Trail : Harkins Fire Trail to Whittmore Gulch
Location : Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve
Distance : 6.8 miles
Difficulty : strenuous, somewhat technical
Duration : 3.5-4 hours
Elevation : 1,400' gain/loss ; begin/end 400' ; highest point 1,800'
Ride type : Loop on fire road and singletrack
Map : available on site (recommended)
Date : 4 November 2006, Time 1300-1640
Comments : helmet required ! start in really steep then top onto near Skyline Blv. Stop for amazing view of Half Moon Bay, then lovely technical down through muddy forest. No water availabe on the path, so bring lots !
Overall : 7 from 10 point (definitely really good one)
We thought that we need a camel bag -designed for cyclist that allow you drink without stopping, so we decide to looking for outdoors shop somewhere near. We spotted REI at Mountain View which someone told the biggest store. The REI was great for such bargain stuff. They have backdoor room for things that been used or slightly damaged in crashing price. I was tempting to buy rucksack since I forgot where I put those bulky LoweAlpine. Anyway we bought camel bag and a light for Mark's bike. He thought he is going to cycle to work to keep him fit. And me ? hmmm I am polishing my basketball shoots !
We also find Sports Basement which give lots lots discount. I only bought Backpacker Magazine for their nice new walking routes in California. We were heading Purisima Creek Redwoods. We decided that the lower start will be best so we took highway 92 then 1 then left to Higgins Purisima Creek Rd about 1 mile from Half Moon Bay.
After a fast lunch we were straight to the business. The map for the cycling path was on the entrance. We choose Harkins Fire Trail as a start. The Guidebook said that it will a hard work to go up hill and I have to admit IT IS a hard work. My acid stomach complained with late lunch and soda drink created not really nice mixing. I was struggling for first mile. Mark even offered me to go back since I felt dizzy. I said that I want to keep going.
The next 2 miles was a grueling cycling up. I managed to keep my breath in pace, I am kind a slow starter. It worked ! Take it easy and just keep paddling.... On top near Skyline Blvd we had great view. It was worth to come up here. We sat watching the pines and Douglas fir. The Half moon bay clearly seen from here. Also I amazed with banana slug (Ariolimax) . They are second biggest in the world.
When we were starting the Jeep Trail Mark had to remind me about brakes. This would be quite daunting as we down the hill in several sharp bends. The path itself little bit muddy with tree roots might make your bike off the track. I found the right turn was my weakness, so I had to train several times where and when I turn wheel and swing my body away. It was so focus to keep going even in long dark forest. The hill was on the shade part, so when we were down we barely get the sunshine on the road. The Whittemore Gulch Trail was tricky as I had problem with sight.
We enjoyed the trail ! I would not recommended this route to totally beginner biker. The route was too technical and if you're not careful you will end up several feet down the hill. Anyway I had my muscles aching until today.
You can download cycling map here www.openspace.org