Mineshaft Flat to San Gorgonio Peak to South Fork Trailhead (15 miles, +2,100/-5,000 feet).

Half Cookie and I originally planned to be out for two nights, but it was COLD last night, and the nights are long this side of the equinox.  We decided to head for the summit and then back down to South Fork, saving the San Bernardino Ridge for another trip.

We got the perfect morning start, half an hour before sunrise and after warming up with a bit of a climb, we found a lovely spot for hot chocolate.

Good morning!
Hello Droste!

After breakfast we continued our climb through the krummholz and into the moonscape near the summit.

The USGS calls that plain “The Tarn”

We spent the day leapfrogging with three guys we passed yesterday at Dry Lake.  They were having a hard time finding water, so I offered some of mine, but they said they had enough to make it to the next source.

Soon we passed the wreckage of a military plane that crashed here in the 1950s.  It was strange to see all that heavy metal so far from a trailhead.

Half Cookie ponders a memorial for the crew

I really loved the views of an unnamed peak below us.  Some time I will have to come back and climb that use trail up its ridge.

Peak 10866

We passed a sign for the peak where the Fish Creek Trail intersects with a spur trail to the summit.  As it turns out, that would be our last sign — the one at the top is no longer there!

This will have to do

The peak itself was busy.  As it turns out, every last one of us was from San Diego!  We crowded in for a group photo, but I felt a little strange asking for a picture myself, so we just hung around a bit enjoying the scene before heading down.

San Diego reunion
View from the top
Heading back down
Cutting through the chaparral
Last view of the mountain
A golden good-bye

By 5pm we were at the trailhead and on our way to delicious Sichuan food back in San Diego.

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