I must admit, I do have mix feelings about off road adventures. I can’t count how many times I have confused my Husband by my reaction every time he takes the long off road to our destination. First I hate it, because for one thing, the ride and risk scares me to death but then in the end, I freakin’ LOVE it. But the off road adventure we did in Holcomb Valley was no mixed feelings at all. It was all just pure love.
Holcomb Valley located 5 miles away from Big Bear City, was once a gold mine site named after William Holcomb, who found a gold there on the 1860. Not long after, the word about the gold spread quickly and Holcomb Valley became one of the largest towns in San Bernardino County. Holcomb Valley, however, was not a place for all the fun and games, with all the people competing for gold, it became a place for violence and hanging justice during the time. Yikes.
Just a week after coming back from our honeymoon, my husband and I were in a serious itch for another adventure and when my Husband found out about Holcomb Valley, he knew this is the place we must embark on next. We decided to camp for the weekend and I took my little nephew with us since he will be going back to Nebraska the next weekend after that. We left late in the morning and didn’t reach Big Bear City till 11 in the Morning. Since it was our first time to explore outside the City of Big Bear, we stopped first at the Information Center to get maps and more information about our destination. I’m glad we did this because without the Map and information that we got there, we probably would’ve never found the road that leads to Holcomb Valley. Anyways, we finally reached the campground in Holcomb Valley and to our surprise, the campground was nearly full. We were lucky enough to have arrived in time and scored the last campground spot. The campground was $21/night and it was a first come first serve. Typically, $21/night is a bit pricey when it comes to camping, but it was totally worth it because the campsite was well-maintained and the vault bathrooms were kept clean. What my Husband and I loved about this campground is that, its only big enough to accommodate enough people. Which was good, because when it comes to camping I still like to see other human beings but only enough to have that peace and quite environment. Another thing we love about this campground is that, it’s only 5 miles away from the Big Bear City and yet it still feels far away from the hustle and bustle.
We decided to set up our tent and have lunch first before we head out to an even more fun off road adventure in Holcomb Valley: The Gold Fever Trail
Gold Fever Trail is a self guide auto tour that takes you through scenic route of Holcomb Valley. The unpaved trail, if I can remember was about 12 miles loop. On each mile of the tour, it has a stop and history to tell about the gold mining back in the 1800s. Now, I don’t want to bore you and keep this post long with each and all of the history behind the 12 stops, but if you are interested about the history of it all, you may read here.
So off we go to the off road adventure and the first mile started on a graveled dirt road, then it was followed by a big sudden mud dip and rocky dirt road. This is where all the fun started… as my husband took a big dive in a puddle of mud and splashed it all over the car, I couldn’t stop but laugh and get all excited. I remember my nephew in the back laughing and screaming. The scary part about splashing your whole car with mud is you lose sight of the road but at the same time, you are too busy with that rush feeling that it doesn’t even matter. Seat belts were locked, we were bouncing off our seats, we were screaming, we were giggling….it was just so much fun. Mind you too, I actually had a migraine on our way to Holcomb Valley, but I had such a blast that I managed to forget about it.
Anyways, as we continued on our adventure, our first stop was the Lucky Baldwin Mine. Lucky Baldwin Mine, was such an interesting and impressive stop out of all, I have to say. The place itself was just seriously such a feast for my eyes. The large rustic ore bin, which was built by Elias “Lucky” Baldwin’s (hence, the name) was quite impressive. Aside from the impressive ore bin, the view of the valley was also spectacular.
Not too far away from Lucky Baldwin Mine was the Metzer Mine, our second stop. We hiked on a short trail about just an eighth of a mile before we finally reach the famous mine cave. This stop was a little spooky, to say the least. The unknowns, unlit and cold breeze inside the cave was the most scary part. We went as far as the cave would go and the cave didn’t go far as we thought. Good for me though, because not only I was getting the creeps in there but I felt like I was getting suffocated. We decided to get out of the cave and head on to our last stop, the Pigmy Cabin.
Pigmy Cabin felt like we have been taken back to the time of the old wild west. The brochure was a bit unclear about the history of this tiny cabin. But that’s okay because some things are better left in the imagination, right? The cabin’s surrounding was one of the best part of the stop. Around it was a huge lot of meadows, but sadly, Southern California is in serous drought so there weren’t as much wild flowers. The good news though is it was still pretty even with just the greenery in sight.
It was already late in the afternoon and my migraine reappeared so we decided to head back to our campsite. Sadly, when we got back to our campsite, I didn’t get to stay up with my husband all night to star gaze. But needless to say, that weekend was such a blast. Not only was that off road adventure was just pure love but the camping adventure also felt like we did everything right. Now the question is, how do I really feel about off road adventure now? I still can’t say that I love this adventure just yet because I still get that mixed feeling about it every now and then. But do I enjoy it? Of course! And I would go again and again until I teach myself how to embrace and love it. And that’s the thing about some adventures, sometimes you don’t always love it at first, but you learn how to love it as you experience the joy of that adventure again and again.