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2019 - Trip Report - San Dimas Experimental Forest

Trip Report: San Dimas Experimental Forest

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 • by Bob Jacoby

It was a beautiful, sunny day as we gathered together at the Glendora Forest Service Ranger Station for what proved to be an outstanding outing to the San Dimas Experimental Forest. We had a total of six cars that included the following individuals: Beth Mika, Danny and Norma Siler, Alan and Ding Wicker, Janet and Pete Austin, and Robert Wieting with family members. Oh yes, I almost forget to mention Bob Peltzman. This was on a trip that we didn’t get lost on! I should also mention that joining me on the trip were my friends Richard Brazier and Chris Parker. (Chris is now a DE member.)

Our group was joined at the Ranger Station by Ranger Pete Wohlgermuth who was actually our leader for the day. Pete was a wealth of knowledge regarding the Experimental Forest and was very patient with us as we asked numerous question about what the Experimental Forest was all about.

As the trip began we were on forest service paved roads that were closed to regular traffic. We were able to make several stops that provided a great view of Big Dalton Canyon and the San Gabriel Valley below. Ranger Pete was able to provide with tons of information on the various watersheds and the condition of the chaparral and trees that we were viewing.

We learned from Ranger Pete that the San Dimas Experimental Forest serves as a field laboratory for studies of chaparral and related ecosystems. The location in the San Gabriel Mountains above Los Angeles makes it a very valuable research site as it is close to urban universities and it is protected from public disturbance. It is also important because so little public land is available for field research as a result of pressure for recreation sites. The Forest Service is always trying to balance these seemingly conflicting priorities.

As we made our way up the canyon we gained more knowledge from Pete. We stopped at Tambark Falls for lunch. This was in a beautiful area that was ideal for a lunch break. It is amazing how your lunch can taste so good when you are in a beautiful spot like this. This complex included some lab facilities as well as a residential building where Forest Service employees and researchers could spend the night.

After everyone had lunch and explored the Tambark Falls complex we got back in our vehicles and headed a little farther up the canyon to the Lysimeter Tunnel. Pete gave us a brief, but fascinating, lecture on how it was constructed and the installation of the equipment it contains. This is another example about how much we learned on this fascinating trip.

Alter we left the tunnel we started to head back down a canyon. Before we knew it we were on interesting and fascinating dirt roads that definitely required high clearance, if not four wheel drive. These last few miles capped a glorious day in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Once again, we couldn’t have been luckier than to have Ranger Pete Wohlgermuth as our leader. Not only did he provide detailed and interesting information, but he went way above and beyond the call of duty to open up some very difficult locked gates that could have shut down our trip.

All in all, this was a great day for the Desert Explorers who attended this trip. I am hopeful that something like can happen again in the not too distant future. Even though yours truly was very much under the weather that day, I still had a wonderful time. Indeed, we joined a few people on a sojourn to The Donut Man in Glendora which was just a few blocks from the Ranger Station! That was the capstone to a perfect day.  ~ Bob