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CA-39 - Open to Cars and Still Awesome

Old 04-11-11, 12:45 AM
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rallison
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CA-39 - Open to Cars and Still Awesome

Perfect day today for 39. The mildest weather that I can remember this winter/spring season. The wind up higher was even restrained. Bibtights were definitely overkill. Ended up being able to go short sleeve all the way to Angeles Crest.

The hills are getting green too. Only downside to that is that the bees are also out in force in a couple of areas.

This was my first ride up since they opened the road to cars to Crystal Lake, and I was pleasantly surprised. The traffic level, while existent, was not at all annoying. Speed was low (it seemed most everybody was out to enjoy the scenery, not to blast through turns), and traffic level was low enough that most everybody left me a ton of room while passing. Even got some thumbs up from motorcyclists - always appreciated. And, of course, the upper section above Crystal Lake is still closed.

Anyway, some pictures:









Above Crystal Lake and above the still-in-place closure:





Sheer cliffs:



Spot the bighorn sheep:



The top of 39:



Today was definitely the day for 39. Mild weather, beautiful scenery, bighorn sheep. Yes.
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Old 04-11-11, 01:00 AM
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FYI: Want to ride to Dawson Saddle? Yeah, that is still covered in snow. I had some extra time, so I took a little adventure and tried out the road:



I hiked through snow and occasionally rode (on the rare snow-less sections) for 3/4 of a mile on Angeles Crest, hoping it would eventually clear out. It doesn't.





Looks like Caltrans ignores the road for all of winter:



Where I finally decided that things weren't going to improve:





Those are my tire/foot prints. Thanks to the Speedplay coffee cleat covers.

The only thing promising I could see was that the last mile or so leading up to the saddle looked mostly clear of snow. However, to get there, you'd probably have to grind through another 5 miles or so of the above. So, yeah, wait until they plow it. I tried.

Finally, on top of the world:



Well, as long as top of the world is at 6800 ft.

My one caution: Watch out for rocks kicked down on to the road by bighorn sheep. That was actually an issue on my ride today.
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Old 04-11-11, 01:08 AM
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Awesome pics!
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Old 04-11-11, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Jed19 View Post
Awesome pics!
Thanks! Ever ridden 39? If not, do it. I think it may have become my favorite climb in southern California.
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Old 04-11-11, 01:22 AM
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Nice Bighorn Sheep pic! I had no idea those are up there! Another animal to keep an eye out for...
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Old 04-11-11, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by rooftest View Post
Nice Bighorn Sheep pic! I had no idea those are up there! Another animal to keep an eye out for...
I have been incredibly lucky actually. On this ride, I had two separate bighorn sightings (and by sightings, I mean less than 100 ft away from me). And, on my previous ride, a few weeks ago, I got to see a group of 6-8 easily climb up a ridiculous, snow-covered slope:



And that was right after seeing one dart across the road in front of me and climb up a sheer rock wall (and kick some rocks down at me).

There are an estimated 300-400 bighorn sheep in the San Gabriels right now (up from a low of ~100 not too long ago), so I still can't quite believe my luck. On the other hand, on both trips, I saw the sheep in almost the same place, so I suspect I may have seen the same group. Keep a lookout around a mile from the intersection with Angeles Crest.
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Old 04-11-11, 11:42 AM
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Thanks for sharing! What route do you take to get there?
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Old 04-12-11, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by knowledgdropper View Post
Thanks for sharing! What route do you take to get there?
I parked at the West Fork parking area along 39 and headed up from there. West Fork (1600 ft) is where the climbing becomes consistent.
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Old 04-12-11, 11:05 PM
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Awesome pics! I want to go this weekend, but I don't think I will make it anywhere close to where you got. I have to start from Arcadia since I can't get a ride so I have no idea how long it will take me.
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