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San Bernardino National Forest/Wilderness Area, CA
Vivian Creek Trail
14.0 miles roundtrip, elevation gain/loss ~5200' (complete)
Approximate elevations (start-peak) 6300-11499'
Hiked June 28, 1998 - Duration ~11 hrs.


sang_treessmall.jpg (25988 bytes)Once again, El Niño rears its ugly head on Southern California hikers. I was hoping the recent warm temperatures would help lessen the snow on local trails, but I was wrong. This hike was similar to the two previous hikes, lots of water around in streams and falls, and correspondingly abundant plant life. This made for beautiful conditions at lower elevations, but messy trails higher up.

My friend Shelton and I got off to an early start, leaving the trailhead around 7am. I remembered from an earlier climb that the first mile was a killer set of STEEP switchbacks, but it didn't seem too bad this time around. Maybe all the hillwork I've been doing while running paid off. Once we climbed over the first mile (1000' vertical), beautiful forests and streams were laid all around. The streams were flowing very high and fast, if you can get outdoors in Southern California, now is the time to see great things. The trail was muddy and overrun with streams at some points, but it was fairly easy going. A deer was spotted foraging near the trail, which was an amazing treat, as were the abundance of birds to listen to and watch. We plodded along the trail, occasionally crossing large chunks of snow until we eventually made it to the High Creek campsites, at about 10,000'. We'd gone five miles up the trail and it quickly turned to nearly complete snow coverage. Since I didn't bring my ice ax, and Shelton was wearing boots that had no traction, we decided to turn around at that point and come down early. Two groups ahead of us later decided the same thing, and I doubt if anyone summitted San G that day. The way down was nice and easy, since I still had lots of energy, but the temperatures had risen significantly. It was probably around 80ºF, which is just blazing heat when you're trying to hike down quickly. Also, about a million bugs came out to enjoy the afternoon heat along with us. On the final leg, we had to go through some migrating lady bug swarms. It was nuts, it looked like rain, except it was all bugs. I had to spit out at least five of them, and several tried to make my ear their home. When we finished hiking, I still felt great, instead of the total exhaustion I normally experience after hikes. Maybe I should cut hikes short more often.

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Hiking photos (8 total)

California Hiking - the best reference for all the hikes I've taken, covers all of California.

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