Leaders: Sara Wyrens and Diane Dunbar
Well it finally came... my last and final "I" provisional of which, if I pass, will start me on a new venture that could be titled "The Joys of Leading Cross-Country." No sarcasm intended (well maybe a little). Trying to manage a group, be sensitive to individual levels and needs, navigate and carry on a conversation and be a mother, father and nurse (well, slight exaggeration), can be quite the balancing act to say the least.
Since there were seven HPS day hikes scheduled the same day as mine, I wondered if there was a possibility no one would show! But two eager hikers did show (enough to make a trip) and the four of us set out on this sunny, picturesque, fall day to bag these two San Bernardino Peaks.
I first climbed Heart Bar in 1997 on a trip led by Diane Dunbar and David Eisenberg. This was my first HPS and cross-country hike ever, and boy was I green! I showed up on the very crisp morning of the hike in shorts and cotton t-shirt with one small bottle of water, light snack and not much else. Diane made it known that she was displeased with my unpreparedness and for not bringing my ten essentials. Imagine her surprise when I asked, "What are ten essentials?" But that was then and this is now and thank God I've gained much experience and know-how since, mostly because of the WTC course I took (Diane sent me the application saying "here you need this"). Therefore, when it came time for my "I" provisional, I thought it both relevant and opportune these 4 years later, to go back to Heart Bar and employ Diane as my check off leader.
The route most traveled by most HPSers goes up an overgrown dirt road (not shown on the topo) that runs southeast along the base of the slope. I chose however, the intermittent stream which starts from the dirt road south east of Heart Bar Campground. So glad I did as we found this gully surprisingly beautiful with many fall colors. We broke north at the first gully junction at around the 7,400 contour line, continued up a bushwhack and short rock scramble and then up to an obvious saddle. From there, we picked up the old dirt road to the peak. As mentioned above, this route less traveled proved to be much more interesting and scenic than the usual easier route and well worth the extra effort. Our return route was in a rocky gully directly north down the steep slopes to the cars which were waiting as I had planned a car shuttle. Next destination: Constance Peak.
Constance Peak is directly behind (northwest) of the Angelus Oaks General Store on SR 38. Climbing this peak couldn't be any easier in that the distance is only 1 1/2 miles r.t. and 500' gain. Don't think of this peak as insignificant because it is basically effortless. It is a pleasantly worthwhile little climb which follows a use trail up the side of a ridge and through a lovely, plush pine tree forest rich with various kinds of flora. Once on the top, this peak offers a spectacular panoramic view.
It is so exciting that there is now such an interest and participation in the HPS, that on any given weekend a peak bagger can choose from a variety of hikes/peaks due to the many fine leaders who volunteer their time and energy. Thanks to all of them! Also, many thanks to Diane Dunbar for assisting me and George Wysup for his excellent suggestions during the planning stages. Because of them and all the wonderful people I have met in the HPS, I look forward to participating and leading many HPS trips in the future. Happy climbing!