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San Bernadino Peaks and Fire

Peak Summited2020 San Bernardino Peak
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadForsee Creek Trailhead
Hiking CompanionsHiked with a partner
Road ConditionsRoad rough but passable
Bug StatusBugs were not too bad
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition

This started awesome and ended unfortunate.  We started in the dark just before 5AM when the temps at the trailhead were perfect.  Shorts and tshirt due to the heat wave.  We new we had to hit 10K before noon or it would be toasty.  Starting from Forsee and making a loop through Johns Meadow we were able to hit both West and East SB Peak.  Even though this hike was 18 miles it still seemed easier than San Jacinto from Marion Mountain, probably because there are no big steps so its not that harsh on the knees.  Although coming down through John's Meadow is steep and there are downed trees on the trail ( I think 2 if I remember correctly).

We had lunch at the peak around 10AM and as we were sitting there saw smoke forming right in front of us.  It was now what has become the devastating El Dorado fire 🙁   This is such an unfortunate tradgedy with destruction and now a fire fighter death.  As we were hiking down the smoke plume became very apparent and the air began to smell like smoke.  Hikers heading up were asking if we felt it was safe to proceed.  I told them they could get a good view of the fire at the bench about a mile from the peak.   They said they would check it out.   We continued to hurry out of there as things could change fast and I also didn't want to have to go home via Big Bear if they shut the 38 down.  Fortunately we made it before that but you could really see the flames on the drive out.

As for the rest of the hike out, John's meadow was a great place to fill up on water.  My 4 liters ran out slightly before we reached Forsee creek but fortunately I wasn't dying.  After about the 8500 ft mark you could really start to feel the heat.   It didn't make the last few miles from John's creek very pleasant but we knew with the  heat wave it would be hot so we were not surprised.  It was still under 90 degrees.   The smoke started getting very irritating but the masks we had for covid helped.

So far this is my favorite hike of the 4 I have done far.  I hope to do San Gorgonio and maybe Sawmill once the closures are over.  I'm so glad the challenge has been extended till the end of the year.  I wasn't going to post any of my hikes assuming I wouldn't get a chance to finish the challenge.

 

John meadow is the perfect place to fill up on water.  My 4 liters ran out before.

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