10/27/2019 at 7:26 pm #3638
Planned a trip to camp at the summit of San Gorgonio*. The forecast called for 35mph winds (which I assume means even higher at the summit). I started having reservations about camping up there. We got a late start which just added to my hesitation since we would likely summit close to dark. Would have been tough trying to set up our new tent (first time- we’d only practiced in the garage twice) in the wind and dark. I was also experiencing some hip pain for some reason so I wasn’t looking forward to the trail after the Saddle.
*My permit was for camping on the summit. I took a chance and assumed I was ok to camp at Fish Creek Saddle since there was no one there. Sorry Ranger Lon! 🙂
Road to the trailhead is in good condition but I would not try it without a high clearance vehicle. I usually take our Civic to trailheads and have taken it on some questionable trails. For 95% of this trail it probably would have been fine in a regular car. But that other 5%… It’s a 7 mile road back to the trailhead. Not a fun walk if you get stuck. We recently bought a Crosstrek and I’m glad I had it on this trail. Took me about 45 minutes to make that 7 miles. Max (the husky) got carsick. 🙁
Hiked from Fish Creek Trailhead to Fish Creek Saddle- about 5 miles. Nice trail- recently opened up after a fire years ago.
Trail was in good condition. Few downed trees but with easy to find ways around or a quick climb over. A couple of small slightly washed out areas but otherwise no problems. There is water about 1.5 miles in and then at about 2.5 miles (soon after Fish Creek Camp). There is no water after that spot.
Fish creek saddle is a nice camp but I only noticed one really nice place to set up a tent (see picture where we pitched the tent). Didn’t walk around too much but this spot was great.
It was VERY windy (boy am I glad we didn’t camp on the summit), but the trees (and the wind break) cut down most of it. I did worry about falling trees a bit, but there were no “widow makers” that were a danger to where we set up. Something to think about, though, next time I consider camping in the wind.
Lastly, it’s hunting season….. expect to hear gunshots (and see messy campsites).
A few pics of our adventure.
Remnants of the fire.
First water source- about 1.5 miles in.
Second water source- about 2.5 miles in. Soon after Fish Creek Camp
*THIS IS THE LAST WATER SOURCE
Pictures make it look less than it was. There was plenty of water flowing this weekend.
Camp with sleepy dog.
Mess left by hunters (assuming it was the people who were camped a little before Fish Creek Camp). This wasn’t there when we passed them on our way up or when we came back to get water at the first water source (long story) shortly after. But it was there when we hiked back the next day. It also appears they had a fire.
I took advantage of some extra dog poop bags I brought and cleaned it up. Max carried it back. Teamwork! ha ha.
Any questions, ask away.
10/27/2019 at 8:42 pm #3641
Should also mention that I would recommend gaiters. Even though I had long (relatively thin) hiking pants, those spiky plants and some other sharp stuff was just bad enough I wished I brought mine.
Had I been wearing my thicker (5.11 ?) hiking pants, it probably would have been ok.
10/27/2019 at 9:30 pm #3642Ranger LonParticipant
Mike, next time you come in remind me to sternly shake a finger at you!!!
Seriously though, I would have encouraged you to do what was safe, and as the camp was not overcrowded there is no harm.
Great info and pictures and we all appreciate your taking the initiative to leave the place cleaner than you found it.
Hope your hip feels better soon so we can get more pictures of your hikes.
10/28/2019 at 8:03 am #3643
Ha ha… Thanks Ranger Lon.
More pictures for those interested.
Max scoping out the way around this tree. I think dogs can smell the tracks from other people. He seemed to know intuitively which way to go.
Trail surface varies in places. Here is a rock filled part of the trail.
10/28/2019 at 8:54 am #3644
The SGWA trailcrew just worked and cleared the Aspen Grove Trail this last Saturday 10/26 up to the Fish Creek Trail Sign Junction.
Next weekend 11/2-11/3, there will be a SGWA trailcrew working the trail from Fish Creek Trailhead to as far pasted Fish Creek Camp that they can make it. They will be trying to remove some of those tree obstacles and try to fix some tread washouts.
Fish Creek Saddle Camp wasn’t effected by the Lake Fire and is still a beautiful spot to camp. And it is nice to know that there is still water just after Fish Creek Camp & at Lodgepole Springs.
Also trail from Fish Creek Saddle Camp to Mineshaft Saddle was effected by the Lake Fire but the trail is still in good conditions since some of SGWA volunteers have cleaned that area too.
10/28/2019 at 11:06 am #3645
Thanks Shawn. I walked the trail from FC Saddle to Mineshaft Saddle that night. Trail WAS in very good condition. Makes sense now that I see the crew worked on it.
We appreciate the work the trailcrew does.
All the best.
10/29/2019 at 7:24 am #3649
Just realized I forgot to include Lodgepole Spring as an optional water source for this trip report.
You would take the Dry Lake Camp trail from Fish Creek Saddle to get there.
It’s a bit out of the way, but an option should those find themselves in need of water.
10/29/2019 at 11:17 am #3651
Here is a note that there is a trace trail or old trail from Dry Lake to Fish Creek Saddle which is only about 1 mile from Saddle to water if it is still flowing.
See area circled on pictured map.
10/29/2019 at 1:24 pm #3652
Good stuff, Shawn. After thinking about it for a bit, I think I would have preferred going there to fill up v.s. carrying the extra water all the way from Fish Camp. 🙂 (assuming there would be water there of course).
We wandered down that way for a bit just to check out the trail. Nice sign pointing the way. Trail was easy enough to follow.
10/29/2019 at 9:29 pm #3653
Just another note. Trace trails or Cross County trails are usually not maintained and their condition will vary by usage.
The Dry Lake to Fish Creek Saddle trace trail is really not a visible trail as much as it just follows the natural ravine. You might be able to follow a somewhat visible trail around Lodgepole Spring but otherwise you just follow the ravine which after 800ft of elevation gain will crest at the saddle (the lowest point between two hills at the crest point of the ridge before descending to the other side).
10/30/2019 at 11:47 am #3654Ranger LonParticipant
We would like to do a call-out to praise some people that have gone out of their way to clean up after others in the Wilderness recently. Do you have any objection if I were to mention you (and Max) on our Facebook page?
Hunting season can bring out a lot of abuse in the mountains – more than usual, and I have recently heard of a few different people that took the time to leave the mountain cleaner than they found it and we’d like to share that to a broader audience than the Forum.
10/30/2019 at 9:37 pm #3656
That would be very nice. No objection at all. If you wouldn’t mind mentioning both, I have two huskies who trade off going with me. Max and Mika (Mika is the one who you used to create the magnet). They’ve made quite a few friends on the trails. 🙂
While I, of course, don’t do it for any recognition, I post about it here so that the Volunteers and Rangers like yourself see that many of us regular hikers try to help out when we can.
I would like to keep backpacking for a while and would hate to have sites close due to people like those who left the mess at Fish Creek.
All the best.
11/04/2019 at 7:05 am #3657
Saw your post on Facebook. That was very nice of you. Thanks.
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