If I throw myself off Lookout Mountain
No More for my soul to keep
I wonder who will drive my car
I wonder if my Mom will weap
~Lookout Mountain, Drive By Truckers
The other morning, I found myself out in Pomona during the work-week which is not a typical occurrence. So after taking care of business, I decided to leverage the unusual situation and go hunting for an alternate cross-country route to Lookout Mountain that David R and dima, two characters I know, had blogged about on the San Gabriel Mountains Discussion Forum. I don't know whether I was doing the route correctly or not, but I didn't achieve the objective. So at least on one level, I was doing it wrong. On the other hand, you really can’t do the outdoors “wrong,” especially when the alternative is sitting behind a desk.
I parked in the village in front of the visitor's center and started up Bear Canyon. Along the way, I admired the quaint cabins and day-dreamed about what daily life was like there. I followed the road until it became a footpath and then followed that to the point where it begins the short series of switchbacks climbing eastward just below where the last two cabins in the canyon are situated. Immediately adjacent to this spot, a lateral drainage enters the main canyon from the west. Here, I crossed the creek bed and started up the drainage which had been traveled by others as I saw blue tape and rock cairns along the way. So I figured if I wasn't on the right route, at least I was on a route.
I rock-hopped up the drainage to a point where a subsidiary drainage entered from the west. I figured this couldn't be the right drainage because it appeared too narrow and its entrance obstructed with deadfall. So I continued my up the "main" channel passing and posing for a trail cam mounted to a tree along the way. Beyond that point, I noticed that the blue tape and rock cairns had disappeared. Ignoring that, I pushed on and finally came to a dry waterfall that was probably 20 feet high. The falls were climbable and there appeared to be a steep bypass on the right, but since I was solo, I figured discretion was the better part of adventure and so I turned tail here. I also reasoned that there was a good chance I was on the wrong trajectory anyway, so I backtracked to the junction with the subsidiary canyon and began my way up that drainage instead.
|Ascending the Main Branch|
|The Main Branch After the Split|
But where others had been was apparently not where I wanted to be. As I neared what appeared to be ridgeline leading north from Pt. 5696, the brush got thicker. Then it became an impenetrable wall at every turn so I finally abandoned the fool’s effort. Reflecting on it now, I probably should have made my way back to the channel and continued upward, but figured I'd save that for another day. Marveling at how much easier it was descending then ascending, I retreated back to the main trail and decided to go to Bear Flats to see if I could locate the beginning of another fabled cross-country route to Lookout Mountain.
|Mouth of the Lateral Drainage|
|Drainage Ascending to the Saddle Just North of Pt. 5696|
|View South from the Bear Canyon Trail|
|Ontario Peak Dressed in Winter Finery|
|The LBC from the Bear Flats Trail|