PCMC's "Pioneer-Style" Black Mountain Rendezvous
What You Should Bring and How Things Are Done
PCMC's annual Black Mountain run began in 1970 as a motorcycle club event - nobody actually runs anywhere. There are a number of recreational activities and interesting hikes if you'd like to experience that, like a challenging one to the top of Mt. San Jacinto, or easy ones like to the fire lookout. Actually, you barely have to move if you don't feel like it. The conversation, games and conviviality around the camp make for pleasant relaxation, and many use this time simply to catch up on rest or reading.
Typical RVs and trailers are usually too big for the limited maneuvering space- the recommended maximum is 12-foot. The USFS describes this group area as primarily for tent camping. Also, the road is impossible for very large vehicles.
Carpooling is a good idea, but we don't have any system set up to organize it. That said, if transportation is needed let us know and we'll see what we can do. Please let us know if you have room for a passenger and his stuff. Many resources can be shared.
It's an easy hundred-mile cruise to Banning, but then an engine-heating climb into the mountains, and it's a bumpy dirt road for the last 6 miles. Try to budget enough time to take this scenic drive unhurried, and in daylight (it's a good 3 hours from LA when traffic is light, and the sky is dark by 8 - you do the math). NOTE: Traffic on the interstate is heavier on Friday, especially later in the day.
IF YOU'RE COMING BY MOTORCYCLE, let us know - we hope to organize a group ride through Hemet if others are interested. If you need help hauling some of your gear, we'll try to arrange for a member to bring your stuff up by car.
Fire danger is exceptionally high and fires of any kind are often forbidden completely. Because of our historic good reputation at Black Mountain, we have special permission from the head ranger for ONE campfire.
There is no drinkable water right at the camp. It's not necessary to haul water all the way up the mountain - jugs can be filled at the little spring a mile before our camp, just before the spur going to the lookout, and the water is excellent. See the Topographic Map one of our friends provided. LAT/LON is 33.8242, -116.7522.
People usually drive to the trailheads of the two local trails. The surrounding woods have no trails and no other roads; nothing is marked. Hikers can easily get lost in the dense woods and steep canyons of this range. If you go out hiking for even a short distance, remember to take precautions; firstly, TELL SOMEONE WHERE YOU'RE GOING. Carry a belt pack with essential items; at least water, emergency whistle, cellphone (turned off to preserve charge), and bright-colored jacket for starters, and depending on how far and long you expect to go out, possibly more serious equipment: http://www.traditionalmountaineering.org/Basic.htm.
WHAT TO BRING
PCMC no longer hauls and sets up the extravagant showers, water heaters, stage, lighting, sound, projectors, and other grandiose luxuries remembered from the big runs of earlier years when there were a lot more members. We've used this rustic group site for a long time - the facilities are quite adequate and it's very clean, but primitive.
A solar or other camp shower, towel, hiking boots or shoes, warm bedroll & pad, toiletries, medicines, first aid stuff and other personal items are pretty standard. You'll want short pants as well as long, and of course a jacket. Don't forget the usual sun glasses, sun hat, sun lotion, bug repellent, flashlight, eyelash curler, etc. We'll have plastic and paper wares, but some like to bring sturdier mug, dishes and utensils, which also reduces the volume of trash. A folding chair is nice to have, but not essential. If the weather is rainy (it's happened, rarely but recently) you'll want to be in a tent or something; otherwise with warm bedding it's pleasant to sleep under the open stars or by the fire.
Many guys like to cook something special at the camp, and impromptu potluck meals have become quite eventful in recent years. There are large wood-fired campground stoves as well as our propane field stoves, so it's ok if you don't have your own. Try to bring the cookware and utensils that you'll need, but again, we have a lot of that stuff already.
Bring what gear you have and whatever you like to eat and drink, and all the resources will come together. Consider what kind of leftovers you'll have and how they'll keep, and bring plenty of ice. (By the way - the ice chest mfg's all say your ice will last longest if you keep the plug open and let the water drain.) If you are low on ice or anything or if you have something extra, make it known - there are often surpluses of many things, and we hate to see waste.
Some guys buy all their consumable supplies at home, pack it up and go directly to the camp. Others purchase what they need in Beaumont or Banning before heading up the mountain. There are a variety of large stores - groceries, hardware, auto parts, etc. - around the Highland Springs exit and east along Ramsey Street. Closer to the camp is a good general store up in Idyllwild, but as you could expect, it's rather sparse and expensive. Shopping in Beaumont is ridiculously slow, and the cashiers and everyone else move at the pace of glaciers, whatever time of day you're stuck there.
No one should need to be reminded that human companions are expected to watch, manage and clean up after their pets. Don't forget your collars and leashes, etc.
PRIVACY & NUDITY
For over 40 years we've rented this place for our exclusive use. Some fellows like to go nude, and no one has any problem with that. Inevitably, a few nosey lookey-loos are likely to come around and want to "check out" the campground. We try to discourage these people with a "private" sign, but we can't bar them, and some will just come in and look around anyway. As the area is posted, we don't let them inhibit us.
All of our trash has to be trucked down the mountain to a distant landfill, and we would like to minimize the volume of it. Try not bring gear that's likely to break down and have to be discarded. Recycling of plastic and aluminum will help, and in such volume it will also help the club recoup expenses. We'll be collecting cans, glass and plastic in some central place, and we thank you for your contribution.
A FEW FINAL NOTES
"There is a time and place for everything, and this is not it." ...Clouseau
Remember that alcohol can have a more pronounced effect at altitude. Safety is of paramount importance - be responsible and considerate.
Scents and colognes seem to attract more insects. Soap and water are effective in reducing the attraction of bugs.
Cigarette butts, bottle caps, pop tops, etc. - please remember that every last trace has to be picked up before the last of us leaves. We try to keep the place tidy throughout our visit. Nothing must be left behind, except in or by the trash cans.