Closing the Loop

San Gorgonio Mountain to Vivian Trailhead
(10 miles, +0/-6,000 feet).

Last night it was COLD on the summit!  We had gusts up to 40mph, and MixMaster and I were both cowboy camping at first.  At a certain point I crawled inside my tent to get away from the wind.  I had not set up the poles, but it did a nice job blocking the wind.  Unfortunately, it also locked in moisture so I woke up with lots of condensation.

About 5am we gave up trying to sleep and decided to go ahead and hike down out of the wind.

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Fleeing the wind

In spite of our early start, we were still high enough when dawn broke to get some amazing  views.  Mountains in the distance looked like islands, as they were surrounded by the marine layer that had rolled in over night.

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Islands in the sky

To keep from backtracking, we decided to take a different trail back down to the car.  The Vivian Creek Trail had far less snow on it—in fact, there were only two minor patches across the trail, each about 50 feet across.  However, one of these proved to be far more dangerous because we got lazy and did not put on our microspikes.  About halfway across the icy traverse, I couldn’t go forward or backward.  I ended up lunging forward and sliding down about 10 feet, but my momentum carried me across and into some chaparral on the other side.

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Woods above High Creek

At High Creek we met Ranger Dan, whom I recognized from his blogs for the SGWA.  He gave me his autograph!

It was nice to watch the light creep up the sides of the mountains as we gradually descended.

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We had to get over a few more blowdowns, but other than that the rest of the trip down was uneventful.

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One more blowdown

Once we got to the Vivian Trailhead, we walked a couple of miles down the road back to our car at the Momyer Trailhead.  We passed a father and his 10 year son who we learned had just done exactly the same trip as us!  I love it when parents can get their kids into this life at such a young age…

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