Rubidoux Views

These photos are views of Mount Rubidoux in Riverside, California. At a peak elevation slightly over 1,300 feet, Rubidoux is really an isolated hill, so the “mount” name is a misnomer, but on clear days it provides excellent views of the surrounding valleys and and mountains. Rising up out of the north end of the city, the hill had been a good place to hike since the founding of the city. A single lane asphalt surfaced road coiled around the hill and was used for vehicular traffic until the late 20th century, when it was closed to automobiles and motorcycles.

The asphalt road was decaying in multiple places, and required a certain amount of attention be paid to foot placement. Some people twisted ankles or sustained other minor injuries on the crumbling road. I figured the rough patches were just part of the “training” and I was never injured due to inattention.I hiked Mount Rubidoux for several years on the average of six days a week. I liked the quiet. There wasn’t much foot traffic when I typically ascended the hill well before sunrise, and I enjoyed the relative isolation. I don’t have a problem with being alone, so I found it very relaxing, a good way to start a day.

In recent years the asphalt was resurfaced at considerable cost. The resurfacing, along with a great deal of local publicity, quickly changed the nature of hiking on the hill. The rough single lane road became a smooth trail. The virginal surface allowed easier access to non-motorized vehicles such as bicycles and baby strollers (prams).
Within a few short weeks, the nature of hiking on the hill was radically changed. The volume of foot traffic suddenly skyrocketed. At 5:00 am it usually felt like I was joining a parade in the darkness. The experience had abruptly become the equivalent of hiking on a pedestrian freeway.

I don’t begrudge the inattentive the opportunity to hike on the hill. Too much. If they want to clog the asphalt trail with strollers or ascend the hill in large noisy groups, constantly cackling like gaggles of geese, I suppose it is a good thing that there is now a place for them to do that. But from my viewpoint, the trail resurfacing ruined the experience. So much for “progress”. I now do my hiking in other places. I do occasionally miss the views, though.

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