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Ladders and Painted Canyons Loop Hike

MECCA HILLS WILDERNESS

Activity: Day Hike

4.5 miles, 820′ elevation gain, 2.5 hour duration, rated Moderate

Date: 1-29-23

I did this hike with fellow outdoorsman Loren, whom I refer to as the “Trail Boss”, because of his Off-Roading expertise. Not long ago we had an Off-Roading trip in Anza-Borrego, not too far from where this hike is, with a group of friends and he planned it all out and kept everyone on the straight and narrow. Well, none of the canyons we drove were straight but they were narrow, lol.

Ladders Canyon and Painted Canyon Loop Hike is not unique in the beauty found in some of our South West Canyons, but it is certainly at least on par with some of the best. What is unique, I have discovered, is the Ladders Canyon portion. It is literally a canyon full of ladders. Without the ladders you would need to be a rock climber to do this hike as it is well passed scrambling, although there is still a bit of that as well.

The adventure begins with 5 miles of driving on dirt- ending up in a wash. When you exit the asphalt there is a sign saying “4 Wheel Vehicles Only”. It was nothing at all for my 4Runner TRD Pro, but we did see a few regular cars bouncing along slowly on the bumpy road taking a beating on the washboard track.

We arrived at the trailhead mid morning and I guess we were not the only ones that heard that this was one of the Best Hikes in Southern California. Of course I will say that I am spoiled as I try to do my hiking during the week, but in this case that was not an option for my workaday friend.

As soon as we reached the first ladder there was a bottle neck of people. We were informed that was nothing compared to the 50 or more stopped-up a little further ahead. So we regrouped and decided to take the loop counter clockwise. This meant that we would do the ladder portion last going down the ladders instead of up. Seemed like a fine trade off.

Bottleneck at the first couple ladders forced us to rethink our endeavour.

During the counter clockwise route we first walked in a wash, a mixture of packed sand, and pea gravel. The Painted Canyon walls were stunningly beautiful and throughly rugged. The trail led up top to a view of the desolate surrounding desert hills, far off snow capped mountains and we could peer over the side down onto the canyon trek we had completed earlier.

This ladder ended with a rope assist and scramble to the next level.

We scampered up to a high spot on a hill overlooking the trail for a break. Not so much because we needed one, but it was nice to stop and take in the surroundings. Our reason for the pitstop was over the far hill hikers appeared like army ants swarming the trail. Apparently that bottle neck of outdoor enthusiasts had made their way to the mid point of the outing, so it was a good time to take a few steps off the trail.

In this area there seemed to be more than one route, we even got off course for a bit before rechecking our GPS trek and then doing a little cross country traverse down a rather steep, stoney hillside to get back on track. Between the start, where we turned back away from the crowd, and getting off course we added about a mile to our day, no biggy.

Most of the trail is pretty easy. Going down into the slot canyon portion was a bit more rugged, heed caution in this area. Watch your step as it is steep with some loose footing. After this point we got into the slot, wow was that cool. Love slot canyons and this was a good one to be sure! Narrow, winding and the rock changed in it’s texture and color. It was pretty amazing.

We were now in the last quarter of the hike and it was ladder time. A series of ladders are maintained by the Coachella Valley Hiking Club, I understand. That is very nice of them. The ladders are in okay shape, perhaps a bit rickety, so certainly look them over including the placement. I saw a couple of people that needed to take a breath before tackling them, but they really aren’t that bad. It was pretty fun as the only ladder I remember being on during a hike was at Arizona Hot Springs where it was quite rickety and slippery down a waterfall of hot water. Most of the ladders are just like you placed them against your house. One leads down into a tight hole, and another required a rope to assist you with a bit of a scramble as a means to reach the next level. All very doable, so not to worry.

Ladders Canyon and Painted Canyon Loop Hike was tremendous. We throughly enjoyed it. Keep in mind that it is pretty popular so if you can adjust your time to that different then most folks that would probably be preferable.

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Ladders and Painted Canyon Loop Hike
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“Nature can bring things back into perspective and that is important…
No essential. At least every so often it is crucial to get out
and un-shoulder some of that burden that accumulates as part of life.”
– Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Thanks for joining Trail Boss Loren and myself as we found ourselves ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ on ladders in a painted canyon. There are more adventures to be had. Stay with us by doing some or all of the following: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. The menu above is chock filled with ideas and inspiration for your own adventure into Nature, something that we all need to balance out our busy lives. Each location or activity is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you like the hat and shirt that I am wearing I have a full line of top quality Adventure Wear with the PBTA Logo and Mantra at SHOP APPAREL for your purchasing pleasure.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Mount San Jacinto from Idyllwild

Back on Top

Mount San Jacinto Peak
November 2, 2018
16.6 Miles, 5,219’ Gain

Three weeks after summiting Mount San Jacinto I was back. When I was there the first time it was with my friend Dexter. This time I went solo, and it was twice as far and twice the elevation. John Muir said the view from the top of this peak, one of the most prominent in the lower 48, was the most “sublime on earth”. Well, when I was there last time there was a monster storm rolling in so the view was less than stellar. Then my college friend, Jean Howarth Lindberg (Delta Gamma, OSU), jokingly commented, you took the Palm Springs tram to 7500 feet? She had done the Oregon portion of Pacific Crest Trail, and was not impressed, (of course she was probably in her 20’s). So this trip I left from Idyllwild, and the weather and the views could not be better.

I have been plagued the last few months with a racketball knee injury, but straight line seems okay even with a heavy pack. But it was hard last time, and it was hard this time. Last time I might have been dehydrated, and I definitely was feeling the altitude. When I arrived at camp in the dark last time I felt a little sick, and skipped dinner. I was better hydrated summiting this time, and perhaps a little more acclimated. But there were times, as I was being passed by 20 somethings that I was not sure I would make it. Like before near the top I was taking frequent breaks and breathing pretty heavy nearing the summit. But the big thing wasn’t the physical part because hard or not I knew I could do that, but I was also fighting the sinking sun. I did not want to be hiking in the dark again. Since I was taking another route, from the other side of the mountain, I made a deal with myself. If the trail I was on intersected where I thought it would, close to the top, I would finish. If however, it intersected much lower and I still had a long ways to go then I would skip the top. Because I certainly did not want to arrive back at camp in the dark again.

You see, on the first day once again I was caught after dark on a pitch black trail. I backpacked 5 miles to where I was camping. I left Idyllwild mid afternoon, but it was steep, the going was slower than I expected, and I had more weight, as I had to carry more food and water since this was a 3 day trip. I had two issues, both had to do with my camelbacks. One leaked in the trunk all over my backpack, so when I put it on it was wet. So I replaced the needed water with water bottles. Then while hiking my second camelback was leaking, again making me wet, and I was losing precious water. (I ended up having to ration the last day.) Anyway, the going was steep and slow with the heavy backpack, and I found myself hunting and pecking in the dark trying to make sure I was still on the trail. The trails are not always easy even in the daylight. At night, especially with it being Fall with lots of pine needles covering the ground, it can be quite difficult at times with a little head lamp. The temperature was dropping and I had a slight chill from being wet, mostly from the leaking camelback, but possibly from perspiration as well. Finally I was not sure I was still on the trail, and decided I would just pitch my tent and stay put until day break. When I turned around there was a sign saying Strawberry Junction, which was the designated camping area for the wilderness, sweet! So I made camp, fired up the stove and had 3 Sisters Stew. The boiling water in the pouch warmed my hands and I held it against my chest which was warming me up. Once I got in my tent and sleeping bag I was nice and toasty.

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Day two was a 10 mile or so hike. It was a loop so I would have maximum views from all sides of the mountain. When I finally made it to the summit I did not enjoy it as much as I would have liked to. There were a lot of people up there since the weather was so nice. Almost all of them were from the tram and so their journey was much shorter than mine. I had to wait my turn for a picture with the summit sign. Also I was pressed for time as I was burning daylight and I did not want to be hiking in the dark again. So strangely enough I am enjoying the view from the top the same as you are through my pictures.

I made it back to camp 30 minutes before sunset after enjoying some great views I had not seen before, although speaking of places where the trail is hard to see… I was so enthralled with the view that I missed a switch back. I thought to myself, this is like the worst trail ever. It is steep, loose dirt and rocks, the stickers are overgrown, hold it… this can’t be the trail. Obviously someone had been where I was before, but this definitely wasn’t right, so I back tracked and sure enough I had missed one of the zig zags.

After a great sunset and some backpack cuisine delight, I curled up in my sleeping bag. While backpacking it seems like I just cat nap all night. Which I suppose is better than last trip with the pouring rain and thunderclaps all night where I did not sleep wink. The funny thing is I would be thinking, okay it should start getting light out so at least I can get going and be doing something. I would check the time and it would be like 11:30 PM.

Day three was five miles back to Idyllwild. Another nice day with great views enjoying God’s creation.

California’s Gold: Poppy Superbloom at Walker Canyon Trail

Chasing the Super Bloom

Walker Canyon Trail, Lake Elsinore, CA

Activity: Day Hike

Date: March 26, 2019

6 miles, 4 hours duration, 700′ elevation change, rated Moderate

Southern California is experiencing a Super Bloom giving us the best conditions in a generation. Just the perfect combination of rain, after an extended drought, the right temperatures, sunshine and lack of damaging winds are gifting us with magic that has only been seen on a Metro Goldwyn Mayer movie set where a young girl and her dog befriend three strange characters while trying to find the way back home.

Speaking of trying to find their way back home, the horrendous crowds this phenomenon has created has place a hard ship on local residents almost in tears as they are stuck in hours of freeway traffic trying to get home. It has really overwhelmed the area as they are getting 100,000 visitors on the weekends.

That being said, I arrived with my friend Adam on a weekday just after daybreak and there were already 100 cars there. But it was a good move as when we left there were miles of cars and throngs of people. I certainly would not want to be there on a weekend.

It was difficult making this blog as I had 100 pictures of poppies, and I knew they all looked similar, but I just couldn’t help it. With each step it seemed to get better, plus as the sun got higher the poppies open up.  That coupled with after we finished the marked trail, you see on the map below, we heard about about an unmarked trail that was even better.   It was only a half mile away so we did that trail as well, and you guess it click click click one pic after another.

I hope this article and the pictures do the event justice as it was really stunning to see this in nature. Even going through the pictures I had a tough time cutting out pictures of the poppies, so I hope that they do not put you to sleep as the Wicked Witch would hope.

This shows Walker Canyon Trail, but I was able to go a little farther than the map shows. Then after finishing this trail we took another one that I could not even find as a posted hiking travel on my hiking app.

The poppies were the predominant flower and the star of the show, but there were numerous other beauties as you will see in some of the pictures.

Long after the poppies are gone Walker Canyon will still be a great place for a hike with it’s rolling hills, and mountains in the background.

As the sun peaked it head above the crest of the hills the poppies slowly started to open. By mid day they were all the way open.

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I seriously expected Julie Andrews to come bounding down singing, “The Hills are Alive with the sound of music…”

You can see in this pic that as we finished Walker Canyon Trail it was starting to get a little crazy with people. So glad that we got an early start.

One of my avid readers asked is it really a Super Bloom or does it happen every year? I posed this question to this young botanist/naturalist whom confirmed this was indeed something special and rare. Super Bloom Confirmed! Not just media hype.

That’s just dripping in gold…

There’s Gold in them thar’ hills! Look close that is all flowers.

You can almost hear that Wicked Old Witch ringing her hands. “Poppies, poppies will make them sleep”.

Are you kidding me right now?!  That is a lot of flowers!

California Gold

People were hiking in dresses, so they could get special pictures like this.

I hope that you enjoyed striking California Gold with me Pursuing Balance through Adventure. Natural beauty abounds you just need to go out and experience it. If you liked this posting I hope that you will click “follow” and also “like” and leave a comment.

Ortega Falls

 

Lake Elsinore Area

Activity: Day Hike

Date: March 26th, 2019

1/3 mile, less than an hour in duration, approximately 50′ elevation change, rated Easy

Ortega Falls is in the hills above Lake Elsinore and is part of the Cleveland National Forest. It is just a short walk from the 74 Ortega Highway and you will need an Adventure Pass to park, (so I found out the hard way).

Ortega Falls is a seasonal waterfall so you will not always get to see the cascading water as it tumbles over the rocks. With the rains we have had this winter it was showtime for us and it was spectacular. Ortega Falls is made up of two waterfalls with the second just a little downstream from the first.

Speaking of showtime we had some tight-rope walkers that were doing their thing over the falls. How cool is that? A great water display as well as a circus act!

I will say as I have explored some falls in So Cal there is some tagging and I have tried to take my pics in such a way that it didn’t show them. But it is disappointing to see. I can’t believe people like that are even out in nature.

Sitting at the Ortega Waterfalls.

My Hiking App said the elevation change was only 16’. I would say it is about 50’ especially if you want to get down to the water. It is just a short distance so the falls are very accessible.

 

 

Sky-Walker above the falls. That guy has skills!

First glimpse of the large waterfall!

Peek-a-boo view of the Ortega Falls

Love waterfalls

This shows the second of two falls that make up Ortega Falls.

 


Spooky Canyon

MOJAVE TRAILS NATIONAL MONUMENT

AFTON CANYON

Activity: Off-Road, Overlanding, Hiking, Spelunking, Rock Climbing, Scrambling, Camping

Date: 12-22-22

Wow, what an exciting and daring feat! This outing encompassed so many aspects of an thrilling adventure. My son Alec and I were on a Overlanding expedition of Afton Canyon and this was one of the exhilarating excursions as part of that jaunt. Can you tell that I am more than a little enthusiastic about this trek?

So as far as Spooky Canyon… The map that I have attached begins at the Campground that we camped at. The Afton Campground area is about 3.5 miles off the freeway., It’s a good campground with great views, park pit toilets, picnic benches, grills, fire pits and shade coverings. The campground is first come first serve and is $6.

The recommendation is that the dirt road off of the I15 Afton Road Exit is doable for most cars, but if you go beyond that point you should have a high clearance 4×4, as there is sand, dirt, rocks, and water crossings ahead. The map shows the Spooky Canyon Hike as 8 miles, but if you 4 Wheel to Spooky Canyon it is obviously much shorter.

It is a must to have GPS directions as it would be difficult to find the trailhead otherwise. We parked at the railroad tracks, where there is a small bridge, (not to be confused with the train trestle that you pass earlier). We walked under the tiny bridge to get to the Spooky Canyon entrance.

The Canyon is a very cool slot canyon with plenty of twists and turns, rock out cropping and unique rocks formation and walls, with places to squeeze by and scramble over. I don’t know that it ever completely encloses overhead, but it certainly leaves only the most dim skylights in places so that headlamps are a necessity. The hike is most interesting, but where it kicks it up a notch or two is when you arrive at the ropes.

There are a half dozen or so climbing sections that range in 10-35′ in height with one having just a step in between before you begin again, so that one is basically a 60′ drop or so.

My teenage son thought this roped area was the greatest thing ever. It was vertical. You could find footholds and climb up the rope that had spaced out knots and some loops, (and not always in spots that you might need them.) I used a combination of the rope in one hand and a rock handhold in the other and hoped that if the rock handhold came off in my hand that I would be fine with my body weight dangling by one hand on the rope. The first sections going up, (of course up is always easier than going down, which was something that was weighing heavy on my mind, but certainly not the gun ho teen’s), were not too bad. It was the last section that was the most intense as it was higher and was the section that basically had two rather dramatic climbs pieced together.

My son climbed up no problem as I waited to see how that went and wondered was there something up there that worth the effort and dangerous undertaking. All I heard from up above was the crunch of gravel as Alec plodded off down the next corridor. “Alec? Alec?” No response… So I waited about 5 mins and though, Oh the heck with it and started climbing. It would have been nice to have someone there to know if I made it or not… teenagers, lol.

At the top of the climb were more twists and turns of a slot canyon. The roof finally opened up into bright blue sky and I continued along the path of sand, dirt and rocks with steep walls all along. After 10 minutes or so along the route Alec returned to me and accompanied me the rest of the way. The track ended with a scamper up a desert hillside of loose rock to an incredible view of the entire area.

After a snack we headed back enjoying the beauty of this awesome spectacle known as Spooky Canyon. Back to the ropes, only this time it was down, which as I said previously is always harder. Mr. Showboat grasped the rope and leaned back using grip strength on the rope as if he was in a climbing harness, which he was not. I objected to this method saying what if your hand slipped… but to no avail. Then I told him the other problem with your technique is that in the pictures it makes it look like you are just on an incline with a rope instead of vertical, but whatever, lol. We both made it and I will say it was a most energizing and stimulating experience.

Once we exited the canyon there was a long freight train going by which was an excellent sight to observe right in front of us.

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Back down the ropes… always harder then going up.
You can’t fall if you don’t climb. But there’s no joy in living your whole life on the ground.

Thanks for checking out this invigorating, interesting and eerily beautiful ‘Spooky Canyon’ hike, with my son Alec and I. We highly recommend this hike although to complete it you should be athletic and fearless. You have to put a lot of trust into the ropes as you are forced to question, how good are the ropes? How long have they been there? Who set them up, tied the knots and how were they placed? So if I was to rename this canyon it would be “Sketchy Canyon”, lol! It did appear that the lines were in descent shape and that whoever put them there knew what they were doing, but still… So that you do not miss out on the rest of the adventure in Afton Canyon please COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you go to the menu you will discover that PBTA adventures to many fabulous locations all over this great West of ours. Each location or activity is a separate Website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Hopefully this expose has encouraged you to plan your own exciting adventure in Nature. It is so important for all of us to take a mental and physical break from the rigors of everyday life with its stresses, routines, and even boredom. Adventures in Nature is what ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ is all about. Nature heals, it is big medicine. If you need adventure wear I literally have you covered please checkout SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Bane Canyon Extended Loop Trail

CHINO HILLS STATE PARK

Activity: Day Hike

8 miles, 1,237’ elevation gain, 4 hour duration, rated Moderate

Date: 3-22-22

I discovered that a person that I sail with went mountain biking on the same day I biked at Crystal Cove. She told me that she biked Chino Hills. I had not heard much about this area and was of the opinion that it would be more of a urban type of hike, but decided that I would check it out just the same. My research of the current Spring conditions at Chino Hills State Park made it look intriguing with green rolling hills. I choose a hike that looked like it covered a good amount of ground, but then extended it to be as far away from others as possible, such that I could get that more natural, on my own type of Zen like feel that I seek when I hike.

The best way to get away from it all was to pick something a little steep and higher up then most everyone else would do. If you see my map I went clockwise up to a ridge. The ridge was great as it provided a bird’s eye view of the area, the mountains off in the distance including snow capped Mt Baldy, the rolling green hills all around me, the interior of the park, and unfortunately the sprawl of urbanization, and some power lines which is something I try to get away from when ’Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. Still if I looked where my feet were taking me and glanced off to the green hills to my right then all was good, that is once I got passed the power lines.

Here are some of the particulars in regards to the route. I parked on the street at the corner of Elinvar Dr and Sapphire Rd. Doing this will get you into the park earlier then the 8AM that the drive into the park opens and saves you the cost of parking. If however you park where I did on a Tuesday, on Street Sweeping Day, which is not well marked, and you will get a huge frick’n ticket… Unfortunately I speak from experience.

The asphalt drive into the park is Bane Canyon Drive, so that is the beginning of the trek and it is somewhat steep. At the top of the incline you can go onto dirt hiking trails left or right, I went left and there was a trail sign pointing towards East Fence Line Trail this led up more incline until you make your way onto Bane Ridge. It was cool hiking along this spine and there is even one spot that you are on a sort of a knife’s edge with steep drop offs on both sides. This goes on until you finally take a left turn on to the wide Pomona Trail. Stay on that trail until you see the old windmill. Just in front of the windmill turn right back onto East Fence Line Trail. I pretty much had all of this section to myself which is just the way I like it. The trail will run along a fence line, thus the name and finally empty out on to Long Way Around Trail where you go left. It is a short distance to Corral Trail where you will have some really pretty views as you head downhill. I found some lovely patches of poppies and the green hills and canyon were very special. Once you get down to the bottom of the trail you need to get to the paved road in front of you by taking a short cut little trail or go to the right and then loop back to the left. Up the hill for a scenic view and then turn to the right to the Equestrian area. There is a shaded picnic area there and a bathroom. Go straight ahead up Bane Ridge Trail. You will stay on this trail all the way back to Bane Canyon Drive, the paved road and on out. Along the way through a series of hills, on a winding path, I found more poppies and the Black Mustard was in bloom. This is a sort of day glow yellowish green tinted invasive species, a weed basically, but it certainly adds color in the Spring.

So summing up the area. I was pleasantly surprised by how lovely the park was especially in the Spring when it is so green. The power lines and the urban views from the ridge were a turn off, but otherwise I liked it.

Some Urban Sprawl in the mid-ground, but it is SoCal.
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Time is really a gift, so… “Leave the roads and take the trails.” -Pythagore 

Thanks for hiking along with me as I checked out what is a new area for me all in the name of ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. I loved the rolling green hills, the canyons, and the wildflowers. Despite what I mentioned regarding the urban views from the ridge it was fairly remote along the first half of the trek and in one spot maybe even a little wild. I found fresh scat and a half eaten bunny so it certainly wasn’t that tame of a spot. It was a good place to leave the troubles of the outside world and wandering the paths. Nature clears your thoughts and restores some balance and that my friend is what PBTA is about. So stick with me for more healing through nature’s open arms. This can be accomplished simply by doing this: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. The menu is a great resource for you when planning your next outdoor adventure. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. You will find my Pursuing Balance Logo and Mantra on high quality Adventure Wear for purchase at SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Third Stream Crossing via Middle Fork Trail

SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST

CUCAMONGA WILDERNESS

LYTLE CREEK

Activity: Day Hike, Chasing Waterfalls

6+ miles, 1,500’ elevation change, four hour duration, rated Hard

Date: 8-16-21

This is an outstanding outing in nature that has just what you are looking for when you are ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. It has grand alpine scenery with a rugged canyon, picturesque peaks, old growth stands of pine and cedar, a babbling brook and a hidden treasure being a three tier 80’ waterfall that is a little hide and go seek in nature.

The first part of the adventure is just getting to the trailhead. By the way, you will need an Adventure Pass for Parking or other suitable pass for the National Forest. There is about three miles of gravel road that sometimes is pretty torn up depending on when it was last worked on. Many people believe that you need a 4×4, but I would say a truck or SUV with descent clearance would do.

Once the trek is underway there is approximately a mile of switch backs to maneuver and the view gets better with every step. This portion of the trail can be steep with some portions that are rather narrow, dusty and rocky.

You will work up to a forested area with some magnificent trees which is much appreciated on a hot summer day. I would suggest an GPS Map App to follow as finding the actual hidden gem of a falls is not easy. It’s off to the left of the main trail at about the 2nd mile or so, across some dry creek beds, off trail, sort of bush whacking your way in hopes that you are going to find the correct finger heading up. I trusted my intuition while verifying my steps with the GPS Map App. This can be frustrating and not everyone finds their way. I soon was on the path, and when I say path it is not much of a path as you are soon doing some creek crossings, log walking, rock hoping, and scrambling along a glorious little stream. There are some little pools collecting along the way of clear cool water until you lay eyes on the main event a gorgeous 3 tier 80’ waterfall cascading down the rock face to a crystal clear reflecting pool. The water is cold even in the summer, but it feels so good after the hike up. Rejuvenation and relaxation is in order as you soak up this treasure’s bounty.

On my way back I made a bit of a loop dropping down off of the main trail to Stone House Camp a rocky area along a stream with wonderful deciduous shade trees for a reprieve of the afternoon heat. There is only a foundation of what must have been a small stone house and you could pitch some tents here, but it is not really a camp, but still it is a scenic and restful spot. From here you reconnect with the main trail once again making your way back to the trailhead.

Most people love this hike, but not all… some complain of bugs, not finding the falls, being worried of the narrow trail with big drop offs, and the condition of the road to the trailhead. Sounds like paradise and adventure all wrapped up in one ball know as attitude and perspective.

A waterfall needs to be seen in motion. Click here for PBTA YouTube Clip
“Grace is finding a waterfall when you were only looking for a stream.”- Vanessa Hunt

Thanks for joining me chasing waterfalls while ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. This time I really was chasing waterfalls as the last half mile push was off-trail, traipsing about hoping that I was somewhere in the vicinity of the falls. Thank goodness for GPS mapping or I would probably have turned around. I suppose that it is all part of the adventure of finding this hidden gem. The good part of the difficulty is this special spot has not been destroyed and trashed by graffiti as some of our Inland Empire Waterfalls have. Speaking of Adventure, for more profound outing in nature, with me as your host, please complete the following simple tasks: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you peruse the menu above you will discover that PBTA ventures to incredible spots all over the West. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Please stop by and purchase our top quality Adventure Wear at SHOP APPAREL, such as the shirt on my back. It not only looks great and carries the mantra, but helps support this endeavor.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Cucamonga Peak

CUCAMONGA WILDERNESS

Activity: Day Hike, Peak Bagging

13+ miles, 8,859’ elevation, 4308’ elevation gain, 8.5 hours, rated HARD

Date: 7-9-2021

Ice House Canyon to Cucamonga Peak Trail is a difficult hike through some of the most scenic territory in Southern California and will give you the impression that you are in the Sierras. This area is my favorite in SoCal because you have so many options. Ice House Canyon leads up to a saddle which branches off in different directions to multiple hikes that will wet your hiking palette. It is a gorgeous hike up a wonderful tree lined trail, along a flowing stream in view of mountain tops in close proximity.

Once at the saddle you head on up to Cucamonga Peak taking in the views of the neighboring mountains Timber Mt and the Three T’s, Bighorn Peak, Ontario Peak, Mt Baldy and farther off in the distance the other direction you can catch glimpses of Modjeska Peak/Saddleback Mt, San Gorgonio, and San Jacinto.

I love to stop and talk to fellow hikers and learn about their adventure. Along the path I met a young woman, Vivian, who has summitted Cucamonga Peak 48 times! She was proposed to on Cucamonga Peak and as a matter of a fact she informed me that the following weekend she would be married there and in attendance will be hiking friends. How cool is that?  And she just got back from Mount Whitney. 

Along the way if you are observant you might spy an Old Abandon Gold Mine started in the boom of the 1860’s. Lytle Creek Mine starts out a small hole in the ground that you have to shimmy into on your hands and knees and then it opens up so you can stand. It has several passage ways ending in a mind shaft that goes straight down, so mind you step and bring a good light if you DARE to explore. This probably was not the best idea since I was alone with only a IPhone to light my way, but I wasn’t expecting an old creepy abandon mine to tempt me. I did alert my safety group that I was about to do something crazy. I have a group of friends that are hikers, follow any trekking adventure of mine with detailed info on the trip, where I would be, when I start, and when I plan to finish. If I am in cell service they can track me with an APP. If I am not in cell service, which many times I might not be except if on top of a mountain, then they will know my last location that I did have cell coverage. I spent 15 minutes or so spelunking, and then gave my safety group the all clear of the mine.

The trek up the mountain is not an easy one, and it is long, so it is not for those just starting to do some hiking even if you are tempted by the sounds of adventure, discovery, nature, with alluring mountain vistas that spill out before you to revamp and rejuvenate. In other words this is a first rate hike that certainly can fit the bill of ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. Such an adventure can act as an equilibrium between the workaday world and it’s stresses and pitfalls – freeing ones soul in nature. But… you should be in good physical shape, carry plenty of water and snacks, equipped with good sturdy hiking footwear, and trekking poles are a good idea. (if you are doing this in Winter then that is a whole other ball of wax and I suggest reading about my first Winter trek in this area, in deep snow, Bighorn Peak and also Hiking in Snow.)

Once on top you will want to spin around belting out the theme to the ‘Sound of Music’. Take some time and hike around the top a little and take in the astounding views in every direction. Pose with the summit sign on the cliff overhang and just take a load off… if only for awhile.

I stopped and passed the time with this young women who was engaged atop Cucamonga Peak and would be married on the summit next weekend. How unique is that?!
British Young Women loving life on Cucamonga Peak
Cucamonga Peak 8,859’, Wikipedia has it at 8,862’ maybe that is if you stand on that rock in front of the ledge I am on, lol.

Sometimes you just need an adventure to cleanse the bitter taste of life from your soul.

The Tree was barking out commands to me. It suggested to me to be ”Pursuing Balance Through Adventure”.

Thanks for joining me on this exquisite journey to the top of one of the tallest peaks in the San Gabriel Mountains, and certainly one of the most beautiful trips around. For more adventures be sure to do the following: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. The menu above will have many different locations in the West that PBTA travels to in the pursuit of finding balance in life through nature and adventures in it. You just might find yourself in need of this type of freedom. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. For the appropriate adventure wear for such a pursuit please click here: SHOP APPAREL where you will find top quality gear with the PBTA logo and mantra.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Ontario Peak

San Bernardino National Forest

Cucamonga Wilderness

Near Mt Baldy Village

Activity: Peak Bagging, Day Hike

13 miles, 3888’ elevation gain, 6.5 hour duration, rated HARD

Date: 6-18-21

This hike starts out through Icehouse Canyon. This is a favorite of mine. The trek is not only beautiful as you hike along a babbling brook, through green lush timber and undergrowth, but the trail gives the hiker multiple options once you reach the saddle.

From the Icehouse Saddle you can make your choice to turn around as this is a destination for many hikers, or head up to Timber Mt, which is only about a mile further. If you are looking for a long adventure then take on the Three T’s, (which is on my To Do List), Timber Mt, Telegraph Peak, and Thunder Mt. In the same direction as Ontario Peak is Big Horn Peak which I did in the snow, this added a whole different experience altogether. Another option is Cucamonga Peak, yet another thrilling and epic adventure.

I invite you to checkout my previous posts on Timber Mt and Big Horn Peak as they will go into more detail regarding the beginning of the hike through Ice Box Canyon.

You will need a Adventurers Pass or National Forests Pass to park, also you need to fill out a permit, which is no charge at the trailhead. The parking lot was pretty full at 6:30 AM. There was a good amount of hikers heading up Ice Box Canyon.

A fast hiking young woman passed me and just afterwards alerted me to the rattlesnake that had just crossed the path. There was no denying this was indeed a poisonous snake, the stripes and the tale tail rattle, which by the way it did not make a sound. It was secluded under a bush within striking distance. I was filming as two hikers went by. I told them about the venomous viper.  They joked, “Now you are the third guy.” They went on to explain the comment.  The first guy wakes the snake up, the second guy pisses it off and the third guy gets bit.  

The bugs were out. Luckily they stayed mostly around the relatively short lush section that follows the stream up.

I always enjoying meeting folks along the path and hearing about their experience not only on this trail, but other adventures they have taken. I had a great talk with outdoorsman Blake on a bunch of peaks I haven’t hit yet.   More adventures for my To Do List.

I met a fit young woman who has become infatuated with hiking this year and has tackled some incredible peaks right out of the starting gate. We laughed about the false peak we encounter just when we thought that we had finally reached the top. I spent the rest of the afternoon with my new hiking friend Alicia hearing about her recent conquest of peaks, and imparting my knowledge regarding some of the experiences I have enjoyed.

Once on top the experience is almost surreal. The views are simply outstanding! Perched atop some boulders, next to an ancient and majestic tree, which is iconic for this hike, I enjoyed a snack before heading back to civilization feeling a little more Balanced. Of course that is the goal when ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’.

This video on my PBTA YouTube Channel is where you can get glimpses of the deadly rattler as it slithers through the underbrush right on the trail.
“What a glorious greeting the sun gives the mountains. – John Muir

Thanks for joining me on this peak bagging excursion. This was a good one. It is one of the Six Pack of Peaks for Southern California, and thus a major accomplishment for the area. It was a stupendous adventure the kind of outing that brings things back into balance, counter acting the noise of the everyday world with the quite serenity of such a special place. The mountains can do that sitting quietly on a peak overlooking the busy life below. Fresh mountain air with a hint of evergreen, exercise, a feeling of peace, views that have that “WoW” factor- pretty cool indeed. For more pretty cool stay tuned and you can do that by a few simple tasks: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you go to the menu you will find the different locals that PBTA treks to each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you like my shirt, and my hat then go to SHOP APPAREL for all of your Adventure Wear needs. It’s all top quality and it carries the mantra logo.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

San Antonio Falls

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST

Activity: Day Hike, Chasing Waterfalls

1.5 miles, 275’ elevation change, 45 minute duration, rated Easy

3-2-21

San Antonio Falls is fed from the snow melt of Mount San Antonio also know as Mount Baldy. That being said, the best time to view the falls with the most flow would be late Winter or earlier Spring. The delightful 80’ falls has several tiers to it as it takes a couple twists and turns.

The hike starts where you park just a little past Manker Flats Campground. It is a short jaunt and although there is some incline it is a fairly Easy hike. If you decide to climb down to the actual base of the falls there maybe a little scrambling to be had. If it appears too tough look around there might be a little easier route than the one that you chose.

On this day I combined this hike with that of nearby Stoddard Peak. In my opinion, both hikes are a little short, but combining the two made for a perfect outing. If you are hiking the aggressive trek to the Mount Baldy then you may need to soak your feet at the falls.

Waterfalls are in beauty in motion and need to be viewed that way. Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Channel.
Life is like a waterfall – always moving.

Thanks for joining me ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ while chasing waterfalls near Mount Baldy. What better place to find that balance between the craziness of the real world filled sometimes with turmoil, strife, and struggle, but always busy- sometimes to the point of chaotic, sometimes life is dull and mundane- explore the other side of the pendulum… go kayaking, surfing, mountain biking, skiing snowboarding, sailing, hiking, backpacking, or in this case just sit quietly with nature next to a waterfall. The sound, the earthy smells, the lite spray on your face, the water tumbling and cascading down to the cool pool below. To continue this journey of balance through profound adventures in nature: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. Look the part as your wander through nature with PBTA Adventure Wear. It is top quality and carries the mantra. Look for it at SHOP APPAREL. For ideas of adventure go to the menu above. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Pursuing Balance Thru Adventure