95-1 Manker Flat to Baldy Notch, Thunder, Telegraph, Timber Mtns., Icehouse Saddle, Icehouse Canyon via San Antonio Falls Road and Chapman Trail

Participants: Craig Cheetham and Tom Chester
Date: 23 October 1999 (Written up 24-26 October 1999)

Description: For general information about this hike, see trail information.

Nearly all available parking areas were crammed with cars at each trailhead at 10 a.m. on this Saturday, but we were able to locate a parking space at each location. We saw quite a few people taking the Ski Lift to Baldy Notch as well.

It was cool enough at Manker Flat that if we had been descending I would have put on a sweatshirt, which of course wasn't needed for the ascent. San Antonio Falls still had enough water to put on a good show, and the ascent to Baldy Notch was pleasant.

The rest of the trip was at a nearly constant temperature of 57° (see below), which was perfect for going uphill. I had to put on my sweatshirt for nearly all of the downhill.

The views from the trail, and especially from Telegraph Mountain were great, even though it was not particularly clear that day. Nonetheless, we could clearly see the Granite Mountains and the two peaks in the Ord Mountains beyond Cajon Pass, and the ridgeline of Palomar Mountain to the south. The view of the southern part of Cajon Pass, the San Gorgonios and San Jacintos was superb. I also enjoyed the views of Cucamonga and Ontario Peaks, as well as the usual panorama of the Mt. Wilson area.

As we were traveling down Icehouse Canyon, we met a number of people coming up who were planning to hike out by flashlight and full moon later. We ran out of daylight one mile from the end and used flashlights ourselves then.

We took the Chapman Trail, and were amazed at the quantity of water coming down Cedar Canyon and the lush growth around it. The water was doing its usual roaring at the bottom of Icehouse Canyon, but it was too dark to see it.

Trail condition: The trail was in excellent condition except for two quite minor items. First, there were two large trees down on the trail that necessitated either climbing over or under them or taking a short steep trail diversion around them. One was 1.4 miles from Telegraph Mountain toward Timber Mountain, and another was someplace north of that tree. Second, beginning at about 0.2 miles south of the first tree, the trail needs a bit of brushing as the chaparral is closing in on the trail in a few spots until ~1 mile from Icehouse Saddle.

Plants in bloom: A few specimens of penstemon were still blooming, as were a small percentage of rabbitbrush. However, the occasional fields of rabbitbrush in full seed were still quite stunning to see, including at Baldy Notch and several spots along the trail to Icehouse Saddle. A single blazing star was blooming at 11:22, just below Baldy Notch. Near the streambed at Telegraph Wash, Virgin's Bower was pretty with seed and a few wallflowers were still blooming with their last flowers.

Weather and water consumption: The weather was quite cool. The temperature varied from 57 - 62° F except for a much-appreciated 68° on top of Telegraph Mountain, which must have been a wind-sheltered, very favored location, since it was 56° just before the peak and 57° just after the peak! It is very unusual in my experience to find warmer, less windy conditions on top of a peak.

It was interesting that in several locations where the wind wasn't blowing, the temperature was 62°. But in very nearby areas where the wind was blowing it was a full 5° cooler.

I consumed only 0.9 liter getting to Telegraph Mountain, and 1.7 liters overall on the entire hike, and remained fully hydrated throughout the hike.

Bugs: There were a few gnats at ~6200' at Manker Flat that disappeared past the Falls, and no gnats reappeared until ~6600' in Icehouse Canyon. Campers at Cedar Glen Campground in Icehouse Canyon reported being bothered by a nest of bees in a bush just south of their tents, but they admitted it was due to the children dragging something through the bush which irritated them.

Number of ticks: Zero.

Number of rattlesnakes: Zero.

Other pests: None.

Explanation of columns for all trip logs

#MileageTime arrivedTime leftAltitudeComments
00.009:52 6000Manker Flat
10.5510:08 6250San Antonio Falls
20.8810:21 6400Ski Hut Trail to left.
32.0510:55 7000Constricted pipe on left making weird noises like someone scrambling down the scree slope
42.3211:07 7200Water pump for pipe
52.7511:24 7400Road forks. Left.
63.0011:3511:447600Top of Ski Lift at Baldy Notch. 63° just above notch, 58° in breeze.
74.0012:17 8050A few rabbitbrush still in bloom among field of rabbitbrush in seed.
84.4512:3512:458350Thunder Mountain via bulldozed road. 0.6 liter.
94.5712:50 8250Jct. "easy" trail to left. Signs: "Telegraph peak 1, Timber Mountain 2.5, Ice House Saddle 3.25" and "Easiest Way".
105.001:01 8000Thunder - Telegraph Saddle. Jct. steep trail down from ridge.
115.281:181:238250Rest at first switchback. 62° - may be high due to rock nearby in sun.
125.401:29 8350Second switchback. 56° in shade.
135.501:35 8450Third switchback.
145.571:41 8500Fourth switchback
155.701:48 8625Jct. trail to Telegraph Mountain peak. Sign without words. Left.
165.982:05 8800Telegraph Mountain summit. 68°!! Higher because it was blocked from the breeze? 0.9 liters.
176.01 2:528750Left summit. 1.25 liters. 57° on immediate south side of summit in shade.
186.363:05 8650=15. Left.
197.683:46 7800Telegraph - 8023 Saddle.
208.003:58 76008023 - Timber Saddle
218.124:07 7650First switchback. 59°
228.154:11 7700Jct. ridge trail. Right.
238.474:27 7900Jct. other end of Ridge Trail. Right. High point of trail rounding Timber.
249.034:43 7400Icehouse Saddle.
259.705:00 7050Jct. Chapman Trail. Right. 57°
2610.255:14 6800Sign: "4". 1.6 liters.
2711.255:46 6500Sign: "3". One gnat is back.
2811.956:04 6200West end of Cedar Glen campground, with sign for it. Jct. trail to south.
2912.156:10 6200Cedar Canyon Stream. Lush, green, tall plants.
3012.236:13 6150Sign: "2" at end of lush area. 56° at 6:28.
3113.256:376:475650Sign: "1". Flashlight time now.
3213.506:54 5500Jct. main trail. Right. Sign: "Cedar Glen Campground 1.5, Cucamonga Wilderness 1.6, Icehouse Canyon Saddle 4.3".
3314.707:37 4900Freshly paved and striped Icehouse Canyon parking lot.

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Copyright © 1999 by Tom Chester.
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Updated 25 October 1999.