Today I finished hike number 48/52 for the 52 Hike Challenge in 2015. I made my way out to Angelus Oaks early this morning to tackle San Bernardino Peak. This hike is 16 miles round-trip with about 4500ft of elevation gain. Unfortunately, I had to leave Isla behind on this one. A few months ago, researchers found two dear ticks infected with Lyme Disease in the Angelus Oaks forest. With all of the low lying brush and shrubbery on this trail, there was no way I was taking a chance with my precious little pup.
I arrived to the trailhead at 7am, and noticed fewer cars in the parking lot than usual. The weather has been a bit strange this week, with brutal heat and lot’s of humidity. Very unusual for Southern California. According to the weather forecast, the humidity is on it’s way out. I could definitely see the weather pattern changing as clouds of different types formed across the horizon and swirled in the wind. The cloud cover was very nice, as my last few outings have been under an empty sky with lots of sun exposure.
Even though it was just past 7 am, the humidity in the air had me sweating. It’s very unusual for it to be that humid above 6000ft. I pressed on and entered the San Gorgonio Wilderness. Seeing this sign makes me remember how lucky I am to have the San Gorgonio, San Jacinto, and San Gabriel wilderness areas so close by.
The beautiful thing about this trail to San Bernardino Peak is the way it climbs in sections. The first few miles ascend rapidly before leveling out for a nice stretch along a flat ridge. It’s always nice to have a peak bagging climb that allows for a little trail relaxation. It was especially nice today with the everchanging sky.
I always know the flat land is about to end when I reach the junction for John’s Meadow. That trail goes downhill, I take Limber Pine to continue on towards San Bernardino Peak. The switchbacks after the junction are pretty easy to handle, and offer a few spots to walk off trail to take in the views of the Inland Empire. There’s one lookout in particular that has a flat slab of granite for a bench. The views today were incredible. I could see San Gorgonio, San Jacinto, and all of the peaks in my backyard range, the San Gabriels.
After taking a few photos at the lookout with the bench, I continued upward towards the Washington Monument and passed 10,000ft of elevation. Only 700 more feet to go.
There is only a short distance left to San Bernardino Peak after leaving the Washington Monument. I’m not sure if it’s the amount of time I’ve spend at altitude, or the lack of sun beating down today, but I was feeling really fresh when I reached the summit. I took off my pack, and spent some time enjoying the views.
The clouds were really starting to darken as I began to make my way down. I felt a drop or two here and there, but nothing seemed charged about the clouds overhead. Luckily, rain never fell, and the walk downhill was just as pleasant as the walk uphill. Another great hike in the books, and it’s almost time to close out the 52 hike challenge for 2015.