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