Hey Brian! Yup, that’s the one! The junction where you choose between Alger and the divide is actually just a couple hundred feet beyond the wilderness sign, and the trail to the divide and SB east peak (or Anderson, if you choose!) is pretty lightly used. A couple of years ago, the trail crews went up and cut many of the big dead trees from the trail above the junction, but there are constant new blowdowns, and on my last trip up there, there were already like 10 new trees across that recently maintained part of the trail. On one trip, years ago, I counted 67 individual obstacles on the trail between the junction and the divide that required either scrambling over or around. It’s also brushy above 8,500 feet, but not as much as it was ten years ago. People often lose that trail on their way down it…i’ve heard lots of stories. 🙂 There’s also plenty of opportunity to just leave the trail and head up or down ridges, including a nice x-c scramble from a flat around 9,500 feet directly up large talus straight to SB East peak.
I have to assume that the trail was named no earlier than the late 60s or early 70s. I also recall reading that the “Alger Creek Lateral Trail” was added as a way to connect to the Falls Creek trail after the forest service “closed” access to that trail because of some private property issues at the bottom of the trail. I also recall reading that the Alger creek lateral trail follows an old flume! there’s some corrugated metal debris and old timbers right before you drop down to Alger creek heading east, and faint indications that some flume-like thing countours along the side of the mountain there, but for the life of me, I can’t recall where I read it. I went to the Smiley Library and got a copy of John Robinson’s history of the San Bernardinos yesterday. I’ll be back with a full report as soon as I’m able to validate (or discredit!) my memories.
That trail is popular with the rattlesnakes, for sure. Just last summer I was hiking it with my wife and stopped and turned around to ask her something. when she caught up to me, she said “what’s that at your foot?” To my displeasure, it was a very small, coiled rattler! Ha! I had missed stepping on it by about three inches. They’re all over the mountains, for sure, but they seem to be in greater numbers on the south side of the mountain. I guess it’s warmer?