Thursday, November 13, 2014
Hike 2014.057 -- Wildhorse Creek Trail, San Bernardino National Forest
The Wildhorse Creek trailhead is off of Highway 38, just a bit west of the turn for Heart Bar Ranch, where you'd go to reach the Aspen Grove trailhead. So, if you're coming up from the Mill Creek entrance to the San Bernardino National Forest, this trailhead will be on the left, during a brief section where there are two lanes heading east. There's a sign on the side of the road.
Indeed even from where I parked, I could see the dirt road continue a bit further up, with several possible paths. I went on up, reached a fence, then found and passed through a small opening in the fence where the trail began.
The beginning section of trail is over a sandy, wash-bottom surface. Most of the trail has a firm surface, however, and it turns out it's surprisingly easy to stay on the trail in limited light (not that I am recommending that).
The trail also heads westward, making its way well above the drainage of Wildhorse Creek. I didn't see or hear any water until I got all the way to the campground, though this is November; not sure how the water flows in the spring.
By 4:15pm, I had barely reached the aforementioned fork in the trail. I did not want to get caught in the dark, so I turned around then. I made it back past Wildhorse Campground quite quickly, then had the slightly incline back to where the ridge opens up from Wildhorse Creek Canyon and begins its switchbacks.
I continued, now heading east, and slowly making my way down. The sky and the ground was getting darker, which still struck me as odd. Even worse, I was wearing my prescription sunglasses; I left my regular glasses in the car, because I wasn't thinking I'd need them on my dayhike.
Eventually, it got dark enough that I had no choice; I had to walk without my corrected vision. Still, the trail proved surprisingly easy to follow as the light failed. These last pictures were taken with me still needing about an hour to get back to my car.
Soon enough, the sound of cars on Highway 38 became louder, and their headlights closer. I passed the useless, faded signs that still told me I was successfully retracing my steps.