Hiking and a Carson City cycling map | NevadaAppeal.com

Hiking and a Carson City cycling map

Sam Bauman

Hiking in the Midpeninsula open space district above Palo Alto, Calif., is quite a change from the Sierra Nevada trails. The trails are mostly plain old dirt, not DG and rock.

And trails go from bright sunshine to murky cavern-like tunnels under thick foliage. One minute all you can see is a deep canyon along the trail, the next beautiful open spaces ranging for miles. Same old up-and-down, of course, but the trail conditions in the open space preserves are generally excellent.

We tried the Long Ridge preserve off Skyline Boulevard, the main road climbing the hills. It’s a tight-turning two-lane road, with bikers and motorcycles galore. We drove from Mountain View for about 30 minutes to the Grizzly Flat parking area.

The Flat is part of the Santa Clara County Park system, not a section of the Long Ridge area we elected to try. From the parking lot to the Peters Creek trail is about a mile, starting downhill but then rising.

Another mile and you reach a Buddhist preserve along a pond fed by a spring. The path is barred by a gate there asking visitors to stop. But there is a thin trail winding along the pond and the Buddhists don’t mind if you take that trail around the lake and past their low, dark buildings.

From the Buddhists’ area you move to Long Ridge Road which borders Portola Heights Road for several hundred feet. A loop takes you around a mysterious house tucked away near the trail. Then a long, steep downhill returns you to Peters Creek Trail and back to the parking lot. It’s about 5 miles in all, not terribly strenuous, although that last downhill was hard on the knee, which hasn’t completely recovered from November surgery.

Lots of flowers last weekend, the brilliant yellow-orange California poppies lining trails and scattered among the tall grasses.

We missed the early morning fog rolling in from the Pacific and the glowing sunset, however, because of a late start.

The parking area is about 3 miles north on Skyline Boulevard from its intersection with Highway 9.

— For bike riders

Muscle Powered: Citizens for a Bikeable and Walkable Carson City will publish a bicycle route map and safe cycling guide for Carson City. The map will be available by the end of this month.

“We noticed how many other towns throughout the country have bicycle maps,” says outdoors woman Anne Macquarie, project director. “They’re really useful both for locals and out-of-town bicyclists, so we decided we needed one for Carson City. This is a good town for bicycling if you know where to go and how to ride safely.”

The map will show bicycle routes through town, off-road rides and mountain biking trail heads. Safety tips offer experienced riders a chance to refresh riding skills and novice bicyclists a lesson in safe bicycle riding.

Thanks to funding from the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety, Carson City Parks and Recreation, and 22 local business advertisers, Muscle Powered will be able to distribute the map for free through local bicycle and sports stores, advertisers’ businesses, city offices and other locations.

The map was designed and printed using local businesses and talent. Gnomen, Inc. a Carson City resource analysis and mapping company, prepared the map; Jenny Mauldin, a graphic design student at Western Nevada Community College, designed the layout, and another WNCC student, Crystal Brown, took the cover photograph.

Muscle Powered, a Carson City nonprofit organization established in 1999, works to make Carson City and northern Nevada communities more “bicycle and pedestrian friendly.”

— Two hundred and twenty days after Mammoth Mountain kicked off the 2002/03 season, it comes to a close after operations on June 15.

The long season can be attributed to heavy snowfall in December and spring storms throughout April and May that dumped over 9 1/2 feet of snow during what is typically Mammoth’s spring season.

For the last week, Mammoth will have three lifts open (Broadway Express, Facelift and the Upper Panorama Gondola) providing access top to bottom at the Main Lodge. The base depth is currently 3-5 feet of machine groomed and spring snow.

After a short break in the action, Mammoth will reopen for summer operations June 27.

— For the 2003/2004 season Diamond Peak will replace its Crystal Quad chairlift with a new high speed detachable lift. The new lift will move skiers and snowboarders to the top of the mountain in half the time.E

Passes are on sale now at preseason rates for as low as $278.E For details call (775) 832-1177 or visit diamondpeak.com.

— For the ninth year, American Hiking Society conducted a nationwide search and has announced local Tahoe Rim Trail Association member John McKenna as the winner of this year’s American Hiking Society Volunteer of the Year Award for Nevada. The Volunteer of the Year Award honors volunteers for their tireless efforts to preserve and maintain America’s trails.

Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal Diversions Editor.