San Jacinto and/or San Gorgonio Hikes

4:27 p.m. on May 16, 2013 (EDT)
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I'm new to backpacking and I'm itching to make a trip.  Unfortunately, my wife doesn't share my "roughing it" attitude.  I've got some friends that I'm working with to hike in the Whitney area later this year but most are in Northern California. 

Looking for a hiking partner so my wife doesn't go crazy worrying about me hiking alone...and quite frankly I don't want to hike  alone either. 

I've got two hikes that I want to make before we head up to the Whitney area.  San Jacinto from Idyllwild to the tram and a hike up to San Gorgonio.  Would like to knock these two out prior to August when my group plans on heading to the Whitney area. 

Unfortunately, we lost out on the lottery this year so we'll be doing some other trails in that region that require permits outside of a lottery.

I'm also thinking my friends might flake out on me.   I'm getting that funny feeling. 

If you've got some knowledge to share in the backpacking world I'm all ears.  I'm not looking for a speed hiker either. 

I'm turning 48 this year and want to get in as many trips as I can before I can't go anymore...hopefully not for a very long time.  When my kids get a bit older they are going with me. 

12:05 p.m. on May 18, 2013 (EDT)
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Seegerp,

Try the trails less traveled.  In So Cal, if it is popular, don't go there unless it is winter.  An example of a lesser traveled place would be Icehouse Cyn on Mt Baldy.  Don't tell anyone.

6:53 a.m. on May 19, 2013 (EDT)
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ppine said:

Seegerp,

Try the trails less traveled.  In So Cal, if it is popular, don't go there unless it is winter.  An example of a lesser traveled place would be Icehouse Cyn on Mt Baldy.  Don't tell anyone.

Apparently ppine hasn't done Ice House lately.  It is quite a freeway on weekends nowadays.  But the crowds thin quickly as the miles pass.  Still, there are better venues if one is looking to get away from the crowds.  There are several trails that originate off the road that connects Idlewild to the Anza Borrego Desert.  These all range from less traveled to virtually deserted.

But staying with Mt baldy:
Further up Mt Baldy, past the Ice House Canyon turnout, is the gated road that leads to the San Antonio Falls.  At the end of that road is a trail head that leads to the ski resort area, and access to several trails, some which lead down into the remote interior of the San Gabriel Mountains, while other take you to the summits of nearby mountains.  One can also use that trail at the end of the San Antonio Falls road to take a poorly marked fork (on your left) about a half mile up the trail that will lead to the Sierra Club Ski Hut, then on the the summat of Mt Baldy.

More Mt. Baldy
There are also some trails originating from the main road just above the tunnels but before you get to Mt Baldy Villiage.  one is a fire road you can see winding for miles up the east side of the canyon.  You will have that largely to yourself.

Still more Baldy
You can take the turn-off in Baldy Villiage to Glendora Ridge Road.  A short distance along the road eventually crosses an obvious saddle with a large parking area in the dirt.  There are trailheads here on both sides of the road.  These trails are popular, but like Ice House, the crowd quickly thins out after a few miles.

Experimental Forest
Continueing further along Glendora Ridge Road the area south of the road is known as the Experimental Forest.  It offers very challenging bush whacking, and a fire cut that parallels the paved road, but this all is officially a closed area.  There is water down in several of the canyons, notably those below Peacock Flats.  This is a real adventure, worth the effort, but parking is a real problem since they don't allow it along most of this road.  If you decide to go here, wear a heavy denim jacket and pants, and bring a bug net, as the areas has deer flies and black flies.  You will want to get topo maps of the area to aid finding water as well as locating unsigned locations.  This area is best done with a partner, and only a fool would venture down there without letting someone back home know of your intended whereabouts.  This is a location that will swallow you up with no trace, regardless it is just up the hill from major urban centers. 

Bridge to Nowhere
This trail is up Azuza Canyon at the end of East Fork Road, off Hwy 39.  This venue is as whimsical as the name implies.  This trail is infrequently traveled, in part due to numerous un-bridged stream crossing.  The trail to its namesake is just under five miles, one way, yet had twenty one wet stream crossing the last time I walked it.  Traveling further up this trail will eventually take you to the crest line of the San Gabriel Mountains.


Other trails along Hwy 39
Further up Hwy 39, past East Fork Road, there are several trails that start from Hwy 39.  A few lead to the ridge lines that surround you, such as the trail to Little Jimmy.  Consult the park service, of better yet, there are several trail guides that provide good introductions to So Cal hiking trails.

Ed

6:42 p.m. on May 19, 2013 (EDT)
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Whome,

I wasn't about to give away any of your secrets.

8:22 p.m. on May 19, 2013 (EDT)
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Solo has many positives...one is lack of no shows.  You set your own pace and you have nobody to apologize for just having a good day of it and still not reaching that place you planned on today.

A few more ppine secret trails....

San Gorgonio can be a (long) day hike or a more leisurely overnight.

Vivian Creek (wilderness permit from Mill Creek Ranger) is a killer first (and last) mile with a camp on High Creek.  That afternoon or the next day, follow the ridge up to the summit.  Get there early for a good spot to spend the night.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=34.08625,-116.84127&z=15&t=T

My favorite way up is Fish Creek.  A bit longer but a milder walk.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=34.12410,-116.77939&z=15&t=T

The aptly named 'Poop Out Hill' from Jenks Lake via South Fork gets you up to Dollar Lake (no camping near the lake but there are spots up the drainage a bit - check with the ranger when you pick up your permit).  Dollar saddle and then a nice walk up to meet the trail coming up from High Creek will get you there in a couple of hours.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=34.14559,-116.84990&z=15&t=T

Odds are you will not be alone on any of those trails.

It is getting a bit warm in the southland.  Many leave the San Gabriels and Angeles National Forest for the Sierra around the middle of June.  Most snow (especially this year) has moved up to the 11,000' level giving you access to most of the eastern Sierra trails and 6 miles in to lakes.  Horseshoe Meadows to Cottonwood Lakes is a good Sierra starter. 

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=36.48997,-118.20577&z=14&t=T

Again the chances of you doing this completely solo are very low.  Gives you a chance to practice your social skills on the trail.  I've met many good friends who were strangers a few minutes before.

Even though Whitney is a beautiful trail, and the permit system keeps it from getting too out of hand, you can still probably get permits from the west side - you just can't exit to the Portal.   Access/exit is over New Army Pass or  Onion Vally and Kearsarge Pass.  Tossing in Whitney on the back side as a day trip, gets you end to end in around 6-9 days - depending upon how much time you spend catching your breath or just ogling the views. Yep, you guessed it, you will meet like minded people along the way.

Eastern Sierra trail heads are about 4-5 hour drive from San Gabriel Valley (going over the hill to State 14, from La Crescenta). They are close enough to tempt one to make an interesting day hike leaving Sport Chalet Parking lot (4AM) for Cottonwood Lakes or Kearsarge Pass or Bishop Pass (or Long Lake), etc. and return home before midnight. 

I'd think your wife would be more concerned about that road trip than than an overnight alone.  Just tell her it is mainly administrative.  You don't have to get a permit.

September 18, 2014
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