Tag Archives: hiking

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.
Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Channel CLICK THE PIC
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 Mateo Peak

THE HARD WAY…

SAN MATEO CANYON WILDERNESS

Activity: Hiking, Peak Bagging

9.5 miles, approximately 1,750’ elevation gain, 6 hour duration, rated Hard

After almost a mile through a lovely oak grove and among boulders, I began a trek through heavy brush. After awhile I decided to check my GPS. I hadn’t before as it seemed like a nice trail and it was no problem following it- only to discover to my dismay that I was way off course and on a totally different trail! Rather than double back. I decided to go from the planned medium length difficult hike graduating to a very long difficult hike. 

The red line on the trail map was my expected route. The Blue dot is where I was when I discovered that things had gone awry. Instead of bailing, or retracing my steps and starting over I hung the first left and made a loop of it heading towards where you see the compass in the upper right hand corner.

At the top of the map of my newly planned loop- I had been hiking 2.5 hours mostly descending in altitude, so now it is going to be a long arduous climb to San Mateo Peak, and on a trail that is now more like animal path. 

Turns out my mistake was that there was a obscured trail that fed into the track near the registration box. It came in at an angle such that it wasn’t easy to see and there wasn’t any marker to identify it. So I didn’t check my GPS until way down the trail, since it seemed pretty straightforward. Obviously not.  It’s all good- as I enjoyed my 2.5 times more hike.  I got to see a lot more country, and got a lot more exercise. My travels took me on a journey through more varied terrain, and thus I experienced a lot more adventure, and a lot more balance was being pursued, lol.

It is a great area, the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness. I love the oak grove section, and the sprinkled boulders throughout the hilly chaparral covered countryside is amazing. When I was on top of the peak I took a moment to admire the views that spilled out before me. But only a moment mind you, as the winds were howling at about Gale Force with the possibility of Hurricane Force gusts. Checkout my video. On top of that there was a rain storm coming in faster than expected so taking a longer than anticipated hike meant that I really needed to hoof it back to my car.

It’s just all in a days work for an Adventure Blogger when you find yourself ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’.

“Sometimes you find adventure, and sometimes adventure finds you!” – Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Channel
There were a few of these dinosaur markers. I am sure this makes it fun for any kids on this hike.
If you’re not lost, you’re not much of an explorer.

‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ what a lovely phrase… My gosh be sure to LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. That is the life blood of a blogger and there are so many more adventures to come. PBTA Inland Empire Hiking is but one of my blogs if you go to the menu you will see there are many places from which to choose your own adventure. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Come on outside, get your boots a little dirty! If you like my shirt then please go to SHOP APPAREL my adventure wear is not only top quality, but it carries the mantra to bring everything into balance, so spread the word from the mountain tops, to the deep canyons.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Icehouse Canyon to Timber Mt

SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS

SAN BERNADINO MOUNTAINS

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST

CUCAMONGA WILDERNESS

Activity: Day Hike, Peak Bagging

9.5 miles, elevation change 3336’, 7 hour duration, rated Hard

Date: 11-18-20

This is a special area and a special hike. Things you need to know to start with is that you will need to come early. Although the parking area is a good size it will fill up on the weekends, as the Icehouse Canyon Trail is a starting point for numerous hikes. You will need an Adventure Pass for parking. A Wilderness Permit is required and you can get the permit right at the trailhead.

The adventure begins with a mild walk through a shady canyon, the sound of the babbling brook sets the mind at ease. The area is filled with a mixture of oak, conifer, and deciduous trees. As I ambled along the easy path there were a couple cabins and ruins of others lost to either fire or flood in years gone by. The chilly air was fragrant with the scent of fallen decaying leaves that carpeted the forest floor. The surrounding ridge was alight with a golden glow as the morning sun has just reached it upon rising over the mountain. After a couple miles the trek picks up the pace from mild to difficult through switchback trail the remainder of the hike to Icehouse Saddle.

I have a post on my blog ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ Hiking and Backpacking 101 regarding Layering Your Clothing. This outing was an excellent example. My early hike began in cold temperatures, but by the time I headed up the steep switchbacks I was stripping off outer layers, but as I got higher I was more exposed to the high winds and I needed to layer up once again.

In late November there were portions of the trail covered in snow and ice. Not quite enough to need micro spikes as trekking poles and a little careful footwork would allow you to traverse these spots. If however you were going on to Ontario Peak or Cucamonga Peak, which would take you to more shaded parts of the mountains, they were still covered with snow from an earlier storm.

I had planned to just hike to the Icehouse Saddle, however once there I decided that there wasn’t much of a view at this wide spot that was heavily forested with fir, and I wasn’t quite ready for my adventure to come to an end. The Saddle is where five trails come together and I decided forge on to Timber Mountain.

As I approached the summit of Timber Mountain I had a wonderful panorama of the mountains to including Mt Baldy. I also enjoyed splendid views of the canyon as the wind whipped up through them chapping my lips. A magnificent area and a great hike to be sure. I will be back for some of the other hikes in this area.

When I saw the mountains the weight lifted and my restless spirt calmed… I knew I was where I belong.”

What a day! It pretty much checked all the boxes as far as ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. The fresh mountain air, stretching the legs, getting the heart pumping, gaining altitude attitude, getting away from it all, natural scenic beauty and panoramic views, the adventure of a hard hike, add a little snow and ice for a little extra something, solo time to reflect, soul soaring to be sure. I certainly feel a little more balance seep into my life after such an outing in nature, but it is not about the destination. It’s not about bagging that Peak and standing atop that summit posing with that sign, but the trek up and down that mountain, and to looking forward to that next adventure. Speaking of next adventure- stick with me there is more to come because it’s what? A journey, a pursuit for additional chances to balance that ledger of the everyday hetic, chaotic, sometimes mundane, work-a-day life with bold experiences in the great outdoors. Stick with me by doing each and everyone of these things: COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. You can join the movement, wave the flag, and carry the banner by adorning yourself in ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ wear. Just go to SHOP APPAREL where you can find the long sleeve high performance shirt and beanie pictured in my summit shot and oh so much more. If you need ideas or inspiration on your own pursuit then go to the menu above where you will find the spots that PBTA travels to seeking that inner peace and to revel in nature. Each location 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

Peak Bagging Soda Mountain

MOHAVE DESERT

Activity: Peak Bagging, Trail Blazing, Scrambling, Camping

Distance: Approximately 8 miles, altitude 3661’, prominence 1,781’, 2,168’ elevation gain, duration 7 hours, rated Hard

Date: March 4-5, 2020

While not particularly high in elevation at 3,661 feet above sea level it is all about the prominence with Peak Baggers. That is why the few, the adventurous, the Peak Baggers are interested in this location. Otherwise it is a lonely, desolate, rugged place and there is nothing particularly fun about the trek, and there is no reason anyone would climb Soda Mountain other than because it is there, and the ‘Prom Factor’.

Prominence

  1. A position of exalted widely recognized grandeur.
  2. A natural land elevation that stands out above it’s surroundings.
  3. The vertical distance from which the summit rises above the lowest point between two summits.

In many ways prominence, as an alternate measurement of a peak or mountain, is more interesting than it’s elevation.

I joined Hall of Fame Peak Bagger Keith Christensen once again seeking some life balance in this otherwise crazy mixed up world, in other words we found ourselves ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ in the Mohave Desert. This was day two of our excursion and I invite you to checkout day one: Cave Mountain. After completing our quest to stand atop Cave Mountain we headed toward Soda Mountains. It required some 4 wheeling to get to the wash that would serve as the closest thing to a trailhead. Hint there is no trailhead in the middle of the frick’n desert when you are hiking an area no one would go to, to climb a craggy, jagged, rocky mountain that no one would climb… no one except a Peak Bagger. I will tell you what, on these desolate desert peaks there are only a few peak baggers there a year. So when you stand on top of Soda Mountain, you are one of a small number that has ever set foot there, which of course is part of the allure. Peak Baggers aren’t here to recreate they are here for the hard-core.

After a backpacking dinner, we enjoyed the twilight and the silhouette of the mountains against the ever darkening desert sky, and then called it a night to get an early start in the morning.

It was a cool morning, but with the rising sun it was quickly warming up. We headed out along about 3 miles of sandy wash and canyon area that had many twists and turns to it such that we really did not get a look at our objective until we were right before it.

Hiking through a wash toward our destination Soda Mt High Point.

Now we would be picking a route, looking for a way up, ascending the steep incline of broken rock. During the climb my foot became trapped between a proverbial, and I assure you quite literal, rock and a hard place. It was only all those workouts I have been doing that kept me from a full face plant as I caught myself in a push up position with my nose to the grind stone.

In a section where we were doing a bit of scrambling Keith surprised a large lizard about the size of a chipmunk, which is exactly what I though it was at first. The fleeing reptile was headed right at my face until he saw me and ducked into the rocks. We think it was a Chuckwalla, but there are Gila Monsters in the Mohave as well.

Photo of Chuckwalla credit to NPS.

Hands worked, bloody shin, tired feet and all I arrived at the summit with a smile. While I surveyed the desert scene from aloft Keith checked out the register in an old can to see how many names he might recognize.

Summit of Soda Mt.

The view from the summit was quite amazing with a pretty diverse landscape. On one side was canyon with pale colors, in another direction black mountains rising out of golden sand, and yet another mocha chocolate hills. After a snack, a drink, and a little reflection it was time to head down.

As I carefully picked my way down the rocky slope I became separated from Keith who with a quicker pace had dropped down out of sight, and had taken a right under a large rock outcropping. Not seeing this I continued down the chute. I whistled to find his location, but heard no response. I was thinking he can’t be that far ahead, but he had wrapped around more to the right as I was still going down the chute. After signaling every so often I finally hear a hoot and after awhile we reconnect. He had not heard my previous whistles. There was a point that I thought I would be hiking back to Keith’s Jeep alone.

Another successful summit by the intrepid explorer Peak Bagger Keith Christensen as he heads down with the desert wash below.

One side note that I will mention about this outing was that it took place just before that Covid-19 Pandemic Crisis. After 2 or 3 months had gone by I went to Keith Christensen’s Peak Bagger Page to see if he had continued to bag peaks since I had last seen him. While I had continued to go on hikes and even a little peak bagging I saw that Keith had not slowed down one iota. During this time frame he had bagged almost 60 more peaks. That is simply amazing.

“The road less traveled is the road to adventure!”

This type of an adventure is pretty amazing and rather unique. Not your everyday trek, which makes it pretty cool, and hiking with my Hobie Cat Champion sailing friend, Keith Christensen, who just happens to take part in this craziness of Peak Bagging, and at a very high level I might add, is always an adventure! Thanks for joining us ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ while peak bagging hidden away desert mountains. Take a moment and LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW, and SHARE. You may or may not be excited about Peak Bagging in the middle of the frick’n desert, but I am positive you can find a hike that will get you off the couch with all of the locales that PBTA ventures to- just review the menu above. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Checkout my cap in the picture. Like it? Want one? Click here: SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Trails, (Well in this case there was no trail, but you catch my drift…)

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Lava Tubes

Mojave National Preserve, California

“Bathing in His Light”

Activity: Spelunking (sorta)
Date: April 17, 2019
Distance .05 Mile, 62’ elevation change, rated Easy

I had not been to Mojave National Preserve before, but after my trip there I can tell you it will not be my last.

The Lava Tubes are off of paved road, but the final 5 miles is rough washboard dirt road with some volcanic rock thrown in a couple places for good measure. Once you park it is a short distance to the Lava Tubes.

I suggest that you bring a head lamp as you crawl into a hole in the ground, the dark portion isn’t very long, but a little light goes a long ways in making you feel more comfortable. There is a low spot where you need to crawl on your hands and knees. So when you hit your head it won’t be that bad because with the light at least you can say oh yeah I knew that was there.

When you enter the cavern with the light beaming in it is truly a feeling of am I really seeing this? I have never seen light do this except in an art gallery, and I will tell you the pictures I saw on my hiking app were no where as cool as what I saw and the pictures you see here. So I don’t know if I was lucky or just there at the right time. You need to be there around noon for the light to shine through the sky light openings just right.

I can’t say it was a spiritual feeling, because there were other people there probably about 8 of us on a weekday enjoy what was undeniably an amazing sight. But looking at these pictures now it’s definitely lifts the spirit.

The map shows the Cinder Cone Lava Beds and Lava Tube under the title Mojave.
This map shows the proximity of the lava tubes, which is the large two tone dot under Mojave Wilderness, and Baker, CA. There is paved road from Baker, but the last 5 miles to the Lava Tube is rough dirt road.
Heavenly Light
Ladder going back out from the lava tube.
“The danger of adventure is worth a thousand days of ease and comfort.” – Paulo Coelho

The Mojave National Preserve is a fun place to explore, and the light in the lava tube was a Life Experience. Thanks for joining me ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure.’ There are sister sites categorized by area in the menu above (each needs to be followed individually). Lots of adventures, lots more to come, so please for the sake of your Balance: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW, and SHARE. If you would like to support PBTA then check out the fine SHOP APPAREL for top quality adventure wear.

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