|Cucamonga Wilderness trails map at Icehouse Saddle.|
At the saddle I met an Asian man waiting for his boys, whom I had passed along the trail. One boy, a giant, lumbered along slowly. The shorter ones moved a bit faster. The father explained that it was the boys' first trip to the saddle. He, however, frequently visited the area and had recently hiked to Cucamonga Peak in a storm that dumped inches of hail and snow on him. What a lucky fellow!
I disliked the cold shade of the saddle, so I found some sunlight on a slope below the Three Tee's Trail, cleared away pine needles, and sat down to eat lunch. One of the smaller boys finally arrived. He hid behind a large tree, wielded his walking stick like a rifle, and prepared to snipe the giant from a distance. Suddenly I realized that I too was on the verge of being attacked. A platoon of hornets had infiltrated my personal space and were crawling over the blanket of pine needles right beside me. I grabbed my Camelbak and quickly returned to the frigid saddle. While finishing lunch, a series of loud, somewhat concerning human cries sounded from the direction of Timber Mountain. However, they did not include pleas for help, so I gave them little thought.
My goal for the day was simple: tag Timber Mountain, then walk the Chapman Trail before sunset. Climbing Timber would provide additional exercise, but the C50-related objective was acquiring a needed GPS track of Chapman. I also wanted to finish before sunset in order to take pictures of the trail with my new camera.
|The Middle Fork Trail at Icehouse Saddle descends to the left|
while the Cucamonga Peak Trail goes straight.
A trailhead sign indicated the beginning of Middle Fork, located immediately to the left of the unsigned Cucamonga Peak Trail, which took off generally southward, contouring around Bighorn Peak. Middle Fork, however, invited me to descend a gully to the east via switchbacks.
|A rock slide area along upper Middle Fork Trail.|
|Etiwanda Peak from upper Middle Fork Trail.|
|Signpost at Commanche Camp.|
Again, my primary goal for the day was to cover the Chapman Trail before sunset, which would occur, without any concern for my needs, in merely one hour at 4:44 PM. Returning to reality, I hustled down 0.6 miles of the Icehouse Canyon Trail to the upper Chapman junction.
|Upper Chapman Trail minutes before sunset.|
|Entrance to Cedar Glen campground.|
Without hesitation I continued out of the camp, crossed a small stream, and in the fading light entered the dark forest of lower Cedar Canyon. I mostly jogged the well-maintained 1.6 miles from Cedar Glen to the lower junction with Icehouse Canyon, thus completing the Chapman roundabout. Still there was the 0.9 miles through Icehouse Canyon back to the car, which I reached by flashlight at 5:32 PM.
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