every time I swing my leg over a bike it’s with the intent of “racing.”

I apologize on behalf of the irresponsible people on mountain bikes (they do not deserve the title “cyclists”) who have offended any of the readers.