Mon, Dec 6, 2010
Adam was going to be joining me for the ten days as well, so we arranged to meet just up from the start of the dirt road off Sierra Ave at the east end of the range. Arriving during the wee hours of the night, Adam was already there when I pulled in for about 5 hours of sleep. We were up at 6a, soon arranged for a second seat in Adam's Escape, and together drove up the long road to San Sevaine. It was 7a before we reached the radio tower just west of San Sevaine, but found no road or trail to our peak as expected. The weather was overcast (it had rained some the previous day, but forecast to start clearing), the recent precipitation leaving wisps of low cloud and fog over parts of the area.
A closer reading of the HPS directions had us driving back down from the tower a short distance, parking at the saddle and the junction with the old road leading to San Sevaine. It was hardly believable that a trail still existed, let alone an old roadbed, but sure enough a use trail led around an earthen berm and onto the old road. Now heavily overgrown, Adam and I joked about Mars Bonfire's lack of attention to the grooming of this route. The brush was rather wet from rain and dew and it did not take much to get our pants fairly damp. Cold but not quite miserable, we arrived at the site of the old lookout tower after about 40 minutes' effort. The register we found dated back only a year, the previous one dating to 1981 having now disappeared. To no great surprise, Mar's name appeared on all four pages of the register, having visited the summit 8 times now in the past year.
By the time we had returned to the car we were much wetter, Adam far wetter than I, as I was happy to let him lead both directions and therefore take in most of the water from the brush. He may have caught on to my ruse, but either out of politeness or ignorance he didn't complain that I was using him for a sponge. From his pants pocket Adam pulled a wadded clump of unreadable wet paper, all that remained of his map. Good thing that San Sevaine required little navigation skills.
Again following the HPS guide, we drove west to the saddle southeast of Buck Point and prepared for another short hike, this one not even 15 minutes in length. Following a use trail along the ridge, we hiked through some thin patches of snow enroute to the 6,400-foot summit. Snow had fallen earlier in the week but the recent rains were already doing there best to wash what remained away. The views are modest at best, with Cucamonga/Etiwanda rising high to the west and the LA Basin off to the south. The register was set amongst a small cairn near a solar installation. It dated to 2003, placed by Mars, to no great surprise. We dutifully signed the register and headed back.
It was nearly 11a by the time we had driven back down the Forest Service road, picked up my van and reached the pavement below. We drove north on Interstate 15 to the Cleghorn Rd exit, just south of Cajon Junction. Cleghorn Rd is a good dirt road that most vehicles can negotiate, designated FS Route 2N47. We left the van here and drove up again in Adam's Escape, the standard pattern that would be repeated for much of the trip. There was to be very little actual hiking during the day, even easier than the two peaks we'd already visited, a fact that caused no little embarassment. Such is the danger of chasing the HPS peaks.
Like the previous dirt road, this one was long and winding but with much better views as one climbs higher on the west side of the San Bernardino Mtns, overlooking Mt. Baldy and the other high summits of the San Gabriels to the west. We were passed by a pair of motorcyclists who we'd see again at the end of the day, and only one other party that we'd see along these lonely stretches of road. Once the route gains enough altitude it turns east to follow the long, undulating ridgeline in that direction towards Silverwood Lake. There are few trees and the views are open both north and south, and quite impressive.
45 minutes from the highway along this road brought us to the east side of Cleghorn Mtn, the first stop on this leg of our journey. There was no need to bring water or packs as the "hike" took all of three minutes to scramble up through easy brush to the summit. There is a spur dirt road access on the west side of the peak but we had missed that on our drive, to little detriment. The summit was clear, affording fine views north to the Mojave Desert as far as the snow-capped Sierra and west to Mt. Baldy. Views south were primarily of the higher ridgeline on that side of the range, Cajon Mtn on one end and other peaks further east. The register was a haphazard collection of paper dating back a decade to which we added our names somewhere.
More driving. We had to drive all the way to Silverwood Lake and SR138, then south, then west on another dirt road (2N49) towards Cajon Mtn. Ironically, our route would take us within half a mile of Cleghorn Mtn and our previous route, but alas there was no magic connector to save us the 1.5hrs of driving. It was 1:30p by the time we'd made our way to the road junction east of Cajon Mtn. The spur road was gated, requiring us to hike the half hour west along the road towards the communications/lookout tower located at the terminus. The highpoint of Cajon Mtn is located just east of this facility, so following the HPS recommendation, we we hiked to the saddle between the two points, then left the road to climb the last few minutes along a use trail to the summit. We found another Mars' register, this one dating to 1998, signed it, took a sampling of pictures, then started back. Rather than return to the saddle I talked Adam into a direct descent down the north side to the road, the only real excitement we had all day. The slope was steep and covered in 8-foot high brush and the remnants of a much taller and older chaparral that had burned some years earlier. By slightly different routes we used gravity to our advantage to crash our way downwards to the road in three or four minutes, laughing each time the other would cry out while tripping over a branch or getting jabbed by buckthorn.
Back in the car, we did more driving to the equally lame peaks of Sugarpine Mtn, Bailey, and Monument Peak. Sugarpine took all of three minutes to summit, Bailey four minutes, and Monument not even one. Sugarpine was broad and flat, not much for aesthetics or views. East of Sugarpine is Bailey, the latest HPS peak and the highest point in the whole area (not sure why it never qualified before). Bailey was the only one of the three that had a register, this one comprising the Sierra Club waiver used by the party that had left it. We also paid a visit to nearby Bailey BM to the southeast for no other reason than to get a picture of the benchmark. Monument Peak was the last peak on the ridgeline, and the easiest. There was no register, but it had a benchmark and a monument (big surprise there, eh?) for the Mohave Indian Trail that once went over the range here. An added bonus was a steering wheel nailed to a tree where we parked. The views from monument were probably the best of the peaks we climbed, but the lateness of the day had haze and low clouds over much of the LA Basin.
By now it was 3:45p and we figured we might have time for Jobs Peak, a long ago delisted HPS summit that is mostly developed. Going against the advice of the signs that told us the road was closed, we drove down Sawpit Canyon to the development that is Cedarpines Park. With only a topo map in hand, we managed to negotiate the myriad of roads and find our way to the top of Jobs Peak Road (all summits should have such conveniently named roads, no?). A large water tower crowns the summit, surrounded by a hefty amount of barbed-wire. With the aid of a nearby utility building, this minor obstacle was easily overcome and we celebrated our last peak of the day atop the summit rocks just east of the tower.
Eight peaks in less than eight miles - hardly enough to stretch the legs and more of an embarassment, as previously mentioned. We would have to do better in the coming days. On our way south we stopped in Riverside for dinner at a Dennys along Interstate 215. Upon paying our bill I noted a little sign by the cashier advertising a 20% discount for AARP members. I had just signed up for AARP but forgotten to bring my temporary membership card - and today was actually my birthday, having just turned 50. I have to get better at taking advantage of the few bright spots in being old.
For more information see these SummitPost pages: San Sevaine Lookout - Buck Point - Cleghorn Mountain - Cajon Mountain
This page last updated: Tue Jan 4 10:16:31 2011
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