Leaders: Joe Young, Stag Brown, Nami Brown, Bobcat Thompson
On Saturday at 6:00AM Nami and Stag Brown, Bobcat Thompson and Joe Young met at Baker's Square for breakfast before carpooling to the roadhead for Forsee Creek Trail for a day's adventure in the San Bernardino Mountains. We stopped off at the Mill Creek Ranger Station for a permit: all permits had been issued for trails except for Forsee Creek and Momyer Creek trails. We decided to explore a new (for us) trail that connects the San Bernardino Peak Trail (Angeles Oaks to the peak) with the Forsee Creek Trail. This connector trail is not shown on USGS topos but is shown on the USFS map and on the Defenders of the San Gorgonio Winderness map as the "Forsee Basin Trail". Our plan was to hike up thru Forsee Creek (ridge) to the top of the crest, swing East to Shields, then go West over the other peaks, down to Columbine Spring for the Forsee Basin Trail intersection, then back to the car, making a loop trip of approximately 12 miles.
The weather was warm and sunny as we began our hike at approximately 9:00AM. Before we even began hiking two rangers asked to see our permit, the first time any of us had ever been requested to produce a permit in this area. Shortly after beginning to hike, we met a hiker who had no particular plan except to go hiking and he joined us for the day. We hiked at the decent pace of about 1600 feet of gain per hour, but when we stopped, the bugs were terrible. Near the top of the ridge Nami and Stag decided to skip Shields and Anderson in favor of an extended snooze on San Bernardino East. The rest of us bagged Shields and Anderson and rejoined Stag and Nami, who generously provided us with sandwiches. Clouds had formed above and we experienced a few sprinkles. After lunch we headed West and stopped at the USGS Initial Survey Monument. Along the way we encountered two volunteer forest rangers who asked to see our permit, the second time any of us had had our permits checked in this area. We then headed down and at the trail junction with Columbine Spring we headed Northeast toward John's Meadow Camp on a beautiful trail. Strangely, none of the rangers we spoke to knew any details about this Forsee Basin Trail, so this was the surprise portion of our adventure.
The Forsee Basin Trail is a roller coaster dropping to beautiful creeks and surmounting ridges. Along the way a large waterfall can be seen in the distance, but the trail never comes too close to it. At one creek crossing we cooled our feet in very cold water. The trail is well-beaten and following it is quite easy. Distance from the intersection with the junction at Columbine Spring to the intersection with the Forsee Creek (ridge) Trail is about six miles. The Forsee Basin/ridge trail intersection is less than one mile from the roadhead.
We returned to our cars at about 7:30PM and quenched our thirst with appropriate fluids. After leaving the roadhead we drove to Angeles Oaks for a later dinner. As we finished our meal there was a commotion and all the employees ran out back. Somebody said that it was time for the bear to reclaim food from the garbage. So we all went out back and sure enough there was a big black bear hiding in the shadows. This was the first time any of us had actually seen a bear near Big Bear, and seeing it was a fitting way to end our adventure.