Beauty Mountain Wilderness Area
For the second day of peak bagging with the Hundred Peaks Section hikers, I head a little bit south and down a maze of paved and dirt roads to a spot a certain distance from the last corner that provides sufficient parking. Both sides of the road are a wilderness area preserved by the county. The only thing that is distinctive here is the gate and road traveling to the north, but we are not going that way. There is a second road to the north a little way up the road, but that is not our route either. Instead, we backtrack from our parking area a couple hundred feet and turn down a third road road heading southeast that is hard to even notice after many years of abandonment. I can sort of imagine where the road was, once, but the occasional fading pink ribbons in the bushes are much easier to follow. It does not last long anyway as we turn off in our own direction.
|Plunging into the chaparral along use trail.|
We head down into a canyon and up again. The route is steep, then flat, then steeply down, and flat again, and steep up and into a wash. Once in the wash, we stick near the bottom, but there are sudden jaunts up the side and back down to get around vegetation and rockfall. It gets easier as we go and we eventually find we have walked over a wide saddle. It is a short and twisting, easy drop down to an earthen dam.
|Looking back down the rocky wash as we clamber up.|
|Easy trail up as we near the saddle. There is still some snow in the sheltered areas.|
|Gathering up on the earthen dam.|
A road travels across the earthen dam and somehow a pair of tire marks cross along it. The road is so narrow that the tire prints touch both edges as they go. We turn west along the road and climb it a short way to a saddle before launching ourselves back onto use trails through the brush. At first, the trail takes an easy line up and down the little false peaks. As the final peak draws near, it is as though the original route finders got a bit single minded about getting there and it becomes steep and direct instead.
|A line of people making their way on gentle use trail through the bushes.|
|Beauty Mountain appears ahead.|
|There are lots of little rocky peaks locally.|
|Triangulation station for Beauty Peak. No reference marks, but there is an elevation marker and a cairn that has been described by surveyors.|
Arriving at the top, everyone settles in for snacks and register signing and trying to take in all of the view. There is quite a lot of view.
|Panorama of the valleys to the north and west. San Jacinto and San Gorgonio behind it are keeping themselves shrouded in clouds today.|
|More big mountain to the southeast. This is Hot Springs Mountain, I believe.|
|The next peak, Iron Spring Mountain. Over its shoulder, yesterday's peak, Ken Point, can be seen as a double peak slightly taller than the rest around it.|
After a half hour or so, we carefully make our way back down the steep sections, then continue to wind back to the road. We follow the road back to the earthen dam then a few hundred feet more before again plunging into the growth to climb up Iron Spring Mountain. This trail is similar to the one up Beauty Peak, although I am told that it is often more brushy than the other.
|Working our way back down a small chimney climb back down the peak.|
|Hiking up the next mountain. The trail is very hard to see ahead in the brush.|
At the top, we sign the second log and enjoy the somewhat different view.
|Snow remains on the Santa Rosa Mountains.|
|San Jacinto and San Gorgonio are still hiding in clouds.|
|More targets for climbing in the distance.|
We spend a little less time on Iron Spring Mountain before returning the way we came down to the earthen dam again, then back over the saddle and down the wash. It seems the snow that will melt has already done so and there is just as much as we finish as there was when we started.
|Some of the maze of access roads below.|
|San Jacinto coming out of the clouds as the shadows get long.|
Our finish today is a little earlier than yesterday, but the length is nearly halved. It is surprising how much longer it can take to push through brush, even if there is not that much pushing, than to just wander up a trail.
©2015 Valerie Norton
Posted 3 Dec 2015