JUN 13

San Gorgonio is a wilderness area with nearly 57,000 acres. It also has lots of peaks and not that many people... all of which make it a place that needs some exploring. Stephen and I both finished up school and were looking to get away from LA for a couple of days. So early Saturday morning, we started the two hour drive to the park.

After checking in at the ranger station, we made our way to the Forsee Creek trail head. There is a short dirt road with nasty little rocks that look like they want to eat your tires. We managed to make it to the end intact and parked in the small parking lot. There were about 10 other cars already there, but most belonged to day hikers.

Once on the trail, it starts out with a slow incline on a wide dirt path. As soon as you hit the first fork (about half a mile in), the trail narrows and you slowly start to ascend up the mountain. Since you start at around 7000 feet and get up to 10,000 feet, you actually make your way through the cloud line. And since it was an overcast day, we had our fair share of clouds to look up at, then be surrounded by, and then finally looked down on. I think the clouds are what made the trip so interesting. I love how eerie it makes everything.

When we got our permit, it was for the Jackstraw camp. However, upon arrival, there were other tents already set up in the area, and we had plenty of daylight. We made the decision to push on to Trail Fork Springs camp. Again, there were already tents in the area and still daylight so we kept giong to Anderson Flat. Finally, we were alone and able to pitch our tent with nobody else in sight. The downside of this site is the lack of water, but since this was a day trip, I brought MREs instead of dehydrated meals. We would be fine with the water on hand.

We set up camp, ate dinner and rested for a bit. Then we took a look towards the sun for an indication of how much light we had left. We wanted to climb Shields Peak either before the sun went down or in the morning. Since Steve was anxious to get back as early as possible, we decided we had enough time to get to the summit an back down. It was a short hike before we found ourselves at the base of the peak. It was a short scramble over large boulders to the top. Along the way, I kept thinking it wouldn't take much for a boulder to topple over and pin me down... but having someone else with me made me confident I wouldn't have to cut off an arm before the day was over.

Once at the top, the sun was still high in the sky and I was able to expand my view from 180 degrees to a full 360. The neighboring peak of Mount San Gorgonio was now apparent as was Mount San Jacinto off in the distance. I was also able to see the desert on the backside of the San Bernardino moujntains. It was an amzing view and I had plenty of time to enjoy it. As I laid there watching the sun slowly set, I actually found myself drifting off. I managed to stay awake a little longer to watch the sun set, and then I scambled back down the rocky peak. With no flashlight (I left it at camp), I couldn't afford to waste any more time.

That night, it was cold. I was trying out my new ultra light sleeping bag, which isn't as warm as my other bag. At 35 degrees, it did fairly well. The bigger problem was m sleeping pad, which has a slow leak. I blew it up a couple of times in the night, but finally around 6am, both Steve and I were up and ready to call it a day. We packed up and started our decent to the car. Along the way, I managed to pull a muscle in my back which made it trek difficult. By 9am though, we were in the car and headed home.

San Gorgonio wilderness was a very nice adventure. I have since read about the Nine Peak Traverse, which I plan to do very soon.

Type: Out-and-back
Trailhead: Google
Trail Map: link
Vertical Profile: link

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