XMBC: Dry Lake Backpack 15-16 October 1988

What: A fall season single night backpack into the highest wilderness area in southern California.

Where: Backpack to Dry Lake in the San Gorgonio Wilderness from the Barton Flats area or Poopout Hill. San Bernadino Moutains. Optional hikes to San Gorgonio Mtn, 11,499 ft (also known as "Greyback"), the highest point in southern California, and other peaks in the area.

When: Sat-Sun, 15-16 October 1988. Lv: 9:30 am Sat, Ret: 5:00 pm Sun (approx).

Reservations: Required - contact leader. Club members will have first choice.

Statistics: Rating - Moderate (backpack). Elevation gain - 1400 ft to camp; Starting elev. 7600 ft; 8 mi RT. San Gorgonio from Dry Lake: Moderate; elev. gain: 2500 ft, 10 mi RT.

Route: From the end of the dirt road, we begin hiking at the Poopout Hill roadhead. Actually, the road has already taken us nearly to the top of what used to be a stiff hike, thus the name. According to Forest Service information, this road will be closed after the 1988 season. So our trip will be the last XMBC trip that only has to climb the 100 ft to get to the top of this hill. In 1 3/4 miles we reach South Fork Meadows, also known as "Thousand Springs", "Slushy Meadows", or "Skunk Cabbage Meadows". Here we make a left for Dry Lake, another 1 3/4 miles. The route to San Gorgonio will be via Mine Shaft Saddle and Sky High Trail. this circles the peak to the south and joins the Dollar Lake trail just west of the peak.

Maps: 7.5í Topos - Moonridge & San Gorgonio Mtn. Contact me for copies of sketches from other sources. If you have time, stop at Mill Creek Ranger Station & check out their maps & literature. Itís not necessary for this trip, but you can purchase a San Bernadino Forest Map for future reference.

General Description: From John Robinsonís "San Bernadino Mountain Trails".

"There is only one designated wilderness area in the San Bernadino Mountains. But for multitudes of hikers, it is the grandest in all of Southern California. This is the 35,000-acre San Gorgonio Wilderness, a high mountain wonderland of granite peaks, forests of pine and fir. Lush subalpine meadows, sparkling streams and placid lakes, and abundant wildlife. Man has wisely seen fit to set aside this region and preserve it forever in its pristine state. [It almost became a Ski resort. JRC] Here, under an evergreen canopy, alongside a singing stream or limpid pool, or high on a wind-washed ridge, you can find solitude and freedom, away from the civilization so near yet seemingly a world away. The nourishment afforded by true wilderness should redeem and revitalize you.

...starts from the roadhead on Poophout Hill, so named because hikers once had to start from far below and climb the hill before entering the wilderness proper. From Poopout Hill you travel through a verdant sanctuary of ponderosa and sugar pine and white fir to lush South Fork Meadows, where a multitude of springs form the headwaters of the Santa Ana River.

... Dry Lake sits in a great amphitheater, surrounded on three sides by the lofty horseshoe crest of Grinnell, Lake, San Gorgonio and Jepson Peaks. The lake is shallow, and in seasons of light precipitation, it dries up by midsummer - hence the name. [Iím told it still has water in it right now. JRC] But in early summer, after abundant rainfall, Dry Lake is full to the brim, and it beautifully mirrors the high granite ridges that soar above it. The forest cover on the surrounding slopes is almost exclusively lodgepole pine, with low clumps of chinquapin here and there. Dominated by the steep, grey-granite face of San Gorgonio, which is often snow-lined into midsummer, this delectable mountain basin approaches true alpine conditions and bears a striking resemblance to the High Sierra." Why say more?

Leader: Jack Cook, work: (213)333-5214, home: (213)371-2706, E-Mail: JCook:El Segundo:Xerox


Equipment & General: 10 - Essentials as always. Late season means we must be prepared for rain and cold. Poncho or equivalent. Tent with rainfly or access to equivalent. Insulation under sleeping bags is necessary (ie, foam pad, etc.) Note: New rain equipment, including tent flys, must normally have all seams treated with seam sealer. Contact me or another experienced backpacker if you need advice or a recommended equipment list. Rent expensive equipment before you buy unless you already know exactly what you need. I recommend pairing up with someone to share equipment if possible. Water will be treated or filtered (club filter).

Clothing: It will likely get chilly at night; probable freezing temperatures. Bring extra warm clothing to augment your sleeping bag, if necessary. Bring a warm sweater, heavy wool socks (2 pr), warm cap, mittens and a wind breaker (or parka) as a minimum. If your sleeping bag turns out to be chilly towards morning, donít hesitate to put on more clothing - the squirming will warm you up, too. Lightweight boots are much preferred, but if you donít have them yet, good running shoes will suffice. Bring 2 extra pairs of warm socks.

Food: Plan on 2 trail or cold lunches. 1 dinner - doesnít have to be freeze-dried food. Even a frozen steak will keep if adequately wrapped and stowed. If you are learning, keep it simple. Minimize the cookware needed - you can get by nicely by just boiling water. Breakfast (Sun) can be hot or cold, as you wish. Donít eat heavily if you plan on San Gorgonio. If you donít yet have a stove - no problem - there will be enough stoves around to at least get boiling water. Iíll bring extra fuel for mine.

Reference: For more reading, see "San Bernadino Mountain Trails", 4th Ed. (or later), by John W. Robinson.

Miscellany: Bad weather will cancel (looks ok now). Call for more information or if in doubt. Dogs are ok on this trip. Unfortunately, camp fires are not allowed.

Meeting & Driving Instructions: Try to be at Poopout Hill before 9:30. Allow 2 1/2 hrs driving time, minimum; the last 30 miles or so is relatively slow mountain driving. Take the State Route 38 exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. Go north a couple of blocks - watch for signs - Rt 38 will make a right turn and head east. Stay on Rt 38 for approximately 25 miles from Redlands Watch for the Jenks Lake turn-off on the right. If you get to Barton Flats, you missed it. Turn right on the Jenks Lake road (southeast) and follow it to its end on Poopout Hill, 5.5 miles. Park in the large parking area at the roadís end. Contact me for roadhead sketches.