Overnight on Mt. San Gorgonio

Last year I had to turn back at Anderson Flat long before reaching my goal of summiting Mt. San Gorgonio due to my inability to find water. Disappointed as I was, it was clearly the right choice not to summit. I photographed my last look at the peak from that trip while thinking about returning someday to reach the summit.

Last view of Mt. San Gorgonio  in August 2012 (East San Bernardino Peak to the left)

Last view of Mt. San Gorgonio in August 2012 (East San Bernardino Peak to the left)

I returned on Monday. When I started up the Vivian Creek Trail I had no intention of spending the night on the summit. My plan was to spend the night at Dry Lake View Camp after summiting. However, my progress up the mountain was slower than anticipated in part due to weighing down my pack with lots of extra water from High Creek Camp (I didn’t want a repeat of last year). By the time I had a clear view of the peak and a sense of how much further I needed to go, I knew I would be chasing light to both summit and make it to my planned destination.

View of Mt. San Gorgonio from the Vivian Creek Trail--Jepson Peak on the left. (click to enlarge).

View of Mt. San Gorgonio from the Vivian Creek Trail–Jepson Peak on the left. (click to enlarge).

My prior experience in the San Gorgonio Wilderness had me concerned that I might pass the campground without noticing it as the campgrounds aren’t always clearly delineated and campground signage (that I’ve seen so far) is subtle if it even exists. I started thinking about last year’s experience and whether or not I should risk trying to locate Dry Lake View if I couldn’t reach it before dark. It was at this point that I starting considering spending the night on the summit.

Approach to the summit as viewed from the campsite I eventually chose to spend the night. (click to enlarge)

Approach to the summit as viewed from the campsite I eventually chose to spend the night. (click to enlarge)

I reached the junction where I needed to decide whether or not to summit early enough that is was still possible that I could both summit and make it down to the campground. The weather conditions were excellent. I was still warm enough to be in short sleeves, the sky was mostly clear, and there was very little wind. Being so close to the summit, I didn’t want to miss it a second year in a row, so I headed up. On my way I started seeing numerous clearly defined and level campsites with wind breaks made of rock.

View looking at my campsite --notice the shaped tarp on the left. (Click to enlarge).

View looking at my campsite –notice my shaped tarp on the right. (Click to enlarge).

While I was exploring the summit and seeing so many great campsites, the thought of rushing down to try and make it to another campground before dark was unappealing. So, I decided to set up camp.

View looking back toward my campsite (between bumps) on Mt. San Gorgonio.

View looking back toward my campsite (between bumps) on Mt. San Gorgonio.

No longer in a rush, I savored the rest of the night on the summit walking around and watching the changing light as the sun went down. I found several vantage points to watch it disappear from view.

Sunset from in front of the bump on Mt. San Gorgonio where I ate dinner.

Sunset from in front of the bump on Mt. San Gorgonio where I ate dinner.

I found a spot with a great view of the sunset where I ate my dinner and enjoyed watching the lights come on in the city below.

Night view from the summit.

Night view from the summit.

The rest of the night I enjoyed looking up at the stars and down at the city lights from a variety of spots.

View toward Mt. San Jacinto from the Sky High Trail

View toward Mt. San Jacinto from the Sky High Trail (click to enlarge)

The following day I continued my traverse of Mt. San Gorgonio by heading down the Sky High Trail where the views were breathtaking.

View of Dry Lake with Mt. San Gorgonio in the background.

View of Dry Lake with Mt. San Gorgonio in the background.

I met my friend Scott at Dry Lake.We hiked down the Dry Lake Trail and then the South Fork Trail and Scott drove me back to my car at the Vivian Creek Trailhead on the other side of the mountain.

Photos of the Vivian Creek Trail

Photos of Mt. San Gorgonio

Photos of the Sky High Trail

Photos of Dry Lake / The Dry Lake Trail

Photos of the South Fork Trail

Gallery Update #10: Trails

My Gallery Updates are about sharing photos I’ve added to the gallery section of this site. The galleries are my way of creating a visual approach to searching for hikes by having collections of photos that link to information about hiking to where each photo was taken.

This week I added five photos to the Trails gallery.

February 2013

February 2013

Above view from the Tom Sloan Saddle Trail.

November 2012

November 2012

Above view from the Upper San Gabriel Peak Trail.

November 2011

November 2011

Above view from the South Fork Trail.

October 2012

October 2012

Above view from the Silver Moccasin Trail between Three Points and Bandito Campground

November 2012

November 2012

Above view from the Valley Forge Trail.

Weekly Gallery Update #7: Trees

My Weekly Gallery Updates are about sharing photos I’ve added to the gallery section of this site.  The galleries are my way of creating a visual approach to searching for hikes by having collections of photos that link to information about hiking to where each photo was taken.

This week I’ve added five photos to my existing Trees Gallery.

February 2012

February 2012

Above view from the Dawson Saddle Trail.

September 2011

September 2011

Above view as seen from the Devil’s Backbone Trail.

December 2011

December 2011

Above view from the Lower San Gabriel Peak Trail.

May 2012

May 2012

Above view from the Islip Ridge Trail.

November 2011

November 2011

Above view from the South Fork Trail

Weekly Nature Question #3: What Species of Lizard Is This?

My Weekly Nature Question is about my asking for help from the blogosphere (and other internet users) to learn about species living in Angeles Forest and to share that learning with others.  I’m really hoping that this turns out to be a viable and meaningful way to share knowledge.

The answer to last week’s tree question turned out to be a Limber Pine.  More information on this tree is now on it’s page in the Forest Life section of this blog and will be updated as new information is shared.

I’d like to extend thanks to:

Dave Bucholtz for being the first to correctly identify the species and to blogger Scott Turner of the blog 1000 miles for confirming the identification, providing a nice description and link to a photo.  As a side note, I assume Scott’s post with a link made it past the spam filter because he’s posted here before.  So, if you have a link to share and it doesn’t show up in the comments, please assume it went into spam and send me the link through my contact page.  I also want to say thanks to blogger Henry Mowry of the blog Mowry Journal for checking with his naturalist to confirm the identification and to everyone else who commented on this question.  Knowing what to look for led me to a page on the Encyclopedia of Life that also identified the Wally Waldron Tree as a Limber Pine.

This week nobody sent me any links to blog articles and I was unable to find any through the search feature in the WordPress reader.

This Week’s Question:  What species of lizard is this?  I’ve only seen this species of lizard one time in close to 1,600 miles of hiking in Angeles Forest.

November 2011

November 2011

Above photo taken from the South Fork Trail

November 2011

November 2011

Above photo taken from the South Fork Trail

November 2011

November 2011

Above photo taken from the South Fork Trail

Weekly Gallery Update #3: Details, Patterns, and Textures

My Weekly Gallery Updates are about sharing photos I’ve added to the gallery section of this site.  The galleries are my way of creating a visual approach to searching for hikes by having collections of photos that link to information about hiking to where each photo was taken.

This week I’ve added five photos to the Details, Patterns, and Textures Gallery. Perhaps due to my training in architecture, I spend a lot of time looking at my surroundings at different levels of detail.  Most of the photos I share on this site are intended to give a broad overview of the terrain and views that a particular hike or hiking experience encompasses. However I also enjoy looking at the elements around me.  I might look at the trunk of a tree and see an interesting pattern or texture, or I might see a natural assembly of elements that form a composition I enjoy looking at, or I might just find myself focusing on one part of something–e.g. the charred roots of a tree that is still very much alive.

November 2012

November 2012

Above photo taken from Valley Forge Campground

April 2012

April 2012

Above photo taken from the Mt. Waterman Trail.

November 2012

November 2012

Above photo taken from the Valley Forge Trail.

November 2011

November 2011

Above photo taken from the South Fork Trail.

August 2011

August 2011

Above photo taken from the Middle Icehouse Canyon Trail.