South Fork Loop — Page 11

Dollar Lake Trail

XI. Westside Views

If there's a method to the madness of my training hikes, it is this: find something much, much harder than anything else you plan to do. Do it. And now you're trained!

Obviously there are pitfalls to this sink-or-swim approach, but when it comes together—as it seems to be today—it does tend to confer a measure of confidence in one's capabilities, and a strong sense of readiness for any number of lesser challenges ahead. Plus some very sore muscles.

Vivian Creek Drainage and San Bernardino Peak
Dry Lake View

Meanwhile, we are still traversing around and around and around Jepson Peak, helped along by the distractions of the Dollar Lake Trail's impressive westward views.

That big Vivian Creek drainage is particularly striking. From our current position, elevation 10,800' or so, we seem to be hanging directly over the Vivian Creek Trailhead, elevation 6080'.

From here it's easy to see how much shorter the Vivian Creek approach is, and right now I'm looking longingly in that direction, thinking I'd happily trade the extra thousand vertical feet for all the South Fork Trail's extra miles.

At last we finish our semi-circumnavigation of Jepson Peak, arriving at the Dry Lake View overlook. This allows us to look back at San Gorgonio's north cirque, plus Dry Lake and Lodgepole Spring and much of the ground we've traveled earlier today, adding a considerable sense of scale to this whole South Fork Loop project.

It's big back here!

From Dry Lake View we continue westward toward Dollar Saddle via another immense traverse, this time around Charlton Peak. Dominating the westward view now is the trio of Anderson, San Bernardino, and San Bernardino East Peaks. We'll be veering northward at Dollar Saddle, rather than continuing westward on the San Bernardino Peak Trail, but that is certainly a hike worthy of future exploration.

next: Closing the Loop



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