Peak 8,491ft P500
Peak 8,548ft 2x P300
Peak 8,828ft P750 PD
Peak 8,751ft P300 PD
Peak 8,740ft P300
Peak 9,070ft P750 PD

Fri, May 13, 2022
Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profiles: 1 2 3

Continued...

This was my first full day on this roadtrip taking me south to San Diego once again. I had camped around 8,200ft in the San Bernardino Mtns, about 5mi east of San Gorgonio on a Forest Road. Today was a collection of three hikes that I enjoyed for their nice views and (mostly) open cross-country terrain. My main goal was to visit summits found along the Pacific Divide, but I would pick up other summits as well since I was in the area.

Peak 8,491ft

I had originally planned to do this starting from near Fish Creek Meadows. The 3.5mi route (each way) would have taken me up to, and along, Ten Thousand Foot Ridge. It would have had the easiest gradient but still involved more than 4,000ft of gain in both directions. At camp the previous night, I hit upon the direct route, about 1.5mi as the crow flies, dropping down to the South Fork of Mission Creek before climbing up to the peak. It would have less than half the mileage and about 1/3 less elevation gain. It worked wonderfully. I started early, just after 6:30a, and followed a steep gully down for 1,300ft, taking half an hour. The gully was filled with boulders that made for a pretty fun scramble. Maybe I have low standards. The creek at the bottom was dry. Then I had a 1,500-foot climb that would take more than an hour. Slow going on steep, sometimes loose terrain, this time following a subsidiary ridge instead of a gully. The summit feels pretty remote. There were no ascents logged on PB or LoJ, but I found a register left by Bruce Brown in 2011. No other entries. Views stretch south to San Jacinto and Santa Rosa. I returned via the same route to finish by 10:40a. It was much slower on the way back as things were beginning to warm up (and I was gettting tired).

Peak 8,548ft

Ok, this was a freebie. It was the last summit I did the previous night and I wanted to run up to get a good view of Peak 8,491ft that I didn't get after sunset the previous day. A bit of stat-padding, too. All of two minutes for the roundtrip effort.

Peak 8,828ft - Peak 8,751ft

I drove back down to Heart Bar and then east on another Forest Road up Coon Creek. I parked off the road in a clearing to start for these two summits. They are both found along the Pacific Crest and the PCT goes along the connecting ridgeline (but not to either summit). To start, I followed an old logging road no longer open to vehicles, heading to Peak 8,828ft to the west. Where the road turns sharply southeast to climb to a saddle, I headed cross-country to the southwest for a more direct route. I crossed over the PCT when I reached the ridgeline above, then continued up to the summit. John Vitz had left a register here in 2019. Mark Adrian, Greg Gerlach, Richard Carey and a few othetrs also visited - it has more than 750ft of prominence, so gets some attention. I returned to the PCT and followed that east towards Peak 8,751ft. There were a pair of PCT hikers ahead of me, but I never caught up to them (apparently I was moving at backpacker pace, now). I left the PCT to climb the west slopes of Peak 8,751ft to its summit. Another Mark register from 2019. There is a swell view to the desert around Palm Springs from the summit, the windmills clearly visible today. After my summit visit, I dropped steeply off the north side. I paused when an unsuspecting PCTer was plying the trail about 50ft below me. After she passed, I continued down in stealth mode to finish up the 3.25mi loop.

Peak 8,740ft - Peak 9,070ft

After returning to the Jeep, I drove about a mile further east on the road until I was stopped by a locked gate. There is a private inholding cabin beyond the gate. I had just passed the Coon Creek Cabin CG. I would return there later. These two peaks are located beyond the locked gate, one on either side of Coon Creek. I visited the lower Peak 8,740ft first, finding another Mark register from 2019. This summit also has a nice desert view. I then dropped off the north side, crossed the drainage and made my way up to Peak 9,070ft, the highest of the day. It's south slopes had a moderate amount of brush, so some weaving was needed to avoid bushwhacking. There are two points vying for highpoint here, the west one appears higher, and the folks that would know in the register agreed. I visited the east point for completion, finding a duck but no register. I returned west along Peak 9,070ft's ridge, then down another old logging road no longer in service. The hills around this whole area were once heavily logged, judging by the number of roads and spurs I crossed in my travels today. After returning, I went back to the Coon Creek CG to spend the night. Happy to find it had cell service.

Continued...


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