Got this photo in my inbox today from a riding buddy out west:
Just a nice reminder to watch out on the trails for those random encounters with nature! Rattlesnakes are a pretty common sight out west, as I have seen quite a few in my time. Here in Ohio, rattlesnakes are not as plentiful, but they are out there, so keep your eyes open!
This photo got me thinking though, how many readers out there have seen interesting wildlife on the trails? What have you seen?
Just keep spinning…
Photo thanks to Chip Brent in SoCal. Check out his site here if you are looking to buy a home in the San Diego area!
San Diego, also known as the whale’s vagina. Also home to around 50 or so craft breweries. During my recent two weeks out west, I tried to find some of the beers that I used to really enjoy and cannot find here in Ohio. I also tried to discover some new beers to lust after once my trip was over. That was accomplished thanks to some friends who live in the quiet little mountain town of Alpine, which is just around 30 miles east of the city. Little did I know that Alpine was the home to one of the finest little breweries that is known to man. You might think that is an exaggeration, but you would be wrong. Enter the Alpine Beer Company:
Located off of I-8, on the main strip of Alpine, you will find this little gem of San Diego county. The brewery is split into two sections, which oddly there is a book store in between the two sides. The book store did look interesting, but every time that I was by the brewery they were closed, which was a good thing since I like book stores. Anyway, the first area that my friend and I walked into was the brewery sales area, which had a variety of Alpine Beer company goods, and also sells their beer directly via growlers and 22oz bottles, no sixers here.
After spending some time chatting with their friendly staff, with me basically pestering them to ship beer to Ohio, (Which was responded with, “Yeaah, that’s not going to happen”) my friend and I walked to the other side of the beer company, their brewpub.
This is where the magic happens, when it comes to beer. Everything that I had from them was delightful. Sometimes I overuse that word, but drinking their beer was downright enjoyable. First up was a bourbon barrel aged Russian imperial stout by the name of Odin’s Raven.
Odin’s Raven was an amazing beer. What I remember: The bourbon alcohol flavor hits you at the first sip, but then you are overtaken by malty chocolate tones, but not too sweet, and finishes off like a stout should. It also clocked in at around 11% ABV, which makes it a very heavy hitter. Definitely a must have from a company that is more known for their hop varieties.
Next on my plate was their Chez Monieux, which was a Belgian style Kriek. I have not had too many of this style to give a great run down, but it was a sour, tart cherry carbonated blast that had a dry wine like finish, which makes sense, since it was aged in wine barrels. Good, but not normally my thing. I was glad that I had it though.
I finished off my tasting with their Alpine Ale, and also some of their Nelson IPA, both of which were again, delightful. Add these beers to the two that I have reviewed earlier in the week, and that equals one of my new favorite breweries. Be sure to check out their website here to learn more about this fantastic company, do not miss them if you are in the San Diego region. Big thanks to my friend Jimmy for taking me to the place (And letting me stay at your house!), and my friend Thom for the recommendation!
Well done Alpine!
Spent a solid two hours after work this evening back at Mission Trails regional park. This is one of my favorite places in the San Diego area, only around 20-25 minutes from the city proper. No excuses for those yuppie surfer types on how far away the mountains are. Yah bruh.
One of my favorite hikes in the park is the climb up to North Fortuna peak. Not the highest mountain in the range, but definitely the most secluded, and one could argue the most difficult. Most folks head over to Cowles mountain, which at 1591′ or so, is the tallest peak in the city. Two facts here: 1. Cowles is pronounced “coals,” and 2. Cowles mountain is higher than 8 different states’ highest points. Amazing right? Thought you might like those.
Anyway, I started my hike at the grasslands parking area, which dropped me into one of my favorite trails, Oak canyon. Rocky does not even begin to describe it. Here is a small taste:
In the rainy season, this canyon is green beyond green, with many different pools and waterfalls that are a pleasure to see. No joke. After this favorite trail, it was on to one of my least favorite parts of the hike, what I like to call the wall.
This climb, going up to the saddle between North and South Fortunas, is like climbing a loose granite gravel service road, that at points decides to go straight up. Not the most technical climb in the world, but quite the workout on your legs. I climbed this road once on my mountain bike a while back. That day was one of the worst of my life.
Once climbing that horrid piece of tilted Earth, you start your final climb to the summit, which is a narrower dusty trail that gets only a quarter or less of the traffic of nearby Cowles mountain. I like Cowles, but being alone on Fortuna is pretty amazing.
At the top, amazing views all around, views down into Mexico, the Pacific, downtown, out east to the Cuyamacas, etc. On a clear day, it is something to see.
After hanging at the summit for a bit, I loaded my camera gear back into my Osprey Talon pack and headed back down the trail. Once back in the canyon, the lights were getting dim, so I alternated hiking with trail running to make it back to the car before dark. Total mileage of around 3 or 4 miles I would guess, and a total of 2 hours hiking time. Such a great hike, and so close to the city. One of my favorites…
While out and about yesterday in Ocean Beach, I spotted this beauty chained to a post outside of a local establishment. I love to see bikes like this getting some action. Well done San Diego high wheeler!
Now if only Surly would build one of these!
Just keep spinning…
Taking a different route than normal, but due to my job sending me west, sans bike, I have been exploring with my shoes. Hiking is a great way to get out and about, but unfortunately it only makes me want to ride a bike even more. You can cover so much more ground on a bicycle than by walking. Anyway…
After my shift at work, I loaded my Osprey Talon pack with my camera and some essentials, and headed down to a relatively familiar nearby Rose canyon to explore a bit. I had ridden this particular canyon around 4 or 5 years ago, but since I was without a bike I laced up my New Balance Minimus shoes and off I went. The canyon is nice and wide, with homes perched on the very top of each side. This is very unusual for this Ohio guy to see houses like this. A rail line runs down the middle, and quite a few trails are sprinkled within the area. I wandered around for about 3 hours or so, and decided to call it a night. Lots of good pictures with my camera, but they will have to wait to be uploaded.
I plan on hiking a few different trails in the area that I used to haunt over the next week, if only I had a travel mountain bike… Now that is a thought.
Around six years ago, I had my first taste of Stone Brewing Company. I had just moved to southern California, and my weak beer palate was just beginning to dive into some of the more flavorful beers on the market. Then I was introduced to a beer called Arrogant Bastard Ale, and down the rabbit hole I fell. Stone has been one of my favorites ever since…
Enter their Ruination IPA. Called “Ruination” due to the fact that after drinking this beer, you will have an altered view of beer and how it should taste. A word of warning: If you have never liked the flavor of hops, or do not like beer outside of the norm, this is not for you.
This beer is bold, and amazing. Once you crack open the bottle, the smell of hops tickles your senses. Pour it into your favorite glass and the appearance is very light, almost looking like a “normal” light beer. Once you start to drink it though, those hops knock you back to reality, making you realize that you are drinking a quality brew. Other flavors start to make an appearance as well, like grapefruit and a touch of pine, but mostly what you are going to get are hops. This makes complete sense, due to written on the bottle, “100+ IBUs.” That is big. This beer is also 7.7% ABV, which packs a punch. One big bottle is really all that you need. Luckily, as you can see from the picture, those big bottles fit nicely in your bicycle’s water bottle cages.
Over the next few weeks, I plan on revisiting some of Stone’s other offerings, check back for that, and if you see any bottles with Stone written on it, definitely check it out!