San Jacinto Wilderness HP
Baldy Mountain P500 ex-HPS
South Fork San Jacinto Wilderness HP
Cave Rocks
Billy Goat Mountain

Thu, Apr 5, 2018
Etymology
San Jacinto Wilderness HP
Baldy Mountain
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 4 GPXs: 1 2 3 4 5 Profiles: 1 2 3

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San Jacinto Wilderness HP

PB has Tahquitz Peak identified as the Wilderness HP, but that seems obviously wrong as it is 400ft lower than the point identified on LoJ, found on the slopes below Marion Mtn. My route to reach it was about 5mi each way with 3,000ft of gain, the most involved hike of the day. I had camped outside Idyllwild on a lonely stretch of road before driving to Humber Park to start before 7a. There were only a few cars in the various lots at that time, but there would be dozens before I returned. I didn't bother to get the required permit (oddly, dayhikers and backpackers alike are supposed to get permits) and was happy to see no rangers during the morning hours I was hiking. I took the Devils Slide Trail 2.5mi up to Saddle Jct, then north and west along the PCT for another 2.5mi. There was some snow in places where it is most shaded, but for the most part the trail was clear and in fine shape. I paused on the PCT when I was about 1/5mi from the Wilderness HP, found up the slope from the trail. There is heavy brush here, making the cross-country tricky. There was some class 3 scrambling mixed in as well, but that was mostly to avoid yet more brush. I navigated to the coordinate given on LoJ in about 30min's time, then looked around and identified a large boulder east of the point that I guessed would qualify as the highpoint. I built a small cairn on top and left a register. This one is no picnic, despite the delightful approach on excellent trails. I used my GPSr to navigate back to the trail via the same route as there did not appear to be easier ways that would work. Interestingly, I came across a section marker during the cross-country return that I had missed on the way up. Seems the surveyors had to wallow through this brush as part of their day's work. I cleaned out my boots once I returned to the trail, then enjoyed the far more leisurely effort of hiking back to Humber Park. There were dozens of backpackers and day hikers encountered along the way, a bit surprising given it was a Thursday. I was amused by how often I would be asked "How far is it to Saddle Junction." There was a scout troop making the overnight hike up the trail as well. Most of these seemed to be taking the uphill slog in stride, but a few stragglers that had stopped for rest only half a mile from the TH had me sympathizing with the scout leaders that accompanied them. I recall from my own experiences how motivating some scouts can be very trying, indeed. I was back to Humber Park by 11:40a, finding the parking lot quite a bit busier than when I had arrived.

Baldy Mtn

I next drove back down through Idyllwild to SR74 and then south. Baldy Mtn was delisted by the HPS in 1968 due to private property issues. There is a locked gate starting from SR74 about 3/4mi north of the summit. It has a Forest Service road sign and is unsigned for "Closed" or "No Trespassing" so I figured it was ok to go over the gate. There are signs of tire treads on the road, but I have no idea who drives here. One can follow a series of such dirt roads to the summit in about 2mi. I took a more direct route that was half that distance, almost all cross-country. There are many breaks in the tall brush that can be used to avoid any real bushwhacking. Most of the ascent went up a steep gully with decent footing and fairly clear going. An old barbed-wire fenceline is encountered just below the summit area. The lands above the fence are mostly grassy (thus, the name) with plenty of trees and ok views looking south and west. I walked through the trees to the east some for a view of San Jacinto and Tahquitz. The grass was very green, the air crisp and the feeling of having the place to myself made for a very enjoyable outing, much better than I had expected. I returned via much the same route, save for some meandering at the end to get back to the dirt road.

South Fork San Jacinto Wilderness HP

This Wilderness is located in the drainage above Hemet Lake, between Rouse Ridge and Baldy Mtn. There are two points vying for the highpoint, though as pointed out by Terry Flood on his PB TR, the western one appears to be the highest. Neither are very impressive, mostly liners on the side of Thomas Mtn. I managed to get the van up the Thomas Mtn Road 4mi to the first stop at the eastern point. This is a short walk to an easy class 3 boulder. I could have parked a lot closer, but it still worked fine from where I started. I came back to the van and drove another mile west along the road to where it forks and parked the van. Following Terry's guidance, I walked down the lower road about 75yds and found a cut trail through the brush. It's brutal without it, and still a bit tough with it since it is getting overgrown and not easy to follow. I explored all over the minor ridgeline descending from the road, satisfied I had covered my tracks but found no register. I didn't leave one though I had one with me since it wasn't obvious where a good place to leave one would be and there weren't many rocks to make a cairn. On the drive back out I pulled over to let two white trucks go by, only to find them parked in the middle of the road five minutes further on. Seems they were a contractor and landowner discussing improvements to the property. They saw me waiting but continued their conversation for several more minutes before finally moving the trucks out of the way. A bit rude, me thoughts.

Cave Rocks

This is a fun little summit found just west of Anza in Anza Valley. The pile of rocks sticks up noticeably from the flat surroundings. It is a very short climb from the paved Bautista Canyon Rd on the east side, no fences or signage to worry about. There is a property on the south side with an annoying dog, but otherwise an enjoyable scramble with a solid class 3 finish. I didn't find the caves referred to in the name, but I didn't really look hard. Had a long conversation with my daughter at UCSB while I sat at the summit.

Billy Goat Mountain

Found further southwest off SR371 near Aguanga, this one is located on a wildlife preserve signed for no off-road vehicles. I followed Mike Sullivan's loop from PB, starting from a locked gate on the highway. The mountain is really just a collection of low, rolling hills with a highpoint less than a mile from where I started. It was wonderfully green with grasses and cacti gardens scattered everywhere and tiny flowers of yellow, white and blue sprinkled about. There are three boulders at the summit vying for the highpoint, the hardest is easy class 3, none of them more than about 5ft in height. It was after 6p by the time I returned to the van on SR371. I drove a few more miles to get away from the highway and find a quiet place to spend the night in the low hills that characterize the landscape between Temecula and Hemet. It was a nice spot on a rough dirt road atop one of the hills with nice views overlooking the area - one of my better camp finds on this trip...

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