Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Devil's Punch Bowl

I heard about this "Devil's Punch Bowl" over a year ago. I did some research and found that at the time there were access issues. The trail from Ramona was closed as a result of injuries and issues with people drinking. The trail from Julian was still open but was about twice as long. This spring they opened the trail from Ramona back up under the management of This management requires you to have a $5 permit to use the area immediately around the falls.

I got the permit and headed out to the parking lot. There was a Ranger standing at the gate of the parking lot, which was already full, to check permits. We parked along the road and geared up. We headed down the trail, which I did not find as hard and steep as advertised. We even had some time for a photo op. The only bad part of the trail was the complete lack of shade until you reach the bottom.

At the bottom you are awarded with the first shade and a view of the falls. There wasn't much water falling this day.

The water was plenty cold, and felt nice after the heat of the hike. There are signs that tell you not to climb the rocks, but people still made a splash. I was a pain, but we did manage to put up a slack line across the pool. It wasn't very long before it came off the rock. Only Jeff managed to stand on it. All I had to show for my attempts was a bruise on the leg.

In addition to the natural views there was no shortage of Souther California girls.


Big Bear, Mountain Biking

Finally made it up to Big Bear Lake, CA with my mountain bike. I didn't have much of a plan, other than ride some single track. Based on my camping trip back in November, I knew I wanted to ride "Plantation", but I had no idea where the other good trails were.

I did some riding in town but the trails I found were marked no bikes. After my warm up ride around town trying to find a trail, I headed to the Big Bear Discovery Center. I bought "Follette's Local Trail Map 3.0" map to learn where to find some new trails. 

When nothing jumped out at me, I decided why not start with Plantation. At the top of Plantation, I saw the end of "Skyline Trail", still under construction. I was feeling the altitude on the uphill, but it was a fun ride down.

After Plantation, I looked at the map again and spotted two trails starting at Aspen Glen Picnic Area on Mill Creek Road. I ended up riding up and down Red Ant Canyon. It was a bit steeper and more technical that Plantation and a good last ride for the weekend.