Tag Archives: California

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

Bighorn Peak

CUCAMONGA WILDERNESS

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST

Activity: Snow Hiking, Snow Peak Bagging 

12 miles, 8441’ elevation, 3619’ elevation change, 10 hour duration, Rated HARD 

Date: 2-17-21

This is the hardest hike I have ever done. Well, except Mt Langley, a 14’er, as that was a killer and the altitude wiped me out.  The hike to Bighorn Peak is serious in the winter. I took on this challenge with trepidation. I really didn’t want to do this alone especially because of the snow and ice, but then again I got to go at my own pace and to really absorb nature.  The snow trek to Bighorn Peak is long, it is hard, it’s got altitude, it has elevation gain and did I mention snow and ice?  There are steep slopes that make having micro spikes a must. I have new really nice winter hiking boots, and micro spikes and they were essential.

My plan was to go to the first of the two peaks, Bighorn Peak and see how that went. If I felt good then back track and head for the second higher Ontario Peak. Without snow and ice this could be an 8 hour trek. I was soon to discover that hiking in snow is much more difficult and time consuming then I even allowed for especially on a steep incline when you want to be sure of each and every step. So needless to say, one was more than enough.

Sporadic snow and ice on Icehouse Canyon Trail going up, (Ice on Icehouse, go figure…), but nothing that good boots and trekking poles couldn’t handle, that being said use caution. The two times the trail seemed sketchy is because it was, in-fact I got off trail. Checked GPS and back in line.  I zigged when I should have zagged on a couple of the switch backs.  

This would be a tough, long, arduous exploration.  I had only enough experience hiking on steep snowy mountainsides to know that I should indeed embrace that feeling of caution. My first such outing was with my friend Dexter on Blue Ridge Trail near Wrightwood.  We did not have micro spikes or snow shoes, but just tromped a foothold in the snow on an exposed mountainside.  That hike would have been simple in the summer, but not covered in snow where at times we sunk up to our knees.   

I was in the wilderness trudging through the snow to a peak that not many people get to this time of year.  How do I know?  I did see a few folks on the Icehouse Canyon Trail leading to the Icehouse Saddle, not many however, although true enough it was midweek. From Icehouse Saddle the trails could go in 5 different directions as far as hikes. I did not see anyone going up to Bighorn and Ontario Peaks, which was all snow. The prints in the snow heading up past the saddle were very few.

There is a portion of the hike once I made the ridge where I was traipsing along a knife’s edge, with a dangerous and deadly drop, plus the wind was blowing in the direction of the cliff, which kept me on guard.

It was slow going in the snow and the steep, making my journey much more difficult than anticipated.  I was glad to have my new waterproof insulated hiking boots and micro spikes, which definitely was the only way this could have been done.  A large portion of the trek is on a very steep embankment, the kind that you just keep sliding.  I learned some things about hiking in snow and I happily impart that new found knowledge in a post on ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ Hiking and Backpacking 101, “Hiking in Snow.”

From the ridge to the summit provided amazing views of Ontario and Cucamonga Peaks, (both are on my list to climb), that is once the clouds parted. There were sweeping vistas to delight in the opposite direction as well. Snow capped Mount San Antonio aka “Mt Baldy” glistened in the sunshine, the Three T’s: Thunder Mountain Telegraph Peak, and Timber Mountain, (I have already summited Timber Mt), standing like silent sentries to the right are also on my To Do list.

After the ceremonious Selfie Summit Shot, and a quick snack I headed down. Some people think that going down is the hardest part. Since the cardio portion is eased dramatically I am not one of those people, unless… there is snow. Going down is just as hard, and just as slow because of the tromping in the snow, and when you add the slippery slope and having to be sure of your footing it is more difficult. Then throw into the mix that the afternoon sun now was softening the hard pack snow. I was now stepping through my earlier frozen boot prints and instead of being on top of the snow I was now deep in the snow sometimes to my knees and in some snow drifts even higher. The snow hiding the trail, made it tricky to find the way. I got off trail more than once and that usually meant deeper snow. It was all part of the adventure, but made for a more extended day then I had intended. I was spending more time which also meant that I was expending more energy.

I started rationing my water, so I was probably somewhat dehydrated, add new boots, and overexertion and this all led to feet cramps afterwards in the middle of the night. So a word of caution bring a few extra hours of water with you on a snow hike, and plan on it being way longer than you expect. But have fun and enjoy the journey because this is what ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ is about.

“When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.”
-A.A. Milnie

Thanks for joining me trudging through the snow up to the Bighorn Peak while ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. Wow, that was a good one, mostly because it was a challenge, it was something new, and it was exciting- said another way it was ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. I hope that you can get inspired to push your envelop a little bit. Speaking of inspiration there are lots of great places to go find yourself. If you look at the menu above you will see the many places that PBTA travels to throughout the West. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Speaking of following that is a great segue into please FOLLOW, COMMENT, LIKE and SHARE in order for us to have more bold experiences in nature together in the future. Please stop by SHOP APPAREL to support this site and more importantly find some great Adventure Gear.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Wright Mountain via Acorn Trail

SHEEP MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS

WRIGHTWOOD, CA

Activity: Hiking, Peak Bagging

8.7 miles, altitude 8505′, 2365′ elevation change, 5+ hours duration, rated Hard

Date: 11-06-20

This hike begins at the top of a neighborhood in Wrightwood. There is a small parking area, from there you will walk through a portion of the neighborhood to the trailhead. While hiking on the Acorn Trail you will be trekking along a section of the Pacific Crest Trail.

The hike wanders through a beautiful pine forest decorated with some falls color to complement the evergreens. Wonderful views along the way and near the top. It is a steep trail up to the summit which stands at 8,505 feet above sea level. Near the summit there is no trail either follow your GPS or just head up, up, up through the woods. There is a clearing with an American Flag on a cliff where in the past there was a large landslide. This is not the summit, but has sweet views of nearby mountains and the valley below. The actual summit is the high point of the wooded area. Wright Mountain is a great hike and I highly recommend it.

I met a new Trail Friend and we hiked the mountain together, an Assistant Professor at a nearby Loma Linda University. My understanding of his class is that he teaches Nursing Students compassion, understanding, faith, and caring toward their patients. Very nice guy and an avid hiker and lover of nature. He confided in me while we gazed out over the valley below something very personal to him. He explained that this hike was a celebration, it was exactly 1 year ago on this day that he lost a special person to him, his father-in-law. Here is the crazy part, his father-in-law’s name is the same as mine, Roger, not exactly a common name, now-a-days.

Here is Wright Mt in the distance and the Asst. Professor on the summit of Wright Mt.

A short distance from the summit is a clearing with an American Flag where we met these two old timers, well experience on the mountain. But this guy seated on the old stump spooked me. The stump is sticking out over a cliff with a stiff breeze blowing toward the edge. Some years ago a large expanse of land gave way in a landslide right where he sits.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Natures peace will blow into you as sunshine flows into the trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away for you like the leaves of Autumn.” – John Muir

Thanks for joining me and my new trail friend the Asst. Prof from Loma Linda Univ. Fantastic day and it was nice to have someone to hike with. It was a windy day that would bring in a storm that night that dumped a several feet of snow where I stand. Please leave a COMMENT, LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW. I am wearing PBTA wear in the picture, get yours at SHOP APPAREL. The Menu above has inspirational hikes that are categorized by location, each is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Sunset Peak Trail

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST

Activity: Day Hike, Peak Bagging

Distance: 7.5 miles (Added side excursion for a total of 10 miles), elevation change 1,276’ (Side excursion add 200‘ or so?), duration including side excursion: > 5 hours. Rated Moderate (Side excursion and short cut has some steep sections)

Date: 11-5-20

Hiking in the Angeles National Forest is really great. When you are climbing a peak it is so different than life below, as it should be after all, the whole idea is ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’, a temporary reprieve from stress and/or ho-hum. This hike I throughly enjoyed because it was set back in such a way that you did not see civilization until you were pretty much on top. Also it had extraordinary peak-a-boo views, through the firs, of hills, mountains, and ravines, just about every step of the way.

Much of the trail is double track. The first, a fire road, can no longer be used for anything, but hiking. There are multiple trees down across the trail, a couple of rock slides blocking all but a couple feet or so, and brush has grown into the trail way so no vehicle could use this particular trail. Near the top there is single track. There is also a portion were you can take a short cut. I took it on the way down, but it might have been better to take it up, as it is steep with loose dirt.

Once on top the views are simply exquisite. Laid out in front of you is a magnificent range that includes Mt Baldy and several others peaks, you have views of the Inland Empire and mountain ranges beyond, also a nice view of downtown LA.

After summiting the peak, I decided to add on to my hike, so I went on a trail that moved towards a ridge line, leading to some radio towers in the distance. I turned on a ridge that descended down to the right. This was a single track path that moved through some brush and then down some steep sections with loose dirt. This had some great views of the Sunset Peak just summited. It finally drops down on to a fire road and then later reconnects with the trail that was the planned mapped hike. 

This hike has incredible views. As I mentioned, what I appreciated the most is until you get to the top you do not see any suburbia, only mountains and beautiful nature.

Thanks for climbing Sunset Peak with me, now go out and find an adventure that can stir your soul, while you stretch your legs, feel the wind on your face, and drink in all that nature has bestowed upon us… or heck you certainly can continue to tag along with me as I am ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’, – I’m good with that, but to do so you will need to FOLLOW, SHARE, COMMENT, and LIKE. If however, you are excited about finding an adventure there are plenty to inspire you just go to the menu above. Each of the locations is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED Independently. Yes, that is a new PBTA cap atop my noggin. It’s one of the New Arrivals. You can buy one at SHOP APPAREL Where there is currently a SPECIAL DEAL going on. 

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Pumpkin Rock Trail

Norco, California

“I have discovered the Great Pumpkin and it is me.”  

Activity: Day Hike

Date: October 16, 2019

2 Miles, elevation change 400’, 45 minutes, rated Moderate

Wow, what a unique hike.  My friend Adam, whom I sometimes hike with, surprised me with this hike.   All I knew was that we were hiking in the Inland Empire.  It turned out to be such a unique and fun hike, and by the way Tis’ the Season as they say.  What a spooktaculare adventure this would be to take your kids on especially right before Halloween.

So when I got my first glimpse of the Great Pumpkin, up on the hillside above the George Ingalls Equestrian Event Center in Norco, California, I thought how nice of the city to have a giant inflatable pumpkin for Halloween.  I pondered they must have a generator up there or something to keep it inflated.  As we got closer I saw that this was a giant painted boulder that was perfectly shaped to play the part of the Great Pumpkin.  If only Charlie Brown was here to see this, and then I realized he was.  Because all of us have a little Charlie Brown in us hoping that he will finally succeed in his “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure” search for the Great Pumpkin.

This is a short hike and is great for kids.  Besides the fun of the Great Pumpkin there are a couple sights along the trail which I have nicknamed Jack Rock, and Scary Pumpkin Rock.  You do need to be prepared as temperatures in this area can be hot and there is not any shade.  Bring a hat and plenty of water to enjoy this Halloween spectacle.  Watch your step as there are places that are steep and the hard pack ground and rock is covered with dusty finely ground pebbles and footing can be slippery.

Now if you are looking for a little more of an adventure then you can do what I did as there are multiple trails running along the ridges.  I ended up hiking 5 miles and hitting several of the peaks, more than doubling the mileage and almost doubling the elevation change.  It is quite a workout doing it this way as a couple of these peaks go all the way down before going back up to the next one.  I would move the hike at that point from moderate to hard.  You always know that a hike is hard when your heels don’t touch in back.  There was even one section that was a down on all fours scramble.  I am not really into urban hikes, but this hike has nice views in every direction from the top of the ridge, and add the Great Pumpkin and you have an unusual yet satisfying hike.

Pumpkin Rock Trail Pursuing Balance Through Adventure
Meditating with Jack

 

 

Pumpkin Rock Trail Pursuing Balance Through Adventure
I am sitting on what I am nick naming Jack Rock.

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Rock Trail Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Pumpkin Rock Trail Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is something about this adventure that spooked me.  I was climbing this hill on the way to the peak where you see the cross and the flag, when suddenly out of no where there was this loud buzzing sound from all around me.  A large bee swarm flew right over and to each side of me, followed by a flock of Big Black Ravens.  I was thinking is this some sort of sign?

Pumpkin Rock Trail Pursuing Balance Through Adventure
The Red line on the map shows the Pumpkin Rock Trail.  The Blue dot shows my location on a trail along the ridges above adding to my adventure.

 

 

Pumpkin Rock Trail Pursuing Balance Through Adventure
“I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one.” -Linus, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”

Pumpkin Rock Trail Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Here are a couple of videos from my Pursuing Balance Thru Adventure YouTube site.


Thanks for joining me for this Halloween Trick or Treat to Pumpkin Rock.  If you enjoyed this episode of “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure” then please LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW, and SHARE.

Happy Halloween!

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

 

Barber’s Peak Loop Trail

Mojave National Preserve

Cima, California (Near Baker, CA)

Activity: Day Hike

May 18, 2019

Distance: 6 Miles, 800′ elevation change, duration 3 hours, rated: Moderate

I love the Barber’s Peak Loop Trail hike in the Mojave National Preserve, it has so much. I loved the varying landscapes and terrain. It has desert plains, some interesting volcanic rock formations, it still had some wild flowers even in late Spring, Several different types of cactus, it moved into a high desert type of landscape, from there into a slot canyon portion that was so interesting it was almost eerie called Banshee Canyon, (fitting name), and finally Hole-In-the-Wall. You almost expected Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to come galloping through with a posse hot on their trail. Although that story took place in a different part of the country, this Canyon was named by another Western Outlaw that named this one because it reminded him of the original.

The part I was most excited about was the dreaded climbing rings. They were in the Hole in the Wall/Banshee Canyon area. This was an area that you would have had to rock climb otherwise. There were heavy duty pins, for lack of a better term, with heavy duty rings attached. You needed them for the climbing of a couple rock faces. It is not a long distance, nor is it particularly difficult, however it is daunting for some people, and would require a bit of upper body strength.

I had just climbed the rings portion and met a European 30 something couple. They were not to keen on the idea, and I must say climbing down is a little harder than climbing up. I tried both because it was so fun. I am not sure they were going to test it. There were also a couple girls in their early 20’s which I believe were going to scale the face, but they had a lot of questions, such as how far is it if they did the loop, so that they were climbing up rather than down. When they heard the loop was 6 miles, I believe they were going for the climb down option.

This image taken in the Banshee Canyon to me represents this hike, something unique.

Barrel Cactus

The next several images are of volcanic rock and ash. It is a real unusual look.

Very strange looking.

Never really saw anything like this before.

Still some Spring wild flowers around

Beautiful blooms of yellow on the cactus.

Yes those are bones at the base of the sign post, but what or who?

This area looked like someone’s cactus garden.

Banshee Canyon

It seemed like there should have been some Indian flute playing going on about now with some light drums.

Here are the climbing rings.

Thanks for “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure” please “LIKE”, “COMMENT”, FOLLOW”, and “SHARE”. -Roger Jenkins