Leatherneck Ridge (opposite Skyline) trip report

General Palm Springs area.

Re: Leatherneck Ridge (opposite Skyline) trip report

Postby Wildhorse » Thu May 19, 2016 10:12 am

To Cynthia's question about the Gordon Trail-

I know one person who has climbed the remnants of the Gordon Trail. A friend allowed her access through the private neighborhood up in Andreas Canyon. Having such access seems to be critical to doing this. That, and great skill, of course.
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Re: Leatherneck Ridge (opposite Skyline) trip report

Postby mattytreks » Thu May 19, 2016 11:48 am

This route and the Windy Point route fascinates me on so many levels.

I definitely look forward to tackling these in the next few years...
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Re: Leatherneck Ridge (opposite Skyline) trip report

Postby cynthia23 » Thu May 19, 2016 9:54 pm

Wildhorse--yes, I (now) remember you mentioning that to me. But just to reiterate: it sounds like no one on this board has actually done the Gordon trail/route? In a way that surprises me, given that the Leatherneck and Windy Point routes seem actually more challenging. Am I wrong about that, though? Steve, you mentioned wanting a fire to clear it out-- Is there more vegetation in that area? It looks kind of green from down here, so maybe there is too much chinkapin? Some of that stuff is like trying to walk through a Brillo pad. You literally would need a machete.

Cy, thanks for that new post on Leathernneck. I notice both posts feature people on the trek vomiting. Hm, wonder why. :(
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Re: Leatherneck Ridge (opposite Skyline) trip report

Postby Wildhorse » Fri May 20, 2016 6:38 am

I have also heard a report about vomiting on Leatherneck. I did not realize that others had that experience.
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Re: Leatherneck Ridge (opposite Skyline) trip report

Postby Sose » Fri May 20, 2016 6:59 am

Looking at Jim's old map of the Gordon trail, it appears to enter the valley at Caramba camp. I recall as a scout in the 60s looking down from there and seeing what looked like remnants of a trail. Interesting. I wonder why it was abandoned.
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Re: Leatherneck Ridge (opposite Skyline) trip report

Postby guest » Fri May 20, 2016 8:19 am

Hey friends,

I've done the "Gordon trail", (trail is a stretch), many, many yrs. back. It was an adventure, and we got tired of attempting to id the trail in most areas, and finally just navigated our way up. As Steve mentioned, the Mt. Fire may have cleared some of the impenetrable 4-6k elevation areas, (which weren't as bad as north-facing areas can be). Jim, I do believe the mt. fire, (started in Idyllwild), is the one that moved all the way down to about 2.5k around Indian Canyons, then the wind blow it all the way up towards the tram).

Don't expect much info from me on this board, as I'm not interested in some folks on here posting gps coordinates all over the web, so we can have tp (& accompanying poop), gu wrappers & water bottles thrown about like Skyline, and the inevitable rescues. Of course a mostly non existent trail will never get to that point, but many just want to bag another trail & tell everyone about it.
There's also the issue of the Andreas Club & their private property that needs to be respected in this lower elevation area.

It does finish around Carumba, (technical scrambling in spots, (good, non-electrical navigational skills needed), and then there's a section from there to tram that is still closed from the Mt. Fire, which adds another 1,500 ft. approx. elevation gain to get to the tram.

There's another former old trail that used to weave it's way up between West Fork & Murray that some old Desert Riders & I spoke of way back.

Happy hiking, ss.
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Re: Leatherneck Ridge (opposite Skyline) trip report

Postby Ed » Fri May 20, 2016 9:01 am

Fascinating map, HJ. Did you download it from the USGS website?
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Re: Leatherneck Ridge (opposite Skyline) trip report

Postby whitebark » Fri May 20, 2016 9:56 am

The old map also shows the "Idyllwild Trail". This trail followed the current Skyline route up to 3800', then droped down to Taquitz Creek at 2800', probably by the distinct horseshoe bend in the creek. Then I guess it climbed steeply up the ridge to the south, eventually joining with the Gordon Trail. A remnant of the Gordon Trail can be seen in aerial photos on the ridge about 6700'. Has anyone tried to follow the Idyllwild Trail?
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Re: Leatherneck Ridge (opposite Skyline) trip report

Postby Wildhorse » Fri May 20, 2016 10:08 am

Like Cynthia and Mattytreks have noted, the old routes are fascinating to think about and explore. The more one walks about in the wilderness and looks at old maps, the more we see of these old routes on the ground.

Personally, I wish the tram would be demolished, and replaced by several hiking trails. I wish that we had trails going up Andreas Canyon and Strawberry Canyon. I imagine them being quite scenic. We would need to keep them secret, of course, to avoid the growing abuse like is happening on Skyline. In addition, in spite of enjoying climbing to summits, I sometimes wish we left the summits alone and mysterious like many ancient people did. Occasionally I do that now, hiking with a summit in sight, but not climbing to it. On some days, I practice this even at Cowles mountain in San Diego, hiking on the back trails like Mesa, avoiding the crowds on the top and imagining that they were not there.

As we know, our generation is not the first to abuse the land for the sake of ego or pleasure or profit. Many of the old routes were created by people who exploited the land for profit, such as those who drove cattle up into high San Jacinto valleys like Tahquitz Valley. Maybe we should let those scars heal. Related to this, I wish we would rename places in the mountains, erasing the names of the exploiters.
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Re: Leatherneck Ridge (opposite Skyline) trip report

Postby Hikin_Jim » Fri May 20, 2016 11:35 am

Hi, Scott.

guest wrote:Jim, I do believe the mt. fire, (started in Idyllwild), is the one that moved all the way down to about 2.5k around Indian Canyons, then the wind blow it all the way up towards the tram).
Yes, you are quite correct. If one is referring to the Indian Canyons, then, yes, it was the Mountain Fire. If one is referring to Leatherneck Ridge or other portions of the northern San Jacintos, I believe that was the Silver Fire.

guest wrote:Don't expect much info from me on this board, as I'm not interested in some folks on here posting gps coordinates all over the web, so we can have tp (& accompanying poop), gu wrappers & water bottles thrown about like Skyline, and the inevitable rescues.
Some people are such idiots. I find that really frustrating. How do you go out in the wilderness and then leave trash? How is that possible? That's just nuts. I guess I'm too naive. I just cannot fathom someone who would be interested in wilderness who would also litter. How can those two things exist in the same person? It's like a person who hates sports who spends the money to get season tickets. Hunh?

There are some things like the BST (initials used deliberately; Scott knows which one; he and I have discussed this very subject) that I haven't been hesitant to mention since I thought they were topographically obvious, but my observation is that a lot of people don't seem to go on a route unless someone posts somewhere that it is a route. That also seems odd to me, but then I've been doing off trail hiking and map reading since the 1960's. There are a lot of things that are obvious routes to me that to a person who doesn't really know how to read a map are places of seemingly dark mystery.

I have published on my SGW map, the approximate location of Allison Falls, and... what do you know I'm seeing more reports of people going to Allison Falls. I'm hoping that the fact that it is off trail, several miles in (~10), brushy, and really really steep is going to keep it in good shape, but I find myself wondering if I did the right thing. I got its location off of an old map, so I figured it was already public knowledge. In retrospect, probably not. I'm the one of the few geeky enough to be looking at old maps. And put anything, and I mean just about anything, on the Internet, and it really takes off. Skyline, Register Ridge, and now even the Iron to Baldy Traverse, a difficult and dangerous route.

I have however refused to give out GPS tracks. If you are such a poor navigator that you can't find something as big as a waterfall, then maybe off trail hiking isn't for you.

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