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Timber Mountain

14 September 2002

By: Gabriele Rau

This trip had its bad augury: first there was a discussion by e-mail: is Baden-Powell the highest mountain in the Los Angeles Forest? Well, I had always considered Mt. San Antonio to be the highest one, but let everybody have their own opinion. Then there was the Curve Fire, which started near Crystal Lake by some people sacrificing animals and burning candles. The weekend before the hike I started calling the Forest Service to find out more about the fire. I learned that Throop Peak was burnt over, and crews are fighting at Mt. Burnham. Then I knew that I had to cancel the hike as planned and decided Icehouse Canyon was the next best choice, because we were meeting in Pomona anyway. By Thursday I saw a map of the burning area and it was evident that the hike was out. All trails to Mt. Baden-Powell were closed.

I talked to my co-leaders and found out that Timber Mountain was one of Kathy Cheever's 'orphans,' and Heidi Udink had never been there either. It became clear we would hike to Timber Mountain. I got several e-mails as well as phone calls, and explained where we would go. 13 hikers met at 7:30 AM in Pomona. I handed out the HPS and Oktoberfest pamphlets I had received from Laura Joseph. By this time we had 2 Wilderness Permits, enough to cover even more hikers. To those who drove to Vincent Gap (second meeting place), I apologize. I had no way to contact them. It helps to call or e-mail the leaders before a hike, especially during fire season!

The TH parking lot was already nearly full when we got there at 8:00 AM. It was very pleasant to hike in the cool morning, the columbines were still blooming near the first water and the bridge. For several hikers it was their first time hiking Icehouse Canyon. Since this was to be a hot day we stopped at every milepost for a water break. Columbine Spring was running slowly, but fast enough to fill a canteen. We arrived at the saddle 2 1/2 hours later. There must have been 30 people there! The trail was crowded all day, we met several SC hikers and many other groups. After a short break we started up to Timber, getting there just in time for lunch in the cool shade, and signed in. We were not alone here, either. Kathy led the way back and we met another Sierra Club Group just below the saddle; their hike to the Bridge to Nowhere had to be also rerouted because of the fire. It seems that the Forest Service had sent everybody to Icehouse Canyon; in the afternoon there was even more traffic than in the morning. We even met a Trail Crew repairing the trail on this hot day; they were Claremont College students under the supervision of a Forest Service volunteer, and we thanked them for their work. At 2:30 PM we were all down at the parking lot. By now it was hot, 94' in Claremont. This was an uneventful hike, but everybody enjoyed it. Thanks to Heidi and Kathy for assisting!

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