Tag Archives: Mountains

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

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

Stoddard Peak

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST

Activity: Day Hike, Peak Bagging

6 miles, 4590’ elevation, 1145’ elevation gain, >4 hours duration, rated Moderate

Date: 3-2-21

A fun hike in the Angeles National Forest in the Mount Baldy area is Stoddard Peak. Early on the mostly double track trail passes some cabins on private property, but it fine to travel through on foot.

The best thing about this hike is marveling at all the beautiful mountains that surround you. The first portion of the hike is cool and shady through an oak grove as well as some evergreen trees along the journey. From there it opens up to magnificent green mountains. The hike transitions at the crossroads. Pay attention so as not to miss the entrance into the bush. It is here that the trek goes from an easy moderate incline along a double track trail to a steep single track path. The route is challenging with loose dirt and rocks in some spots and hard pack with slick gritty sand in areas, so watch the footing. Turning an ankle or taking a spill is a quick way to ruin an otherwise excellent day. Once the ridge line is made nature takes center stage with the fabulous mountain vistas. There are two false summits, but stay the course. Once atop Stoddard Peak the views are even more amazing to include Mount Baldy and Sunset Peak, which I have climbed previously.

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Channel
Inhale peace, exhale stress, inhale calm, exhale worry, repeat.” – Cassy Arch

I hope you enjoyed this journey to Stoddard Peak in the Angeles National Forest while ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. The idea of PBTA is to help you find yourself during a journey of self discovery, to gain a feeling of peace and contentment, through the immersion of bold experiences in nature. (Wow, that is a mouthful. It might take reading that a couple times to digest.) To find that sweet spot between the routine of responsibility and wild abandonment. In order to start down this path please LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you explore the menu above you will discover many places that PBTA travels to and while they are not Nirvana: a state of perfect happiness, an idyllic place, they certainly are pretty close to the mid point we are seeking between that and the drab monotony of our every day routine in this fast paced, crazy mixed up world. If we are to indeed find that midpoint to Nirvana then we will need a hat and shirt proudly displaying our mantra. You can find that at SHOP APPAREL.

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

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