Leaders: Patty Kline, David Eisenberg, Joel Goldberg
Our group of 8 met at 9:30 am 11.5 miles east of Hemet in a large parking area off the highway. We clocked the distance from the intersection of Hwy 74 and Pomona. Ramona is also known as Mountain Avenue. A storm which dropped 2 inches of rain in a hurry that day in LA was threatening our hike. We went anyway, figuring we would beat the storm. Our group besides the leaders consisted of Don Borad, Theresia Glover, Bernhard Mayer, Peter Doggett, and Pam Cloutier.
This was a great route for Rouse Hill via a pathfinder route. This route is given as the secondary route in the Peak Guide. It is 10 miles round trip and about 2000 feet of gain. The trail follows the South Fork of the San Jacinto River high in the canyon for about 2-1/2 miles before dropping down to meet the river. We crossed the river, thinking it would be almost impossible in a heavy spring run off. The scenery was great with big trees along the river banks and on up the switch-backing trail on the other side of the canyon. After attaining the ridge above the canyon there were no more forests. We had a brief lunch on Rouse Hill at 5168 feet. There was no register. We retraced our steps to the cars.
Rain started at the river crossing on the way back. This area got a fraction of the rain LA got. The hike took 6-1/2 hours round trip. We were wet enough that David Eisenberg and Pam Cloutier went back home after all of us had dinner at the Sizzler, minus Don Borad who had only planned on Rouse Hill.
Saturday night and still raining, the 5 remaining in our group stayed in a motel, banking on sunny skies in the morning. The weather was clear Sunday morning, luck being on our side. After a leisurely breakfast at Milleys in Hemet (highly recommended), we drove to the roadhead for Cahuilla Mountain. Joel was the leader taking Dave's place today. The rain had frozen the trees in the saddle just below the peak and the branches were all outlined in glistening white. We had lunch on this peak at 5042 feet. We left a new note pad because the one from 1991 was full and soaked, and the one from the late 1980's was shredded. This must be a popular peak for register destroyers. We climbed the peak in 1-3/4 hours, the peak guide time. It was 6 miles round trip and 1100 feet of gain.
Then we drove on 1-1/2 miles farther down the road for Little Cahuilla Mountain. This was a use trail through the brush. We took 1 hour to get there, again the peak guide time. The register on this peak at 5635 feet was great. It went way back beyond my first ascent on 3-22-86. It was nice to see John Backus signed in more than once on this "historic register". It was 700 feet of gain and 2.6 miles round trip. By the time we got back to the vehicles it was after 3:30 pm and time to head home.
It was a fun weekend with pleasant hiking. Thank you so much to David Eisenberg and Joel Goldberg for leading the trip with me.