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tekewin

Bluewater Crown

The San Mateo Wilderness is a lightly traveled area southeast of the Santa Ana Mountains. Bluewater Canyon runs north-south near the heart of the wilderness and is surrounded by the Verdugo Trail to the west and North Tenaja Trail to the east (the USFS topo calls this trail Bluewater Ridge Trail). The canyon itself deserves further exploration and is high on my to do list. Looking at the topo map, my target was the highest peak along the perimeter of the canyon I dubbed Bluewater Crown. At roughly 3231' and right at the top of the canyon, it is only 40' lower than the local monarch, Sitton Peak. I couldn't find any beta on this peak, no benchmark on the topo, no firebreak and no use trail to the top.




Bluewater Crown ahead


Use trail to Cub Scout Peak


Cub Scout summit


Heading to Bluewater Crown

Between Cub Scout and Bluewater Crown is moderate to heavy bushwhacking. Along the way are channels with lighter brush, maybe remnants of an overgrown firebreak. They aren't contiguous, but I could usually find one within 20' of where the current one ended. Good route choices are the difference between moderate and heavy thrashing. I did some of both. The summit of the Crown has five bumps, one at the north end, one at the south end, and three in the middle. The two highest were along the east (right) side. It was a very close call, but the first eastern bump seems slightly higher than the other. A tree growing there is clearly higher than anything else. I dropped a register there in an artisinal glass jar. I set it up at the base of the tree below the highest boulder.

Being in the middle of a large summit area, the views were not the best. I continued over the south bump down to a perfect lookout over Bluewater Canyon. Views there were commanding and I lingered longer than usual. I took a photosphere from the lookout but it turned out broken. The south ridge appeared to be another viable ascent/descent route to the Verdugo Trail. I debated whether to descend that way, but ended up returning the way I came. I visited the final middle bump on the summit on the way back for completeness. Then, I got tangled up in some manzanita heading back to Cub Scout, escaping with minor scratches. I was extra grubby by the time I got back to the trail. From Four Corners, I took the slightly longer Bear Ridge trail back.


High point


Summit boulders


Cub Scout lower left, Boy Scout Peak background


Sitton Peak, only a little higher


New Register in artisan glass jar


View of Bluewater Canyon, the reason for the trip
Uncle Rico

Nice one teke. Bluewater looks super nice.  Cool
JerryN

Bluewatr

this was interesting.  I have hiked Sitton quite a bit but never Bluewater -- will have to check it out.
scottawr

Nice! I wanted to do the traverse but I never did. Have you been out to oak flat? Interesting area, herd of cows roaming but the meadows are nice. TONS of peony flowers when we get a little rain.
tekewin

Hey Scott,

Sean, Dima, and I did the full Bluewater traverse at the end of September. We went down Verdugo to Oak Flat, descended into Bluewater Canyon, out to San Mateo Creek, then back on North Tenaja. Just uner 21 miles. Oak Flat seems really out of place with the rest of the forest in that area. I thought the trails would be overgrown around San Mateo Creek but everything was groomed, signed, and in great shape.

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