Mission Creek Preserve to the PCT

January 22-23, 2011
Cris, Nick, Albert and I did an overnight backpack trip in this beautiful area where the desert meets the San Bernadino Mountains.  We met at the Rancho Cucamonga REI and carpooled out together in Albert's van, which he calls his "buffalo."  It was a marvelous warm weekend, about 68* during the day, and not very cold at night - I didn't even need to zip up my sleeping bag   Wildflowers are starting the bloom, there were a ton of birds in the canyon, the creek was running high and was refreshingly cool, and seeing the snow on the higher mountains was a treat.  The Mission Creek Preserve owes its existence to the Wildlands Conservancy and it is pretty much the perfect place to hike this time of year.  Trails here link to the PCT which heads north into the San Gorgonio Wilderness.  Once we were on the PCT we hiked north along the creek and crossed it several times then found a cool campsite on a bluff above the creek. 

In the morning I awoke, unzipped my tent, and saw the just-past full moon sitting on the mountain :)   After breakfast Albert and I hiked up the creek another mile or so and then we headed back down.  We all then headed back but went a different way back, this time hiking up and over a high ridge to get some good views of the mountains.  It was also up here where we encountered Tumbleweed Man!  I think he was stalking us :o
Nick found some quicksand
Well, thankfully Tumbleweed Man rolled away, we made our way off the ridge and down wash then we stopped at the Stonehouse Picnic Area.  There we met a boy who had become separated from his hiking partners.  He was scared, hungry, and thirsty so we helped him out and I let him use my cell phone.  He wasn't able to reach his group but they came down shortly afterwards so we were all glad they got re-united. 

Once back at the trailhead we discovered that the buffalo had a flat tire.  So Nick got to work putting on the spare and then we were off, albeit slower than we came because we were riding on the donut.  But we finally got back to civilization, had dinner at Richie's Diner, then headed our separate ways home. 

I had a lot of fun - hope you enjoy the photos!

More photos here!

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I find a pretty flower :)