June 3-5, 2016
This weekend we backpacked in the San Bernardino Mtns. Our goal was San Bernardino Peak at 10,649 ft. I have hiked this trail many times before and had only made it to Limber Pine once in the snow. I have to mention I was a bit nervous going to the top as I have had some elevation sickness at over 10,000 feet and my fear of heights still lingers.
We started out early on Friday morning as the weekend promised to be extremely hot. Up at 4:30 am to leave the house by 5 am to pick up Raquel in Cedar Pines Park / Crestline and then over to Angelus Oaks to meet JR at the trail head at 7 am.
We head up the trail at a slow pace as we were all carrying our packs with food for two days and water for at least a day. My pack weighed in at about 35 pounds. We found out we would be able to get water above Limber Pine Camp. The last time Raquel and JR attempted this hike was in November and it took them 5.5 hours to go 4.2 miles. Friday, Raquel made it in 2.5 hours and JR and I made it in 3 hours. Girl Power prevailed. We have all been training over the last 6 months and have all gotten stronger and it seems faster.
After a short break Raquel headed back down to the trail head to get our fourth hiker, Beth. She sailed down the hill in two hours and was back with Beth in 3.5 hours. Talk about girl power, Raquel completed 12 arduous miles that day. Needless to say she was one tired girl. Unfortunately, Beth was sick through the night and left on Saturday morning.
Saturday morning, the three of us got up early to head to the peak. It took us a little over an hour to get to Limber Pine, 1,120 in elevation and about mile and a half. We made pretty good time. After we took a short break we stopped at the spring to get enough water to get to the peak. While out on the trail we always filter water before drinking it. You never know what kind of bacteria can be in this clean and fresh looking water. Side Note: This spring eventually dries out sometime in the summer. We were glad to have access to it. As you can see there is still plenty of water. It saved our backs and legs from carrying enough water for two plus days. As it was I carried too much water.
We continued on to San Bernardino Peak which was about two more miles and an additional 1,289 in elevation. I was enjoying the hike and the trail was well maintained. Nothing to worry about. There were lots of hikers on the trail as this is a very popular hike.
We enjoyed the peak, had a snack, talked to a few hikers and then headed back down to camp.
We stopped at the spring to get enough water for the rest of the day and for the next morning. We always make good time on our way down. We were back at camp in no time. We relaxed for the rest of the afternoon, played cards and had some dinner.
We enjoyed beautiful sunsets and a nice view of the city lights from our campsite. I finally slept well on Saturday night with the help of melatonin, sleep aid and finally ZzzQuil. I think I found the formula. I also experienced sleeping without the roof on my tent. I had a view of the stars from my sleeping bag. Raquel experienced Cowboy camping (Camping under the stars without a tent) for the first time and enjoyed it.
Daybreak came around 5 am and I enjoyed some hot cocoa with the help of my Jet Boil to heat up some fresh spring water. We packed up and left around 8 am.
Joe from our Meetup group decided to meet us on the trail as he wanted to get in a 6-8 mile hike. We found out he had never hiked this trail before. After we met up with Joe we continued down the hill. A hiker coming up the hill stopped to warn us that a rattlesnake had just crossed the trail and had made himself at home under a rock. I was not looking forward to having to cross his path. I hate snakes. As we approached Joe and Raquel had stopped to take pictures and videos. I was freaking out, Joe stood between me and the snake and I ran past and kept going. I called back to the others and urged them to keep going. JR and I kept going. We made it down the hill in less than 2 hours.
Meanwhile back at the snake. Joe and Raquel decided to encourage the snake to make his way up the hill so as not to scare anyone else or bite anyone. If you are not queasy you can see the results here, Southern Pacific Rattlesnake. JR and I talked about how many times we stop for breaks and find a rock to sit on. In the future we will be checking the surrounding area before taking a seat. Did I tell you that I hate snakes?
We had a great weekend. The best backpacking trip yet and we were able to get out of the heatwave. The weather was much more enjoyable in the mountains.
Until next time ……