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Iron Spring Mountain, Beauty Peak, Combs Peak

9 February 1991

By: Charlie Knapke


Leaders: Charlie Knapke, David Eisenberg

On Saturday morning the sun rose on twenty hikers in the thriving metropolis of Aguanga. For those who are not familiar with Aguanga, it is a small village at the intersection of State Highways 79 and 371 with both corporation limit signs on the same post. At 6:35 a.m. we headed for the trailhead for Iron Springs and Beauty.

We drove to the trailhead via the new driving route via Bradford Road. This is a public route which placed us at a parking spot just next to the Powers Ranch. I missed the cordial greeting that the HPS hikers always received from Joe Powers. Joe was extremely kind to us in the past.

The route to Iron Springs along the ridge has sure changed since I was last here. The trip went so smoothly that we were hardly out of breath when we arrived at the summit. After a short break we continued on to Beauty Peak. We arrived there just before noon. After a leisurely lunch we returned to the cars.

Since we finished so early in the afternoon, we decided to lead a car trip up to Palomar High Point. This took about two hours for the round trip. About half of the group attended the trip to this extra peak.

That evening six of our group decided to try dinner at Maggie's. It turns out that both Maggie and Frank Dobos are both from Hungary. Frank had stumbled across Maggie's Restaurant several years ago. He vouched for the fact that she serves true Hungarian food. We sampled the Hungarian goulash, the stuffed cabbage, & the vegetarian pizza (that's Hungarian?). Everyone seemed to enjoy the fare.

Two days before this hike I made a telephone call to the Orange Empire Boy Scout Council to find out if their gate on the Chihuahua Valley Road would be open. I was informed in no uncertain terms that hikers (even Sierra Club hikers) would not be welcome on the private property beyond their gate. This appears to be a permanent situation. Because of this I decided to lead Combs Peak via the Pacific Crest Trail from the next trailhead to the north.

Terry Astle had sent me a photocopy of an article written by Skip Runland, founder of the San Diego Backpacking Club. This article described a trailhead and route which seemed to be just what I needed. Frank Goodykoontz believes that this is about the same route taken by John Backus several years ago.

Sunday morning we followed the driving instructions in Skip's article to a trailhead about ten miles south of Anza. After a delay of about forty-five minutes we located the correct parking spot. We set off on the trail at about 10:00 a.m. and reached the summit a little after noon. Here we had lunch while we tried to identify as many peaks on the horizon as possible.

Soon we set off down the mountain. We quickly ran into Carleton and Hanna Shay who had hiked in from the Chihuahua Valley Road. I discussed my phone call to the Orange Empire Boy Scout Council with Carleton. He related to me that the sign on the gate did not seem to support the Council's position and that another party may be involved. I will continue to look into this matter. For the present the route from the Chihuahua Valley Road should be avoided. I will send the description for the new route from the north to the Lookout Editor for publication.

After we finished with Combs we still had some time remaining so we finished off the day with another drive-up. This one was to Boucher Hill. Only Paula Peterson was left to accompany the leaders to this peak. There is no question that this lady is serious about her peak bagging!

I would like to thank Terry Astle for her help with the new route and Dave Eisenberg for his assistance with the trip. I would like to thank everyone who attended for helping make this a great weekend.

For those of you who are interested in the northern route here is a brief description.

Driving instructions:
From Corona take 1-15 south past Temecula to Hwy. 79; turn left.
Go east on Hwy. 79 for 17 miles to Aguanga; turn left on Hwy. 371.
Go north and then east on Hwy. 371 for 16.4 miles to Kirby Road (this is 1.5 miles east of Ariza.); turn right.
Turn right, note odometer, and go as follows:
At 1.0 miles, Wellman Road; turn left.
At 2.0 miles, Terwilliger Road; turn right.
At 5.8 miles, Ramsey Road; turn right.
At 5.9 miles, Tule Canyon South Truck Trail (dirt); turn left.
At 8.7 miles, Rim Rock Canyon Road; turn left.
At 9.7 miles, Rim Rock Canyon Road turns right; turn right.
At 10.6 miles, fork; keep right on Rim Rock Canyon Road.
At 10.8 miles, fork; keep straight.
At 10.9 miles, parking area on the right; park here.

Hiking instructions:
Continue down the road for 240 yards to where a trail takes off to the left side. It may be marked by a duck.
Follow it down into a gully and up the other side.
After about 0.4 miles it comes to a gate and a fence.
Go through the fence and continue along this winding trail another 0.2 miles to where it meets another trail with a 4X4 post with a PCT emblem.
Turn right and go 0.2 miles to where it meets another trail.
Turn right again and follow this trail (PCT) about 3 miles to where it meets the ridge coming down east from the peak.
Leave the trail and follow a brushed route up to the peak.

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