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2011 Trip Report - San Bernardino Mountains

San Bernardino Mountains 2011

By Ted Kalil

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, we did  have that on Saturday night, but we first met up Friday afternoon just before it  started raining. The forecast was for 20% chance of rain, but this was at least  100%. However, although intense for a while, it stopped in about an hour. We had  reserved the Green Spot Equestrian Group Campground just off 2N93, and this  proved to be great: plenty of parking for everyone, double header toilets if you  don’t mind sharing (potty with a pal), and fire rings. Plus, it was all our own;  no access by anyone else.

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!