Tag Archives: Peak

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