|South Fork Trail
We left Riverside just after sunrise and headed for the trailhead parking lot near Jenk’s Lake up Highway 38. After planning this trip for a couple months we had finally chosen a day when most of us would be able to take the weekend off to camp out and hike up to the highest peak in SoCal. We had all spent the last 4-5 years together in architecture school and had just graduated and started working, so it was nice to all see each other again for the first time in months. We decided to make it an overnight trip to be able to enjoy the trek and stop along the way and take it all in. The smells of the young plants lingered everywhere and the creek was flowing quite well. There were many uprooted and burnt trees scattered throughout the lower section of the trail. Parts of the trail were covered in ash and eventually we all looked like we had spent the day inside a chimney. We stopped by and enjoyed the view at Dry Lake before continuing onto our camp at Trail Flats. After making it to the campsite early afternoon, we set up our tents and proceeded to rest and relax and chat before cooking and climbing up a ridge to catch the sunset. After sunset we had long conversations and laid out our mats and sleeping bags outside to stargaze. I was blown away by how many stars were actually visible in the sky as I expected there to be far more light pollution being that close to the cities below. We all fell asleep outside the tents and had a great nights sleep. We were awoken just before sunrise by a brief drizzle. We cooked breakfast before embarking on our summit bid. We continued up the trail and hit Zahniser Peak on the way to Mineshaft Saddle. We continued on and stopped at the C-47 memorial and wreckage. We continued on up the switchbacks and around to the west side of the building where we had some cell reception. We made it to the peak where we ran into a group that offered us donuts. We saw a few chipmunks, took some group photos at the summit and headed back down soon after to break down camp. We had run out of water on the way down and a few of us broke our tents and packed up quickly to scout for water at Lodgepole Spring near Dry Lake. We were unsucessful and met up with the group at the Lake and all continued our hike down and were able to filter some water down the switchbacks at South Fork. We rehydrated and continued on down and made it to the parking lot right at Sunset. After a couple days of eating dehydrated meals, we made our way down the mountains and grabbed some burgers and beer in Redlands to end our great adventure.