Eaton Saddle to Muir Peak 4,688', 9.5 miles RT, 1,358 +/-, July 4, 2018

Today we started out with a plan to do “just a short hike”.  Well, by now I should know that it rarely ever works out that way.  We didn’t feel like driving too far so we decided to stick closer to home and take a ride up to Eaton Saddle.  We hiked up the Mount Lowe Road, through the Mueller Tunnel (which I think is absolutely amazing) and reached Markham Saddle.  At that point we had several options to climb the peaks that we’d done before; Mt. Lowe, Mt. Disappointment, San Gabriel Peak or we could continue on the Mount Lowe Road.  I pulled out the map to see where it would take us.  It looked to be a little over four miles to reach the Mount Lowe Trail Camp and Inspiration Point (which we’d also been to before, but never from this direction).  We decided to give it a go.  What a great route!  I’m so glad we did it.  This area has so much history.  Not only was this a very low stress, no cliff hugging ledges kind of hike, but it also had a lot of butterflies.  After reaching Inspiration Point, we continued along the fire road past the crowd of people until we reached the junction to summit Muir Peak.  I knew we’d have the peak all to ourselves along with the views to boot.  My husband and I hung out up there for a while.  I chased around the Chalcedon Checkerspot butterflies trying to get some photos while my husband talked on his HAM radio.  There was a lot of California Buckwheat up on this peak, hence all the butterflies.  I even got one to sit on my finger.  The surrounding views were terrific; Pasadena and the city below, Mount Wilson, Occidental Peak, Mount Harvard, San Gabriel Peak, and Mount Lowe to name a few.  After we were done enjoying having the place to ourselves, we started heading back.  By this time it was getting pretty warm and much of the morning shade we had earlier was almost gone.  Thankfully, we always come prepared with plenty of water and there was a nice, refreshing breeze every now and then to help keep us cool.  As we hiked back, the road was buzzing with butterfly activity.  There were plenty of Blues, Swallowtails, Chalcedon Checkerspots, Hairstreaks and I was also able to find and photograph the elusive Great Basin wood-nymph.  As always, it was another great day to be in the mountains!

 Starting out at Eaton Saddle.  Looks like they got new signs since the last time I was here.

Starting out at Eaton Saddle.  Looks like they got new signs since the last time I was here.

 Starting up the road to the Mueller Tunnel.  There are great views right from the start.

Starting up the road to the Mueller Tunnel.  There are great views right from the start.

 Approaching the Mueller Tunnel.

Approaching the Mueller Tunnel.

 Mueller Tunnel built in 1942

Mueller Tunnel built in 1942

 View of San Gabriel Peak from Mount Lowe Road.

View of San Gabriel Peak from Mount Lowe Road.

 Views do not disappoint on this entire trek.

Views do not disappoint on this entire trek.

 The junction for the Tom Sloan Saddle trail.  We continued along the Mount Lowe Road here which takes a sharp turn to the southeast.

The junction for the Tom Sloan Saddle trail.  We continued along the Mount Lowe Road here which takes a sharp turn to the southeast.

 Some shady parts along the way to Mount Lowe Trail Camp and Inspiration Point.

Some shady parts along the way to Mount Lowe Trail Camp and Inspiration Point.

 There's a trail at this section that splits off and leads down to the camp.

There's a trail at this section that splits off and leads down to the camp.

 Oaks offer welcoming shade.

Oaks offer welcoming shade.

 Looking back at the short section of trail we descended to get to the camp.

Looking back at the short section of trail we descended to get to the camp.

 The Mount Lowe Trail camp is also the site of the past Ye Alpine Tavern which burned down in 1936.  It was built in 1896.

The Mount Lowe Trail camp is also the site of the past Ye Alpine Tavern which burned down in 1936.  It was built in 1896.

 We headed up to Inspiration Point.  There were quite a few people here today so we continued on to Muir Peak which I knew we'd have to all to ourselves.

We headed up to Inspiration Point.  There were quite a few people here today so we continued on to Muir Peak which I knew we'd have to all to ourselves.

 Continuing onto Muir Peak on the One Man, One Mule railway route.  There is so much history in this area it's worth Googling as I'm not going to go into it all here; however this section of the now fire road is where a mule once push people up the hill in a cart to Inspiration Point.

Continuing onto Muir Peak on the One Man, One Mule railway route.  There is so much history in this area it's worth Googling as I'm not going to go into it all here; however this section of the now fire road is where a mule once push people up the hill in a cart to Inspiration Point.

 I observed many Chalcedon Checkerspots, Euphydryas chalcedona. along this entire trek.

I observed many Chalcedon Checkerspots, Euphydryas chalcedona. along this entire trek.

 This is the junction that heads up to Muir Peak.

This is the junction that heads up to Muir Peak.

 Looking over towards Mount Wilson and Mount Harvard.

Looking over towards Mount Wilson and Mount Harvard.

 City views looking south towards Pasadena.

City views looking south towards Pasadena.

 There's a register here hidden in the rocks.

There's a register here hidden in the rocks.

 My husband checking in on his HAM radio.  Mount Lowe and San Gabriel Peak behind him.

My husband checking in on his HAM radio.  Mount Lowe and San Gabriel Peak behind him.

 Chalcedon Checkerspot, Euphydryas chalcedona enjoying the California Buckwheat on the peak.

Chalcedon Checkerspot, Euphydryas chalcedona enjoying the California Buckwheat on the peak.

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 Heading down.  

Heading down.  

 Hiking back on the Mount Lowe Road.

Hiking back on the Mount Lowe Road.

 This is a Satyrium Hairstreak - not quite sure of the species just yet.  Will need to do more research.

This is a Satyrium Hairstreak - not quite sure of the species just yet.  Will need to do more research.

 Satyrium Hairstreak

Satyrium Hairstreak

 Bernardino Blue with Bee

Bernardino Blue with Bee

 Satyrium Hairstreak

Satyrium Hairstreak

 Heading back it was getting pretty warm on the exposed sections of the route, but we had a cool breeze and plenty of water.

Heading back it was getting pretty warm on the exposed sections of the route, but we had a cool breeze and plenty of water.

 San Gabriel Peak, Mount Lawler, Mount Lowe

San Gabriel Peak, Mount Lawler, Mount Lowe

 Satyrium Hairstreak

Satyrium Hairstreak

 Satyrium Hairstreak

Satyrium Hairstreak

 Satyrium Hairstreak

Satyrium Hairstreak

 Satyrium Hairstreak

Satyrium Hairstreak

 Satyrium Hairstreak

Satyrium Hairstreak

 Satyrium Hairstreak

Satyrium Hairstreak

 Satyrium Hairstreak

Satyrium Hairstreak

 Satyrium Hairstreak

Satyrium Hairstreak

 Looking over at Mount Disappointment.

Looking over at Mount Disappointment.

 Great Basin wood-nymph, Cercyonis sthenele

Great Basin wood-nymph, Cercyonis sthenele

 Heading back through the Mueller Tunnel.  It's so impressive!

Heading back through the Mueller Tunnel.  It's so impressive!

 One more butterfly photo to end the hike, Chalcedon Checkerspot, Euphydryas chalcedona.

One more butterfly photo to end the hike, Chalcedon Checkerspot, Euphydryas chalcedona.

 From Eaton Saddle where we parked our car you can see many peaks of the Angeles National Forest; Waterman Mountain, Mount Sally, Mount Baden-Powell, South Mount Hawkins, Wright Mountain, Pine Mountain, Mount San Antonio, Telegraph Peak, Big Horn Peak.

From Eaton Saddle where we parked our car you can see many peaks of the Angeles National Forest; Waterman Mountain, Mount Sally, Mount Baden-Powell, South Mount Hawkins, Wright Mountain, Pine Mountain, Mount San Antonio, Telegraph Peak, Big Horn Peak.