Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Small Mystery of Monument Peak (Part 3)

(GPS: N34 14.730 W117 21.205)

I knew I was not going to be rewarded with really great views, but getting to this monument was the important thing. Here is close up:
This is California Historcal Landmark NO. 618 the GARCÉS-SMITH MONUMENT. You can try to click the picture to read or read my transcription below.
"The Mojave Indian Trail
Traveled by Francisco Garces
March, 1776, and Jedediah S. Smith
November, 1826."

This monument marks part of the old Indian trail from Needles to San Bernadino. The first person of European heritage that came through here would have been Francisco Garcés. Then, in 1826, mountain man Jedediah Smith came through here. Smith is important for being the first American to explore the land. When he came through here with his party he ended up at the San Gabriel Mission for a time. Since he was on Mexican foreign soil at the time he was checked out as being a possible spy by the Mexican governor of San Diego. He was eventually told he had to go back the way he came. Smith came back this way, but then cut through to the San Joaquin Valley. Then he found a way through the Sierra Nevada. He eventually came back this way the next year on another expedition.

The above picture is looking toward Mt. Baldy and HWY 15 below. If I were to continue to the right side of this picture over the next peak I would see into the Lake Silverwood area.
In the above picture I am looking toward the east. The high peak in the middle and in the background is very close to San Gorgonio. If that mountain is not it, then it is directly behind it. The mountain in the background to the right that seems dwarfed by haze except for the top is San Jacinto.

You can see San Jacinto below too. The trail I took hugs the mountain on the right.
I was certainly happy to solve what appeared to be a mystery to me. There are a few sources that give brief explanations about this site, but this is not your typical California Historical Landmark where big signs identify where it is, nor does it have the typical monument logo.

Okay, so it was time to head down which seems like it should be easy since all I would do is descend back the way I came. Here is what I did not tell you in the previous blogs. I was told that I would have Gatorade in my trunk when I drove out here. I specifically asked about this the morning I came. It turns out I did not have any. Okay, no problem because I had a few bottles of water.

That was okay in the morning, but it was still dry. As it got warmer I started to feel it on the way down. I used the water, but I was still not feeling good. If I were hiking in the Eastern Sierra somewhere this probably would not be an issue. I can go quite sometime in cooler conditions without any drink. In fact, about a month ago I did just that a bunch of times.

This area was different for me. The lack of electrolytes from Gatorade started doing strange things to me. I finished the hike and kept drinking water. On the way home I had a real woozy feeling. I should have stopped off and purchased a drink, but I just kept going home. I did get something to drink at home, but the effects of the heat and what I assume was dehydration stayed with me. For some reason my anxiety level was up for the next few days. This was something I had never experienced on any hike I have done before from Mt. Whitney to Towne Peak in Death Valley. The lesson: make sure you have your Gatorade with you!

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 Discovery Hit, Expeditionary, Tenebrous Brothers Carnival- Mermaid.