Have The Day You Have

Saturday, June 7, 2014 I hiked the South Fork Trail in the San Gorgonio Wilderness area in the San Bernardino Mountains. The destination was Mt. Charlton 14-15 miles elevation 10,806′ & Little Charlton 10,696, elevation gain almost 4,000 ft.  I had all intentions of getting to the top as I had just completed the Mt. Baldy hike which was 4,000 elevation gain in a shorter distance.


The Meetup Group

We started at 8:30 and the day was predicted to be warm. This meetup group has always been pretty hardcore but I continue to hike with them as I am training for the hike of a lifetime.  As usual we start out at a good pace with little or no breaks.

Side Note: I finally met a fellow Puerto Rican (aka Nuyorican=New York Puerto Rican) on the trail today.  We exchanged some espanol. He was hiking with a Persian Cuban, another interesting combo.  Nice guys, lots of energy.

Left to right-Mo the Persian Cuban, Bill the Nuyorican and Rod the leader of the group.

Left to right-Mo the Persian Cuban, Bill the Nuyorican and Rod the leader of the group.

A few of us stop to take some much-needed but very short breaks to catch our breath, let the heart rate settle a bit and also get a bite to eat.  By the time I reached 5.5 miles I decide I just can’t keep the pace. So I let the others know I will not be continuing.  I am trying to be reasonable and listen to my body.  We are about 2 miles from the top but the day continues to warm up and I don’t want this to be a bad experience.  This area is probably one of the prettiest I have seen and at the pace we are going it was hard to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the forest.

Picture by one of the other hikers.

Picture by one of the other hikers.

I had a little lunch and headed back down the hill.  I enjoyed the solitude (flashbacks of the Camino) and finally the sights and sounds of the forest.  I ran into Ranger Ted who had a young man (ranger in training) with him.  He asked for my hiking permit and I had to explain to him that in my excitement I left it in the car. He was very cool about it.  I also had an opportunity to ask about the best route to take for our upcoming backpacking trip. He was very informative and explained about how to handle a cougar encounter.   He also mentioned that they have not seen bears in this area for a very long time. I still had about 2 1/2 mile back to the car and so I stopped to visit with a couple of forest volunteers who hand out water as needed as there is not much running water on the trail. They also shared lots of information about the flora and fauna.

Forest Volunteers

                        Forest Volunteers

I spent a little time learning about the flowers, pine trees and pine cones. Here are some pics of the flowers I saw yesterday.

Orchids on the top left, Iris in the Center and Snow Plant on the top right

Orchids on the top left, Iris in the Center and  Snow Plant on the top right

It was interesting to find out that they have Orchids growing in the wild,  called Spotted Coral Root.  The pretty red one is a Snow Plant.  The beautiful purple one is the Hartweg’s Iris.  I could not find the name of the gorgeous pink flower.  After a my short lesson from the ladies I headed back to the car.

It was a great day and although I didn’t get to the top I had the day I was meant to have. I am planning to do this hike again with my friend Marilyn that hikes at my pace and we plan to make it to a summit.



Loch Leven/Old HWY 38 – Hike 11 Miles

Patty and I got up early to do a nice moderate hike today. The trailhead starts at the Loch Leven Christian Center in Mentone which is just past the Mill Creek Ranger Station in the San Bernardino Mountains.  This is an old segment of the original Hwy 38 which was destroyed by an earthquake long ago. It’s a moderate, long 7.5 mile boulder-strewn climb up to the Angelus Oaks General Store.  We stopped short of the store  as we did not want to eat the calories we just burned and only climbed 5.5 miles. This road has nearly no asphalt left and is reduced to singletrack in most places, mildly technical here and there. There was a water crossing and lots of beautiful and fragrant Spanish Broom ( with lots of yellow blooms) up and down the trail.
2014-05-31 07.00.52Patty led most of the way as she likes to keep us burning calories. I really have to hustle to keep up with her.  We reached our up hill destination in two hours where we found a bench and took a snack break.   It was a pleasant day for a hike and we were glad to be done early as it was starting to heat up.

2014-05-31 09.06.54No Patty is not preparing for a bank heist, the gnats were a problem so she masked up to avoid swallowing them. We saw lots of mountain bikers on this trail, apparently this is a popular trail for them. This was another great training hike.  Feeling great and confident for Mt. Whitney.