San Juan Soujourn
Ted Kalil • August 22nd, 2015
Undeterred by my bad press, Jerry and Dolly Dupree, Frederic and Barbara Raab, Nan Healy, Bob Jacoby, Nelson Miller, John and Helen Carson and friends Al and Laura, Terry and Eileen Ogden, and I met up at the Cranston Work Center of the Forest Service. Also there were maybe 20 members of SCORE (Southern California Off Road Explorers), who were also going to travel up Rouse Ridge. They left a little before us, but we didn’t want to be behind them with that many vehicles.
So, after a brief meeting, we decided to reverse our planned route accordingly, and started up Bee Canyon, 5S09. From the many rainstorms this trail had become much rougher and is rated blue, More Difficult. No one had any real difficulty with it, though, as we climbed the mountain. At a little after 11:00 am we came to a water crossing, the South Fork of the San Jacinto River, and although the hour was a bit early we decided to have lunch there because of the beautiful setting that had shade.
Following lunch we continued up Bee Canyon until it ended at Pine Cove, a small community near Idyllwild. Then we took SH 243 through Idyllwild and after a wrong turn down SH 74 (Turnaround Ted at it again!) we turned off at 6S13, which goes near Lake Hemet. I missed a turn, where I’m not sure, and we went up and around Thomas Mountain, where there were terrific views of the valleys and far off places. At the Tool Box Springs campground we made another comfort stop where John Carson also jury rigged his broken CB antenna. We followed this trail until it came out to SH 74 again, but at a different place. Since it was now 3 pm and was too late to go back to my intended route, we dispersed for home. This made it more convenient and faster for many. I promised we’d do the Rouse Ridge part through the wilderness corridor some other time and possibly include a side trip to a fire lookout nearby. Many thanks to all who attended!
Ted Kalil, Leader Demeritus
photos provided by Mal Roode, and Jerry DuPree