This year my husband and I signed up for the 2018 Six Pack of Peaks Challenge. It’s a series put together by Jeff Hester of SoCalHiker.net of some of the toughest peaks in Southern California to help train for bigger hikes such as Mount Whitney. We have until September to complete the six required peaks. Since we’d already climbed several of the peaks last year, I decided we should officially take the challenge. This hike was also our hike #40 of the 52 Hike Challenge which we started last year.
Today was our second time up Cucamonga Peak. The first time was on Thanksgiving day of last year and I was tired and sore for 2 days afterwards. It was tough on my body and I wasn’t even sure if I’d want to do it today, but we decided to hike to Icehouse Saddle and then decide where to go from there since there are other peaks that branch off from that junction. Once we arrived at the saddle, it was confirmed we were going to climb Cucamonga again.
We skirted around the mountain through the rugged, narrow section of trail that leads from Icehouse Saddle to the saddle between Big Horn and Cucamonga. Easy enough. Then onto the rocky, relentless switchbacks. The nice part about this section is that you have amazing views down into the canyon and there is nothing but wilderness. It’s incredibly beautiful and it is completely silent, especially on a day like today when we had no winds. I’ve only ever experienced that type of silence in the desert. Up we went until we finally arrived at the marker leading to the peak. It was actually a lot better this time then the last. At no point did I feel like quitting. It was a challenging hike, but well worth the effort. We spent some time at the summit hanging out with the chipmunks who were bumming our pizza, and chatting with other hikers. After about a 45 minute break, we began our descent. One thing to remember when hiking any trails that lead back through Icehouse Canyon are the rocks. There will be plenty of them to negotiate on the way down and your knees and ankles will be feeling it. On the plus side, the scenery is some of the most beautiful in the area, so you’ll have something to keep your mind off your tired legs.