Showing up were Glenn Shaw; Jim Proffitt; Mal and Jean Roode; Terry Ogden; Willie and Faye Kalajian; Mike and Donna Mumford, guests of the Kalajians; Neal and Marian Johns; Leonard, Rebecca, and Hannah Friedman; Marten and Jeanne DeGroot; Jay Lawrence; and me. Mignon Slentz was slated to come but had car difficulties. Friday night a few went into town for dinner and the rest stayed in camp.
Saturday morning we were joined by Allan Wicker; Bob Peltzman; and Bob Jacoby with friend Richard. This was a large turnout: 13 vehicles and 22 people! After a brief tailgate meeting at which everyone indicated they wouldn’t mind going on a Moderate trail (probably not fully understanding what that meant) we drove down on the highway to the bottom of the Jacoby Canyon trail, 3N61, where some aired down. Though Bob Jacoby was gracious about using his canyon, it was questioned as to whether it’s really his. This was possibly compounded by the fact I related that its name had possibly been corrupted from the original Chincopee Canyon. We proceeded up the trail, pretty rocky at first. Everyone made it through just fine and we continued on. Jacoby Canyon was the site of some gold mining and some claims still exist, though no evidence of working the claims is currently present. It’s a beautiful canyon; lots of trees of various types, and lots of other vegetation, with some shady areas suitable for picnics. In one section it goes through a rocky stream bed that was once quite difficult because of boulders, but is no longer so.
At the top, we intersected with 3N16, the Holcomb Valley Trail, then went a short distance to the Lucky Baldwin mine site. There are large timbers remaining from the shaft structure and a terrific view of Baldwin Lake and the surrounding area. Proceeding on, we passed 3N02, the entrance trail to 3N10, the John Bull trail, rated most difficult. We didn’t go there! A bit further we came to the Holcomb Valley Campground, where some took advantage of the facilities. The valley and the creek were named after Grizzly Bill Holcomb, a hunter and miner who first discovered gold there. In fact, there are still 2,000 open claims existing, some active. Nearby had been the town of Belleville, named for the first child born there in the 1860s, Belle. Back then, it had a gold rush boom town population of over 10,000, and lost being the county seat by only two votes. I don’t remember much about those times, but San Bernardino became the county seat with the claim to fame as the site of the original MacDonald’s. I do remember stopping there after skiing in the late 40s and early 50s to load up with cheap burgers and shakes.
Continuing on 3N16, we later came to the Big Pine Flats Campground and another pit stop. As it was noon, there was some grumbling from the ranks about lunch, but it was raining slightly and the insensitive leader pushed on. In about another half hour we came to the bottom of the Holcomb Creek Trail, where the creek crosses 3N16 and where we had our lunch stop overlooking the creek and with dry weather. Following that, we backtracked to Big Pine Flats but turned from there onto 3N14, the Coxey Truck Trail which goes from Fawnskin down to Apple Valley. We took the Fawnskin direction, passing the Hanna Flat Campground on the way, named after one of our participants perhaps, and past the Snow Slide Trail that lead to Butler Peak. Those trails are still closed after severe fire damage. Upon reaching Fawnskin, some of us went off to tour and do different things and some went back to the campground after first stopping to get gas.
At camp Saturday evening, we had an excellent pot luck dinner with a great variety of treats to choose from. Later we had a campfire where Hannah Friedman had us play Mad Libs, a game where we were asked to supply various parts of speech at random. When done, these become part of a story that’s quite funny. That night it again rained intensely. No one drowned but Jim Proffitt turned up missing, possibly washed away. We checked the drainage on the way out; no Jim. Is one loss acceptable?
Sunday morning some others also had to leave, but the eight vehicles remaining went to the top of 2N02 by Baldwin Lake. This trail goes most of the way to Pioneer Town near Yucca Valley, our destination. On the first part of the trail, there was a water crossing – deep, but not too deep. Right after that, a section that had become a bit rougher than it had been previously. Again, everyone made it through just fine. Subsequently we came to the Rose Mine site, where there’s still an adit, though it’s barred a few feet in. That mining operation covered a lot of the area, and was the most productive in the San Bernardino Mountains, which in turn was the most productive in Southern California.
We arrived at Pioneer Town around noon. It was constructed as a movie set with many western type buildings, and got its name from some of the original investors, the Sons of the Pioneers, Roy Rogers’ band many of us remember. Since it was lunch time, we went to the restaurant, where they had a large table setup that accommodated all of us. The food was a little pricey, but the quality was good. I had the barbecued salmon which couldn’t have been better, especially for desert fish.
After lunch, we split up to go our separate ways towards home. Many thanks to all who came.
Check out the photos!