San Bernardino Peak Hike – 06/18/2016

Another amazing Saturday hiking adventure full of fun and new friendships created. Just 5 miles away from the tallest mountain in Southern California, San Gorgonio, is San Bernardino Peak that tops out at 10,649 ft. with a vertical gain of 4,702 ft. Strenuous hiking of 16.5 miles out and back from Angelus Oaks which is off the highway 38. An Adventure Pass is needed to park here and permits to hike which 3H (Hiking For Health And Happiness) had provided. Thanks to Ricardo Cruz and Maglory Maza for the invitation. Our shirt color for this hike is orange.

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Our meeting place was at the Mill Creek Ranger Station, 34701 Mill Creek Rd, Mentone, CA 92359, for those who were not familiar of the San Bernardino trailhead. Some left their cars there and carpooled to the trailhead. A total of 51 hikers joined the 6 Pack of Peaks Challenge and we are now at peak number four for this year. Ricardo gave some introductory instructions in Spanish with the translation done by Lissinia Aguilar. Since we were a large group, the ranger informed Ricardo that the group has to be divided into 12 hikers each. We get penalized if we don’t follow the ranger’s instructions and won’t be admitted to hike San Gorgonio later in a coupe of months.  At the start, we had 4 groups but we had latecomers that got added to the 4th group. Sergio Cruz took the overall lead for this hike and the 1st group. The 2nd group was led by Maglory, the 3rd group was led by Melevy Osorio-Sorto, and the last and 4th group was led by Isa Galan. Ricardo stays at the back to make sure everyone is accounted for and no one is left behind. 

We also had a special celebrity in our group. His name is Don Viejo, aka Don Buchanon, a 90 year old runner, who’s young at heart, and still pushes his limits by hiking long distances. I saw online articles that he posts the old way at trails that he’s looking for a lady hiking companion. Hmm, I better follow his footsteps to find my female partner(s). Oh wait, I am doing that already. LoL πŸ˜€ Even though he didn’t summit that day, it was just an honor meeting Don Viejo along the hiking trails of San Bernardino Peak. Lissinia guided him and others who decided to go back to the parking lot.

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The hike started with some switchbacks going up until I saw paradise where the ground is flat at Manzanita Springs. It’s filled with lush green vegetation. Mostly manzanitas which are evergreen shrubs but there were other types of plants there too which I’m not familiar off that are quite as beautiful too. Manzanitas bloom in the winter to early spring and carry berries in spring and summer. The berries which resembles a miniaturized apple and flowers of most species are edible hence the name. I saw several great places to camp. We also saw a lone wheelbarrow without the wheels. πŸ˜€ Along the trail has a lot of shaded areas and a few sections of open areas. Columbine Springs and Johns Meadow are close by. At least I got a meadow with my name on it. LoL πŸ˜€

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As we head up again with more switchbacks, passing Limber Pine Springs, were we found water streaming down the mountain. On one of our trail stops, I visited the 1st group to chat and a lady approached me and said you looked familiar. To my surprise, it was my Spartan volunteer partner Norma Leanos. We worked at the bag check area. I did mentioned to her about my hiking adventures. What a small world. A little further ahead, we stopped at the Washington Monument. No, it’s not named after President George Washington but to Colonel Henry Washington, an army survey team, who established this monument as a survey point for Southern California.   An old plaque is marked on the ground with rocks around it which is similar to the one we saw at Throop Peak. The view is amazing here as you look around. You can see Big Bear from this area.

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On our last push to the top, literally for me, I felt my upper thigh feeling it. Thanks to Meredith Crane for that Vegan jerky that she gave me last weekend that helped me through the hike. Such an accomplishment of all the hikers who made it to the top especially to the last group and my friend, Hector Martinez. Met some new friends like Gerardo Perez and Shane Henson. Amazing views all around the peak of Big Bear Lake, Mt. Baldy, Mt. San Jacinto, San Gorgonio, and the Inland Empire. We had our lite lunches and did a lot of photos. I shared some of my Tajin spiced apples with lime. Since Lissinia’s high heels tradition became so popular on the last hike, a few ladies  brought their high heels this time for a photo shoot. Surprisingly, Ricardo joined the group. LoL πŸ˜€ It was so funny. My jaw started to hurt.

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As we head back down, we stopped by a stoned bench were everyone took photos. At that area, you can see below the views of Yucaipa, Hemet, and even Lakes Elsinore and Perris. A little further down, Ismael stopped at Limber Pine Springs to fill his reservoir with water from the stream which he filtered. As we continued our 8 mile descent, I admired the landscape of Manzanita Springs. As we finally reached the parking area, as a tradition, we gave hi fives to each hiker who completed Peak number 4.

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We waited a few more minutes for the last hikers to come back down. While the rest of the hikers went home. Had some beers courtesy of Ray Ontiveros and friends. While the 3H family prepare a feast for the remaining hikers. We congratulate the last hikers who arrived and minutes later we all chowed down fried rice, tortillas, and steamed chicken with homemade mole. It was so delicious that I had seconds. πŸ™‚ Thank you 3H for the amazing hike and a delicious feast.

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Before the hike started, the weather forecast was above 90s but we didn’t feel it. In fact, we felt the cool breeze. It was only when we left the mountains that the temperature registered above 90. In my opinion, San Bernardino Peak was my favorite amongst the Six Pack of Peaks. Although, each one of these peaks stands out on its own with their unique qualities. This peak spells out beauty to me as green as my favorite color covered the landscape. At the top, it wasn’t as majestic as the others but I love it. 

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