Some friends and I did Robinson's hike #100, San Sevaine Flats to Cucamonga Peak, this past weekend (July 19, 1997), and it was quite different than he described. First I'll describe what it was like, and then how it differed from what's in the book.
We got off the 15 at Sierra Ave. and found Forest Road 1N34. The gate was closed, but we'd driven two hours already, so we got out of the car and tried to open it. It seemed to be locked, but we were able to get it open anyway. We headed up the road, but it was pretty tough going. We were in a Honda Civic, which has a low clearance, and the road had many ruts and loose rocks in the way. We kept going until the road got so steep that the tires were slipping. When we parked, we had gone eight miles in an hour and fifteen minutes. We got out and headed down the road. Two hours later we reached a campsite, and a little after that we found the trailhead. The trail was really nice. It contours around and gives views from all directions. We didn't see anybody else all day (probably because of the locked gate). The trail doesn't seem to be traveled much and is fading in some places. When we got to the peak we looked at the register and realized we had gone up Etiwanda instead of Cucamonga. We didn't have the energy to bag Cucamonga, too, so after lunch we headed back.
My friend has the Topo software with the USGS maps, and he used it figure out that we had hiked sixteen miles.
Our experience differs from Robinson's description is a number of ways:
- Robinson says the road is "readily accessible." It was behind a locked gate, and it was a long, difficult trip in a standard car.
- Robinson says a standard car can travel five miles on the road. We were able to go for eight miles.
- Robinson says that the hike is twelve miles long. It's tough to tell where he measures this from, but I assume it's from the point where a standard car can go no further because it's at this point he says to "begin your hike." As I mentioned, we started at this point and traveled sixteen miles.
To sum it up, my friends and I got more than we bargained for on this hike. It was a third longer than we expected, and the slow drives up and down the mountain road made for a very long day.
This is by no means a flame on Robinson. His book has been my gateway to the San Gabriels and has led to hours and hours of enjoyment for me on the trails. This is the first time he's been inaccurate that I know of. By the way, I have the sixth edition, January, 1990.
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