Buck Point Loop
that’s what this hike was
15.5 miles, 6000 ft
Following up on Elwood’s TRfor a hike in the San Gabriels not in the ANF, I decided to try to hike up the same Etiwanda Ridge to Buck Point. I was not in the mood to deal with some brush, but alas that was what it was going to take.
It started out well. An easy drive to the trailhead, followed by hiking along fireroad. Then we followed an old fireroad that gained the ridge, and for the first 2000 ft gain it was quite okay. Nice and steep with at most knee-high brush on the sides, but nothing to slow you down.
It ended up being only 3 of us and we made good time up to this point. Following a small descent to a shallow saddle, the brush picks up a bit. I don’t mind buckthorn in general but the shoulder-high stuff is annoying if only because it slows you down. And just as Elwood described, there are points in which there is no sign of a use trail and therefore no sign of the “path of least resistance”.
Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue since I had uploaded gps coordinates from gpsmountaineering.com – who had also done the route – and I would be able to see their ‘adjustments of route’ on the way down versus up. This would help pick the best path. Of course, this also requires that your gps device properly uploaded the coordinates, which in this case was FAIL. Great.
We finally did reach the fire road (1N03, Cucamonga truck trail, big tree, or something, why do these names change?), and headed west toward Buck Point.
We skipped ascended the eastern ridge and decided to loop around to the west side to ascend. I wondered what Buck Point was named after, thinking Buckthorn would be apropos. That sounded good.
But suddenly, we heard a gunshot, then a bullet screaming above us, from the west to our east. Shit! Okay so Buck point might mean something else.
I screamed out to let whoever was shooting know that there were people in the area. We continued to walk around the fire road and met up with a few guys hunting some quail, rabbit, etc… Seemed nice enough. Not that I know what hunting laws are, but in the end there has to be something that prevents such a close encounter between a hunter’s gunshot and the hiker. If we had decided to ascend the east side, we could have easily been at the same height as that bullet. NOT SAFE.
We rested at Buck Point and Winston and Joseph brought up the idea of avoiding going down the same way by noting there was a ‘fireroad’ and ‘trail’ indicated on the map on the next ridge. In addition, we did see this route physically as we were hiking up. I was fine with it, although I wasn’t really sure it would be better.
And of course, it wasn’t. We hiked back along the 1N03 (or 3N01, i’m too lazy to check) heading east, passing up our original ridge, and continued onto the next. After some more cross country we found the old road bed which was quite pleasant for a while, bringing us to two big trees that were not natural to this forest. Seems liked someone had camped there too.
We were so far quite happy with this route, but immediately after this spot we could not find any trace of the road bed anywhere near what our maps indicated. After some thought, I just decided to bull rush through some brush for a while – found a use trail that ended up bringing us to a spot where we found the old road bed again.
From here on down, the road bed was quite overgrown, certainly annoying, however not as bad as the worst spots of Etiwanda Ridge. The problem was that the lower sections still had brush, while Etiwanda Ridge lower section is relatively easy.
Eventually we made it down, just east of our starting point. We were able to cross the wash and join up with our original fireroad back to the cars.
It was a hot, brushy day. Time to take a rest from the cross-country!
This entry was posted on Sunday, September 20th, 2009 at 9:40 am and is filed under Trip Report. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.