Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Small Mystery of Monument Peak (Part 1)

(GPS: N34 12.520 W117 21.010)

This is one of those hikes I have done that was not really intended to be a scenic one. There is nothing in this one that I experienced the "wow" factor while hiking and viewing the area. This one I had interest in mainly because it was historic, and there was a little mystery involved.

The mystery was that in doing the research for it I could not find very much about it. There are lots of areas called "Monument Peak," but the one I was after is near San Bernadino east of the Cajon Pass. I have driven by this one lots of times going up the pass, but knew very little about it. The actual monument you will see in one of the next blogs is a California Historical Landmark, but everything I read in books about the historical landmarks said to visit the local ranger office for directions. At the time I was not sure if you needed some sort of permit or what to get to it based on what I had read.

I eventually found out enough to get me going, but it was a case of just doing the hike and figuring what was really going on as I was doing it. The morning I did it I drove south of Devore on the 215 HWY. I ended up at Pine Ave., past a residential area, and stopped there. The road I hiked on is called Bailey Canyon Rd. Now it turns out that if you have a good 4WD you do not even have to do any serious hiking. I was there to hike it though and did expect to do about 3,000 ft. of elevation hiking. I cannot remember how many miles it is, but it seemed to me about 5-6 one way.
This is the type of road I hiked on. It is a gradual hike on a dirt road. On the way up I did not encounter anyone, but I did see a man and his dog taking a short cut.
These types of hikes are much different to me than Sierra hikes. Southern California hikes always have a different feel to them in that even though I may encounter forest areas I always feel like I am in the desert going through them. The smell is different, it is much warmer, and I just do not feel as good. Normally, these types of hikes are just exercise hikes to get me prepared for the summer in the north. What kept me going on this one was the end goal and not going up this road to some unknown mountain.
The road goes back and forth through the mountain side with a switchback or two. You do get to see into the beginning of the roads to where Cajon Pass is. I believe the mountain with the most snow on it is Mt. Baldy (Mt. San Antonio)
This next picture shows you how the road goes and then switchbacks higher.

The hike itself was gradual like this, but I kind of got sick of how long it took to do this. It did take about 3 hours which is the normal pace for a 3,000 ft. mountain. As the sun came up the dryness of this hike would start kicking in. It was something that did not affect me on the way up, but it would do some strange things to me on the way down, going home, and over the next few days. I had never had anything this strange happen to me before on a mountain hike.

I will continue this in the next blog.

Edit (May 2012): I did this hike again in March 2012. The following is the video from it, and a little tribute to my cat as well.

The Small Mystery of Monument Peak (Youtube Version)

The Small Mystery of Monument Peak (Vimeo Version)

Music used from Incompetech.com: Discovery Hit, Expeditionary, Tenebrous Brothers Carnival- Mermaid.