Ice Cream on Cucamonga

(7/17/06) Written by Allan W.

Photo credits: Jeremy, Jeff C, and Glen

How many of you remember that Bugs Bunny episode when he and Daffy go on vacation and they "must of took a wrong turn at Cucamonga"? Yeah, well that was my only knowledge of this famed and bizarrely named place. Now, I know better.

Cucamonga Peak is one of the highest peaks in the San Gabriel Mountains which are located in the San Bernardino National Forest. There were 17 of us - quite a good-looking group I might add - and Ron's dog, Ima (as in "I'm a dog). I, at least, was a little nervous because that Saturday was predicted to be the hottest day of the summer. Knowing there was a 4000-foot elevation gain in the first 6 miles did not ease my apprehension either. We completely lucked out. Yes, it was hot but the breezes and the tree cover made this 12-mile day hike bearable. The terrain changed quite a bit as we made our way up to the summit - sometimes looking prehistoric as we trekked across gravel trails, most times very green and wooded.

At the top, we rested for lunch against the backdrop of fantastic views: San Gorgonio, San Jacinto, Santiago, Mt. Baldy, the Pacific Ocean, the LA basin, and the Mojave Desert. The best part of lunch was dessert. I'm not being metaphorical. We really had ice cream. Andy was gracious enough to procure for dry ice for the experiment which proved very yummy as well as lug it up the mountain.

The descent was quick - at least for some. As usual, our fearless leader, Glen, scampered down to prepare a second surprise for us. Others also bounded downward effortlessly. Others slid down. And, still others, like myself, simply descended (by the way, hiking poles rock). Regardless of the pace, the views were even more spectacular on the way back especially the ladybug convention and the 2 black llamas.

We all met along the creek near the trail head and the water felt soooo nice. Shirtless men in nature certainly does make for a nice ending to a great day. And then, there was Becka's Homo-Eca's kitchen. Glen outdid himself. We feasted on shrimp, sandwiches, veggies, chips, cookies, sodas and beers.

This was a great hike - good pace, challenging, great vistas, fun people, great food and ICE CREAM. If Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck really did take a wrong turn at Cucamonga, it wouldn't have been the worst thing that could have happened.