Saturday, July 27, 2013

Momyer to Dobbs Camp - San Gorgonio

There are only two trails I have not hiked in the San Gorgonio Wilderness: Lost Creek and Momyer. On Saturday, Josh and I undertook Momyer to Dobbs Camp as a day hike. We left San Diego around 7am and arrived at the trail head at 10.

The air was sticky and warm as we crossed Mill Creek and scrambled our way to the trail head.

 The trail was well maintained and had a gentle grade weaving in and out of oak groves and desert chaparral. We watched the lizards do push ups on the rocks and passed a family with HUGE backpacks. We never saw them again and I wonder if they made it or had to abort under the weight of their extensive gear.

 Momyer proved to have many interesting bugs with the variety of plant life. We spotted a California Sister Butterfly who was kind enough to let Josh take this awesome picture.

We weren't sure of the weather on our exposed ascent to Alger Creek. The clouds started to get dark and we thought we may get a thunderstorm.

Back in the Oak groves we spotted a tree that thought he was an octopus. I'm sure he walks around at night too.

We continue up and spot a downed tree covered in Carpenter Ants. We watched them for a while as they picked up grains of wood pulp from the inside of the tree and dropped them off the edge. They were very aware of what or who was near the log and when Josh touched the edge an ant came to investigate. He didn't bite but made his presence knows.

We continued on and up and spotted a cat hole fail. This is not how you dispose of toilet paper in the woods. Pack it out dudes. :-/

Pushing onward and upwards we turned away from Mill Creek into the pines.

By now, Josh's body is giving him fits. We pulled up a log and ate some snacks to try to right his blood sugar.

After snacks we pushed on. Just shy of the junction for Alger Creek Camp Josh heard a little noise in the brush next to him. He glanced over and spotted this Southern Pacific Rattlesnake standing about knee high. She only gave him two short rattles but was seriously pissed off. Josh "backed up a mile and looked for his purse" as my mom would say, thanking the snake for rattling at him before striking as she was inches from his exposed leg. We gave her some space and went for our cameras as she crossed the trail. The consensus is that she is a gravid female resulting in her fat belly and cranky attitude. 
I guess if your pregnant in the dead of summer you're entitled to be cranky.

Finally we made it to the junction for the Momyer unmaintained trail that shoots straight up a canyon toward East San Bernardino Peak. We'll have to do that one on a cool day as its covered in buckthorn with doesn't pair well with shorts. Just after the junction we meet a couple of volunteer rangers who check our permit. We told them about the snake so they're not surprised by her like we were!

Josh is feeling super crappy by now. I take note of how he doesn't complain like I do when I bonk. He's the hiker I hope to be. I whine and moan on most hikes so the tables being turned is weird. I offer to turn around and head down but he refuses saying he must reach his goal! We must do a double digit day hike!

We admire some interesting geological formations courtesy of the San Andreas Fault giving the North American Plate the boot by chipping off pieces of the plate and shaping the transverse range in the process. 

Finally we descend into a canyon and arrive at Alger Creek Camp. We hiked down into the camp to have some lunch. We are amazed at the beauty! Huge sugar pines and lush riparian foliage including Pink Sierra Currants.

Josh thought to try packing a fresh Avocado up for lunch. This proved to be DELECTABLE! Do recommend! We ate and chilled for a while checking out the flora and fauna. This would be a great camp for Richard and Brita!

We crossed the creek and climbed the final 800 feet or so to Dobbs. The temperate air of the canyon was quickly replaced by scorching sun, sharp, overgrown chaparral and weird mushrooms on the side of the trees.

When we made it to the junction of Dobbs and Saxton Josh hit the wall officially. He decided to try taking a glucose tab to see if that would help. When he opened the package we were surprised to see a bubble mess of melted electrolyte tablets. We cut the pack in half and in a few minutes Josh was feeling much better. 

With Josh back in the game we descended into the canyon where Dobbs Cabin was built. The story goes, brothers, John and Will Dobbs decided they were going to build a cabin and a powerhouse on the creek harnessing the power of a large waterfall there. The local government found out about it and shut it down, saying that it was illegal for them to stop the natural falls. John Dobbs then gave up on the project and moved down the mountain to Redlands.

Josh and I crossed the creek and met some backpackers setting up for the night. We chatted them up a bit and crossed another fork in the creek to a shady spot where we hung out and ate.

The day was getting away from us and we decided to return next weekend for an overnight to further explore the area. We took some pictures and headed back out. 

We played the alphabet game as we hiked down and the trip back was much faster even though this trail is equally difficult on the way out. We spotted an alligator lizard run out of a prickly pear and finally reached the trailhead and the truck.

Now to plan the backpacking trip for next weekend. My cat Joey is so helpful with these things. The trip was about 10 miles and worth every drop of sweat for the scenery it provided.


  1. Thanks for the pics and descriptions. Wife and I are headed up there Memorial Day weekend. Hope it's as nice :)