So last weekend I was supposed to go to this hyped up 3 day pool party. As I was getting myself syked up for the weekend, Thursday evening, getting together swimwear, camping gear and making a shopping list……..I see on Facebook the invite is no longer on my event page. Hmmm, after clicking and some reading between the lines i figure out it is cancelled. I was bummed I really had my little heart set on soaking up some sun chilling by the pool……but no.
Then it hit me….free weekend…..whatever shall I do. Well, I’ve been talking about going to Deep Creek for five months and as luck would have it it’s pretty close to Mt Baldy a place I needed to get back to. All of a sudden I couldn’t wait for the weekend again. I spent most of Friday printing directions and reading reviews.
Saturday morning I headed out to Apple Valley, it’s about a 2 hour drive that goes fast til you get to the dirt road that leads to Bowen Ranch. That road, while only 6 miles, seems to go on forever. I was anxious too since I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into (some of the online reviews weren’t all that favorable to parking at the ranch.) I was parking at the Ranch because it was only a 2 mile hike from there, the alternative was to park for free and hike 3 mile sketchy trail or a longer 6 mile.
Reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. The crazy man I read about at the Ranch was nowhere to be found, just a nice lady who called me adventurous for going alone! She was quite nice, collected my parking fee (5.00 for day 10.00 overnight which is weird since there is a sign half way there that says no camping), warned me of rattle snakes, asked if I had enough water, gave and explain the “souvenir” map then sent me on through the gate. Easy peasy.
After parking I jumped in my swimsuit (nudity is accepted at the springs but I tend save that for more familiar settings) through some snacks and drinks in by pack and I was off. The trail is pretty easy to follow and all downhill to the springs. There are some pretty nice views walking along the ridge before you descend to the hot springs.
It was not packed as the review suggested weekends would be, I got there about 11 (after the hour hike. There was a small gathering, but spread around the different springs. The springs were described to me as magical that is about spot on. There are a number of springs (I forget the names) some warm, some very hot, even a pipe that spills warm water right on you. There are beachy areas on both sides of the cool water creek and plenty of shade.
Yes, there were some nakkid older men and like 2 topless girls, besides that everyone was clothed. After dipping in the hot and cold I parked myself on the beach and chilled next to some friendly people from Santa Monica. They were funny, had music and wine! They too called me brave and adventurous for coming alone….hmmm.
I enjoyed the experience and would like to go back, maybe drag some friends along and camp illegally! There were a lot of people heading down there (with beers and guitars) as I hiked out in the evening.
After dinner and a good nights sleep I headed over to tackle Mt. Baldy, the mountain that shut me down about a month ago. This time I was ready for it, rested, shades, snacks, tunes, mountain dew and a map to the elusive steep side trail. Somehow last time we missed this (not well marked) turn off. (hint hint its by the yucca plant just past the falls)
But the time I made it to the Ski Hut I felt so great and full of energy, maybe it was the mountain dew, or because last time I was well hung-over, slightly. Either way this time I was moving very steadily with my tunes, just crushing it, on the steep part no less.
I began the climb towards the summit the trail crossed a small stream and I stopped and dipped my bandana in the cool water. I felt so outdoorsy. There was quite a few people on the trail but we tended to be pretty spread out, leap frogging when anyone stopped for a breaks
. Unreal view caused me to stop in my tracks i felt good until I got up to around 10,000 feet elevation. The temperature had dropped and the summit did not seem to be getting closer. That’s when it hit me all the people on the switchbacks above me we gone! Hallelujah!! I made it! The air had became cold and very breezy but the views from up there are outrageously beautiful. I quickly put on jacket and snapped some photos before settling into one of the stone forts for some gotta get down snacks!
As always what goes up, must come down. This elevation gain was transferred to a similarly steep descent complete with uneven gravel loads of scary fun. By the end of the day my knees are shot but I was so happy I practically skipped back to the car!
So of the six pack of peaks……..1 down 5 to go!!!
- Mt. San Antonio — aka Mt. Baldy —It’s the first peak in the list over 10,000 feet.
- Mt. Wilson –a top elevation of 5,710 feet.
- Cucamonga Peak 8,859feet summit.
- San Bernardino Peak tops out at 10,649 feet,
- Mt. San JacintoPeak, 10,834 feet
- San Gorgonio — the highest peak in Southern California 11,503 feet