Snow Ride in the Sierra

Vince (Portola Vince on MTBR) had asked me to take him on a tour of some of the trails off of Highway 108. I had planned on showing him Pinball (Older Report) and a few other assorted trails but the week before Jeff Boatman was bragging about riding the lower half of Pinecrest Peak trail… hmmm, I had to get some of that action. Turns out we did ride Pinecrest but we sure payed for it (Skip to the Pictures).
The weekend started rough with some RV problems derailing our travel in style camping plans. We wound up leaving Saturday morning in my van a little late but otherwise raring to go… except for the pouring rain which always puts a damper on my day.I met up with Jeff and Vince at a nice breakfast place called Papa’s New Roost in Soulsbyville then after some great chicken fried steak and eggs we were off. The rain wasn’t nearly as bad up past Sonora so when we started riding it was a light drizzle. Regardless the rain affected our choice of trails and shortened our ride a bit.


Unfortunately the few pictures I had from Saturday I accidentally deleted. We started in Twain Harte on the Flume then we climbed up Mt. Elizabeth to the fire lookout. We climbed all the way to the peak and climbed the fire lookout tower to enjoy the mostly whited out view.

After spending a bit of time at the peak we dropped back down to a fairly hidden trail Jeff call “Devil’s Slide�. So named because you ride it by pointing your bike downhill and sliding along on top of a thick mat of pine needles. The trail is super steep and I wound up walking a good bit of the start. After the first 1/2 mile and a couple turns the trail got very fun though. Almost all downhill with a ton of bermed Motocross and quadrunner cut trails. Conditions were amazingly good considering we were riding in the rain, the trail was sticky and had very little mud. There were quite a few places where the berms saved my butt though.
After dropping for quite some time we dropped onto a forest road which took us even further downhill before eventually turning uphill and then turning onto South Fork road and back to our parking.

At that point there was a break in the rain and I managed to talk Fiona into riding on the Flume for a while. We rode for about 3-4 miles in intermittent rain before turning back when the rain got a little too persistent. By the time we got back to the van my fingers were numb. We changed quickly and by the time we got rolling there was slushy snowflakes on our windshield. This didn’t bode well for our Sunday ride which was at a much higher elevation.

In Sonora we stopped at the bike shop and I got some much needed brake pads then stopped at the Diamondback Grill, a great little diner along the highway 49 strip. After grub headed back to camped at the Deer Creek OHV area which turned out to be a great spot to stay since it was completely deserted due to the cold and continuous rain.

Sunday’s story is best told with pictures.