By Marian Johns with a little help from Neal
Nineteen people in thirteen vehicles met at our home in Lytle Creek for the San Sevaine day trip. Participants were Dave McFarland, Ana Romero and her friend Robb Anderson, Tim Mullins, Roger and Alice Cannon, Dave Cox (my son), Jim Kay and his son Ryan, both driving their own Jeeps, Chuck and Jeanice Kalbach, Dave Welbourn, Mike and Phyllis Aguilar, Reda Anderson, Bob and Shirley Bolin, leader, Marian Johns and current hubby Neal. Son Dave served as Tail End Charlie and picked up the Jeep parts as they fell off.
Well, we had some good luck and some bad luck for this outing. Good luck consisted of the fact that: No Forest Adventure pass was required. I discovered that there are a few days during the year when the fee is waived, and it just happened that the weekend of September 23 and 24 was set aside to honor National Public Lands. I also learned that if you are just passing through National Forest lands, you don’t need a pass. As long as you stay in your vehicle you’re “passing through”. But if you get out of your vehicle you are “recreating” and you do need a pass. There seems to be a blurry line between recreating and passing through. If you are passing through, but have stopped and are still in your vehicle, you’re OK if your engine is still warm. If it’s cold, you’re probably recreating. Are you thoroughly confused now?
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Neal and I pre-ran the trail a few days earlier and found that the rumored washouts had been repaired so we were able to drive approximately 24 miles, all the way from Lytle Creek Canyon to Cucamonga Canyon.
There was no dust, thanks to the good rain we had the night before - the first since last April. The air was clean and fresh.
Our bad luck was also related to the weather: Leftover storm clouds hung over the mountain tops, and at the higher elevations we found ourselves enveloped by dense fog. It cleared a bit as we looped around to the upper reaches of Lytle Creek’s South Fork Canyon where we could see all the way to I-15 in Cajon Pass.
It was definitely chilly enough for long pants and jackets when we ate lunch in the fog at the campground where the huge log remnant of the Joe Elliott Memorial tree lays. DE member and explosives expert, Emmett Harder took this tree down back when the Forest Service determined it to be a potential liability because of its fire-weakened trunk.
What are the odds of meeting your ex-son-in-law whom you haven’t seen in twenty-some years in the fog on top of a mountain on this exact date - September 23, 2000 at this exact time - 11: 45 a.m.? I’d say they would be pretty slim odds, but that’s what happened to the Kalbachs when a group of Riverside Rough Riders, acting as Forest Service volunteers drove up to the campground while we were having lunch. What a surprise!
The fog continued to obscure the view of the valley below as we made our way toward Cucamonga Canyon. It also obscured the steep, breathtaking drop-offs, giving us a false sense of security and safety. Thankfully, everyone heeded the warning to be alert and there were no mishaps. (Don Putnam stayed home this weekend.)
Finally, as we descended out from under our foggy cocoon, we were able to see far across the L.A. basin, all the way to Catalina. What a fine ending to an otherwise dreary sort of day.
Actually, that was the end of the trip for only about half the group. The rest of us headed for the barbeque at Bob and Marilyn Martin’s home in Phelan via the “scenic” route of Lytle Creek, Sheep Canyon, Lone Pine Canyon and Wrightwood. Betty Wallin, who was going on Bob Jacoby’s trip the next day, joined us for the barbeque where twelve of us ate and visited until bedtime.