Wild Horse Creek’s Wild Ride

Sunday, May 28 we started early and headed up to the mountains on the south side of Big Bear in the San Bernardino National Forest.  We were off on a new adventure and exploratory hike that Diane had recently suggested to the group.  I am always excited to explore a new area.  We started at 7 am to avoid the heat of the day.  We had planned on 8 miles out and back and an elevation of 1,400 feet.  We knew we would have views of the north side of San Gorgonio at some point.


Our first view of San Gorgonio.

The day was going well, the weather was perfect and the trail was quiet. This is not a well used trail which is also right up my alley.  Since we were on a new trail Joe took the time to print a map of the area from caltopo.com which is a great site to make and print maps that also show the trails and elevation changes. We stopped several times to check out the map and decided instead of doing an out and back hike that we would do a loop hike.  We should still end up with about 8 miles.

Wild Horse Map

Our hike is marked by the light red line on the right up to the Campsite at the top and then we followed the old creek trail (thick red line on the left) on the way back and then Highway 38 for 1.5 miles back to the car.

We saw a huge group who were on there way back to their van in the parking area.  They had been in camp for a few days.  We made it to the campsite in a couple of hours and saw a family of three who were also on their way back from an overnight trip.  The campsite was so nice with a couple of fire pits and lots of places to pitch tents.


View from the campsite with another view of San Gorgonio.



Another view of camp as I enter the campsite. Wild Horse Creek is over to my left.

As we sat for a quick break we decided we would bring the group back for an overnight backpack.  We had another surprise under a rock below the sign above.  A fellow hiker from the group had left a note saying he had gone down the same trail we would be heading down after our break.  We thought he had left the note for us.  We found out later from him that he had left it for Search and Rescue so they would know where to look for him should he not make it home.

The hike so far had been pretty easy as it was not to steep.  We did have to make our way over, under and around some trees.


Diane making her way over a downed tree.


Joe and Diane going under a huge tree on the trail

The first part of the hike down the creek trail was not too difficult.  After a while we found ourselves hiking on the side of various hills, more trees to traverse, through the brush and berry bushes.  We also had to make our way through the creek and over and down some small waterfalls.  The trail was old and not well used so at some points we lost the trail and found it again.  It was so much fun.  A REAL ADVENTURE.  Lucky for us the day was cool as we were working every muscle group and burning lots of calories as this was pretty much all down hill.


Coming over one of the waterfalls. Not much water but sill considered a waterfall.

We made great time down the hill even with all the obstacles.  We had one more great view of San Gorgonio.


One more photo……..


Photo has been enhanced in order to see the snake. Thanks Ron.

I’m sure some of you might be wondering if we ran into any snakes. Well….. we hadn’t until Diane mentioned it.  I quickly said oh I wish you wouldn’t have said that.  Now we will probably see one.  Not much longer than half hour later, boom….. Joe turns around and says “snake”.  I do not like snakes.  UGH.  We wait as the snake slithers across the shaded trail.  I don’t know how he even saw it.  The trail was covered by some bushes overhead and was pretty dark with lots of leaves on the ground and he was pretty much was camouflaged. Joe, on the other hand loves snakes and stops to take photos and videos.  Diane thinks they are magnificent creatures as well so they are standing so close I am afraid that he will strike at them.  I had already made my way behind the two of them while they distracted him (all snakes are him to me).  I finally talked them into moving away from the snake so we could get safely away.

We made it back to Highway 38 and then had to hike back to the parking area.  I am guessing it was about a mile and half street walk.  It was about 3 and 1/2 hours down hill and back to the cars.  We told Diane at least five times how much we loved the trail.  She was so happy to hear that as she wasn’t sure we would enjoy it as much as she had about 5 or 6 years.

Trail Angels at Splinter’s Cabin

Today our Mountain Communities Hiking Adventures Group hosted a free lunch for the Pacific Crest Hikers coming through the Lake Arrowhead section of the PCT.  The group all chipped in to volunteer their time, talent and groceries to feed the PCT hikers who were more than excited to have some fresh food out on the trail. We provided hamburgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, chips, kale salad mix, fruits, cookies, candy, nuts, granola bars, soda, water and more.


The guys on the bbq and one of the hikers with a to go baggie full of her favorites, M&M’s, cherry tomatoes, chips and celery.

We had a couple of guys on the bbq’s, Johnny and Roberto who did an excellent job. We served 70 hamburgers and quite a few hot dogs.  The veggie burgers and kale salad were a big hit as were the apples and cuties.  The hikers don’t get many fruits and veggies on the trail.


The girls went out to check on the signs showing them the way to the free lunch.

This morning two of our fellow hikers went out 3 miles to set out signs to entice the hikers to stop by for a free lunch.  The hikers started coming in a few at a time and by 1 pm we had over 25 hikers who were super excited to see us and the feast we had set out just for them.  We had so many nice compliments – “It was the best spread they had seen in the first 300 miles.” “Name brand soda, this is awesome.” to quote a few.


The spread


Hikers enjoying a break in their day and a nice lunch.

The hikers surprised me as I thought they would eat and get back on the trail.  Many of them stayed for hours to chat with us, other hikers or lay out and take a nap.  The hikers started in Campo, CA which is at the Mexican Border and have hiked almost 300 miles in 30 to 45 days. They still have to hike an additional 2,350 miles to reach the Canadian border.



A hiker checking his phone while he has cell service. Cell service is not always available in the wilderness.

Coincidentally the Forest Service was out cleaning up litter from the non-hikers who come out to this area to drink and party and leave their trash behind.  Part of this event was to do trash clean up as well so it was great to have them there today.


US Forest Service enjoying lunch after trash pickup.

It was such a great way to spend the day chatting with hikers from all over the world…. Germany, Israel, Taiwan, France, Estonia, Canada and from the US …. Georgia, Iowa, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, New York, Washington, California, Hawaii and Pennsylvania and many more places. I even got a few new tips for my future backpacking trips from what kind of food to take to how to shave weight from my heavy pack.

We are now officially Trail Angels of the PCT and we will hopefully make this a yearly tradition.

The definition of a trail angel I found online. 

They are all part of a small network of outdoor Samaritans called “trail angels.”

These self-appointed volunteers assist long-distance hikers on one of the most grinding outdoor challenges in the world — comparable, many say, to summiting Mt. Everest. And they do it with little or no compensation, other than the grateful smiles and a chance to share in the adventure of the PCT.