San Bernardino Mountains
August 23 - 25, 2013
By Ted Kalil
It started on Friday, August 23rd. The meeting spot was Yellow Post 4 on 1N02 where I was joined by Neal and Marian Johns, Mignon Slentz, and Mal Roode. All had difficulty finding the spot and I was accused (by Neal, of course) of providing the worst instructions ever. My response was that they hadn’t read them completely. Oh, well, they all got there.
Saturday morning we went to the Angelus Oaks restaurant for a great breakfast and were later joined by Nelson Miller, Rick and Sharon Cords, and Terry Ogden. From there we went down Middle Control Road to its bottom at the Santa Ana River, and then up 1N54, Clark’s Grade, for a short distance before turning on 1N04, the Converse Trail. When we reached Converse Station we proceeded up 2N06, the Radford Truck Trail, climbing up to 2N10, the Skyline Trail above Big Bear. Following that down to the Moonridge area, we went on to Big Bear Lake to top off our fuel tanks. Traffic in Big Bear was extremely heavy, possibly due to an Air Show being held. We saw several planes and a helicopter flying around.
Beyond Sugarloaf, we proceeded up 2N93, the Wildhorse Meadows Trail, and later had lunch when we found a little shade by a tree. When we got to SH 38, we went back down to 1N02 past the Heart Bar Campground to 1N05. Climbing up, we had an incident on that trail: a nut came loose. No, not who you think. Really, Neal had noticed unusual noises and upon inspection a sway bar-ectomy was required. In not much time the operation was successful and we continued on our way. I was searching for a view point at the end of that trail which looked down to the desert, but when we got to the area many clouds had formed. Our view was of a very large, very dark gray cloud only. The group had to take my word about what they weren’t seeing as I described El Paso, Texas, and San Diego. Back down to 1N02 and our campsite, where Terry left us (Rick and Sharon had already headed home) and Nelson stayed for the night.
Sunday morning Helen Vondrus came up in her yellow Jeep “Happy” and her dog Yukon. First we went three miles up 1N02 to the Coon Creek Cabin where there’s a great overlook and a vault toilet. The cabin was in use by a Boy Scout troop, but they didn’t mind the group going through it. Then we traveled to Seven Oaks, stopping at the burned out cabin where Christopher Dorner, the infamous ex-cop turned cop killer, had made his last stand. Nothing is left of the cabin and the area is fenced off to keep looters out because within hours of the incident people were going in to pick up items.
From there we again picked up Clark’s Grade for a short distance before turning on to 1N09. This trail had recently been reopened after being closed for a long time due to severe water damage. We could see that a lot of work had been done on this very long, interesting trail that spans from Seven Oaks near SH 38 clear over to SH 330, the road to Running Springs. It has many different facets: view points, creeks, sandstone cliffs, and shaded glens. We stopped for lunch at Bear Creek, where Marian found a nice shaded area right beside the creek. The dogs, Felice and Yukon, sure enjoyed the water. Afterwards, since Mignon and Mal wanted to go home, they went on ahead to the 330; we followed at a more leisurely pace. At the 330, Marian and Neal also went home, while Nelson, Helen and I went on up to Running Springs and then over to Lake Arrowhead.
We then picked up 2N33 to where it branched off to 2N34. We followed that to 2N37, a power line road that descends to Miller Canyon - very steep and paved in some sections to allow better traction for the utility vehicles. At the bottom, we stopped at the staging area before getting on SH 138 past Silverwood Lake. Helen proceeded on home to Lancaster while Nelson and I went to Apple Valley.
We had great weather (much cooler than the areas below), interesting trails that most hadn’t seen, and lots of laughs. Many thanks to all that came. They should have healed up in a few days.