I had exactly an hour and a half to run today before meeting friends for happy hour and market night in the valley below the forest. Sounded like the perfect night to go for a run and explore the San Gorgonio Wilderness for the first time!I managed to get off work at three o clock in the afternoon, change into my running shorts as fast as I could in the employee bathroom and than race out the door and start the drive up to the mountains.
In the next year it is my goal to explore an area of these mountains that I do not know very well; the area near the San Gorgonio Wilderness off of Highway 38 near Forest Falls and Angeles Oaks.
I did an awesome run up here a few weeks ago up the backside of Sugar Loaf Mountain. This side of the mountain looks so different from my area of the mountains. It is so much more wilderness like over here. There are very few small villages and just a few nature church camps spread out miles on the rugged mountain highway.
I love driving my Subaru fast on mountain roads and it is so hard to go the speed limit of 55 up Highway 38. Even going the speed limit I have people passing me on the straight aways none stop. Locals drive fast on this empty highway! I saw multiple CHP and motorcycle cops on the way up. Later this same evening, Noah, a good friend who had moved to the “The Falls” six months ago told me over some Hangar Twenty Four craft beers, he had received two speeding tickets on this highway since he moved up six months ago.
“How she clocked me at 82 miles an hour going up hill, around a corner in a thirteen year old car, I have no idea!”
It is a real challenge driving this super fun and winding mountain road at the speed limit but I am trying really hard to get to my running destination with out getting a speeding ticket.
Today I had really no idea where that destination would be.
I started driving up the 38 blindly, thinking I would find a dirt road at some point, turn on my GPS and just run for four miles before giving myself a wet wipe sponge bath on the side of the road and putting on my cowboy boots for a night out on the town in Redlands.
I was having such a nice drive, singing along with the country music coming out of my speakers that I ended up driving all the way up to Jenk’s Lake Road, about forty five minutes East of Redlands, up into the mountains. It is so very pretty up by Jenk’s Lake. The cedars are super thick up here and you can smell them as soon as you exit your vehicle. Just as I turned up Jenk’s Lake road I came to a dirt road for a sign for Forsee Creek and I was running so behind schedule that I just thought to run there for a little bit.I jumped out of the car at the empty parking area and started running up a rocky dirt road with the words trail cut out onto a cardboard sign. I was running all up hill and I could see a little clearing ahead of me where the dirt road seemed to spread out to a parking area, this was about a mile up the dirt road.
Up ahead I saw a important sign…Wilderness permit required!
Shit, I had accidentally stumbled upon one of the trails to the summit of San Gorgonio, the tallest peak in our forest!I actually have plans to hike San G up Viviam Creek, the hardest trail up to the summit next week, so stumbling upon a similar trail I could practice on sounded great!
On the other hand, obviously I did not have a Wilderness Permit. I know that the rangers in this area are extremely anal about people hiking the trails of San Gorgonio with out Wilderness Passes; they want to know who is out here at all times.
I figured I was only going to go about a mile up the trail; I only had an hour at this point and I had a fully charged cell phone, my gps maping was on, I had mace, several nutrition bars and a full container of water, I would be fine for a mile run into the San Gorgonio Wilderness. If nothing else if I ran into a ranger and they told me to turn back I would. I saw no rangers vehicles in the parking lot though and figured that of the two vehicles that were parked at the trail head, I would probably not run into any one.
Than a mile up the trail I ran into a hippy girl with a mongrel dog smoking pot on the side of the trail, because of course doesn’t every one wander out into the middle of the forest to get high? This kind of annoys me; if it were not for the stoned hippies getting disorientated and lost in the forest maybe people like me who are actually prepared for nature would not have to go out of there way to get Wilderness Passes for easy day hikes.
Here’s an idea; meth is never a good idea when hiking.
Shit, tigers might chase you!
Past the baked hippie girl I continued up the trail and into the cedar forest. This trail was awesome! It was almost all in the shade and the temperature was nice and cool as I ran up. I get overheated quickly when I run and it was cooling off in the evening when I began my run, probably in the low fifties. It was such a nice evening to be out in the San Gorgonio Wilderness running!
I said goodbye to the San Gorgonio Wilderness full of cedars and red, red snow plant flowers and began my decent back down the mountainside.