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Cucamonga Peak, Etiwanda Peak

7 September 1996

By: Carleton Shay

Leaders: Carleton Shay, Linda Landau, Betty Stirratt

The eastern approach to Cucamonga and Etiwanda involves a 13-mile dirt road, the last part of which virtually requires a 4WD vehicle. The road is open only from the day after Labor Day until the first big rain. Old-timers will recall the time when even that window was not open, and Forest Service permission and a key were needed to traverse the road. (This road also is used to access Buck Point and San Sevaine). But it is worth the drive for one of the prettiest trails in the San Gabriels, shorter and with less altitude gain than from Icehouse canyon.

The only aggravation with this particular hike was getting it set up. Since it involves a permit (for the Cucamonga Wilderness) and 4WD, we asked for SASEs, and received a grand total of 4, with two 4WD vehicles. No problem. Then three days before the hike, the telephone calls started: "I know it's late, but can I come?" and "Sorry, I don't have 4WD". So the number of seats became the problem, rather than the permit limit. There were far more calls than seats, and two hikers were turned away. [Moral of the story: on a trip requiring a sase, don't expect to be accommodated if you call in at the last minute.] The tragedy is that there was one no-show, and an arrival with an unexpected 4WD, so everyone who called could have participated had I known beforehand.

Ella Pennington had been scheduled to co-lead, but she sprained her knee and couldn't come. Both Linda Landau and Betty Stirratt are rated leaders, and both graciously agreed to help out; they ably spelled each other up and down the peaks.

The hiking started at 9:00am under a clear blue sky which became increasingly cloudy and threatening, windy and somewhat cold, mitigating what otherwise would have been an uncomfortably hot day.

It never did rain; in fact, after lunch on Cucamonga it started to clear up, and by the time we were down there was scarcely a cloud in the sky west of Cajon pass. It was a great hike. The total elapsed time was 7 hr 35 min. Participants: Jeff Daiker, Virgil Popescu, Hanna Shay, and Betty Sterrett.

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