This Monday I finished hike number 28/52 for the 52 Hike Challenge in 2015, and have now completed 330 of my goal of 1000 miles for this year. To celebrate Memorial Day, Julia and I decided to take the dogs out for a hike. After hiking San Gorgonio on Sunday and seeing the thick blanket of fog covering the valley, we wanted to hike to a peak that would afford much better views of it. In my opinion, Cucamonga Peak is hands down the best summit to look down onto the Inland Empire from. We just had to hope the heavenly hiking conditions would continue for one more day. This hike is 12 miles roundtrip, with about 4000 ft of elevation gain.
We arrived to the Icehouse Canyon parking lot at around 9AM and headed towards the trail. It was a surprisingly warm morning, with abundant sunshine and breathtaking blue skies. The first two or three miles of the trail were overflowing with Memorial Day hikers, and it was really cool to see how many families were out enjoying the day together. Things really cleared out once we made it past the Icehouse Saddle, and we were also feeling blessed to see that the sky was shaping up to be a real work of art. For whatever reason, just as we left the Icehouse Saddle, Lilly decided she no longer wanted to hike. Lucky for her, I had my backpack set up for one dog on a luxury ride. She sat supported in my pack like a child, and looked around to take in the views and greet passing hikers.
The final climb was a little tougher than usual, as I had an extra 15 pounds to carry uphill. The slight struggle was worth it, as the views from the top of Cucamonga Peak were the best I’ve ever seen in my 10+ times at the summit. Lilly stayed on my back and took in the scenes from her chariot, while Isla danced around remembering the times we’ve camped at this exact spot.
It was incredible to be looking out at San Gorgonio having hiked it just one day earlier. From the line of sight that we had, it appeared as though this day would have been a much better one to make our way to the summit of San Gorgonio. Nonetheless, 30 miles and 9000 ft of elevation gain in two days is always a lot of fun regardless of the conditions.
Our final stop at the top was at what we like to call the “Pride Rocks” (inspired by the Lion King). These two rocks are probably the most photographed rocks in all of the San Gabriels, and for great reason, as the images always come out quite stunning. With the clouds sitting puffy and white below, I shot away, image after image. I’ll never get tired of this hike or this peak, and days like this only give me more motivation to conintue adding it to my summer hiking schedule.