San Bernardino Mountains Trip
Saturday, August 26
Leaders: Danny & Norma Siler
It was a beautiful day in the San Bernardino Mountains on Saturday, August 26; not a cloud in the sky and 75 - 80 degree temperature.
Our instructions were to meet at the public bathrooms in the town of Running Springs. A bit awkward but there’s plenty of free parking and everyone loves a bathroom in the morning. Also a bit tricky was that there is not a street address for this location. But… everyone made it on time!!
Because this trip was to be a scenic trail ride through the forest, and not a heavy-duty four-wheel drive event, we piled all nine of us into three vehicles; Danny and Norma Siler as leaders, Dave Burdick, Moe LeBlanc, Hector and Sandra Mangione, Mal Roode, Allan and Ding Wicker.
We first drove to the very lovely Green Valley Lake to enjoy the serenity of it, then we said “good-bye” to the paved road and “hello” to the unpaved forest service road.
It was about an hour and a half drive from 5,500 ft. elevation to 8,500 ft. elevation. We passed through burn areas and the vegetation changed as the elevation changed; sagebrush, yucca, manzanita, juniper, pine trees, fir, spruce, and much more. This route is close to the north side of the mountains and we often got glimpses of the Victor Valley below in the desert.
The spur road to the Butler Peak Lookout was rugged and narrow in places but we made it fairly easily. Because it was a Saturday there were a lot of vehicles coming and going at this destination.
We parked in the shade and it was a nice spot for our picnic lunch and group photo. Then we spent 45 minutes hiking up the trail and staircase to the lookout. The 360 degree view can only be described as incredible. The
lookout has a sweeping viewing deck surrounding its entirety with plenty of room for all of us to enjoy. Both Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake were visible from here. Surprisingly, there was not a volunteer on site this day.
Our return trip was on a different forest service road which was wider, flatter and smoother; more relaxing with a lot more pine trees.
At 4:15 p.m. we arrived, once again, at Green Valley Lake and stopped at a small café to enjoy ice cream, milkshakes, root beer float, etc. All of us could sit around the table and chairs and share good times of the day and discuss other enjoyable aspects of our experiences with the Desert Explorers.
Time came to pay our bill, say our good-byes and depart for home.
Photos: Allan Wicker & Mal Roode