We hiked along the PCT in Wrightwood from Inspiration Point and across Blue Ridge to kill time before checking in at our campsite at Table Mountain. This section of the PCT has great views of Mt. Baden-Powell and Mt. San Antonio (aka Mt. Baldy). It passes by Mountain High Ski Resort and continues on past the Blue Ridge Campground. Some of the oaks were starting to change color, and it finally felt like fall. We did just over two miles on the trail before it was time to head to camp and get set up so we could settle in and enjoy the evening.
The weather in Wrightwood was chilly! I knew we’d be in for a cold night, but I was looking forward to snuggling up inside the tent in our sleeping bags. After we made camp, we headed into town to pick up a pizza and bring it back to camp for dinner. No point in cooking when you have a pizza shop 10 minutes away! Wrightwood is such a cute little town. It’s a nice change compared to the chaos and sprawl of Los Angeles. All the shops were decorated for Halloween and I even spotted a pumpkin growing outside the Wrightwood Market. As we walked around town waiting for the pizza, I felt that warm and cozy feeling I used to get growing up in Pennsylvania when the seasons would change from summer to fall. This is exactly how it should be this time of year.
When we arrived back at camp, we got the fire going right away. The autumn days are getting shorter and it wouldn’t be long before sunset. We spent the rest of the evening enjoying each other’s company and the warmth of the crackling fire. As the daylight faded and darkness set in, the night sky filled with endless stars. We were almost ready to call it a night when we noticed a bright white light appear in the sky. We watched it as it continued to travel in a southwest direction until finally disappearing. Neither of us knew what it was, but guessed it might have been a comet or some sort of rocket. We didn’t find out until we got back to the city and had cell service that it was, in fact, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch. What a sight to see from on top of a mountain in the middle of a forest!
The next morning we were in no hurry to get up from our warm sleeping bags. We slept in until well after sunrise. When we did finally get up, we built a fire to keep warm in the chilly morning air, then made coffee and breakfast. There was no rush to be anyplace else, so we took our time and later did a walk around the campground and enjoyed the views from high up on the mountain before it was eventually time to check out and head back to civilization. Read More
My husband and I did a sunset hike on Mt. Lowe this past Sunday. We drove up to Eaton Saddle, followed the Mt. Lowe Fire Road through the Mueller Tunnel to Markham Saddle and then picked up the trail to the Mt. Lowe summit. I really like this area a lot. There’s never very many people and you get some great views of the rugged San Gabriels. The hike to the summit is a short one, but it was perfect for a day when we didn’t have time to do a long hike. The views are pretty great too. As the sun began to sink behind the Santa Monica Mountains to the west, we started to make our way back down the mountain. We reached Markham Saddle just 10 minutes before the sunset then stopped to enjoy the show as the light faded from orange, to pink and finally inky black. It was a little spooky coming back through the Mueller Tunnel in the dark, but the city below us lit up in a romantic, sparkling glow of lights. It was a great way to wrap up the weekend! Read More
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! Read More
Our Christmas Day was spent hiking a section of the Pacific Crest Trail from Inspiration Point to Vincent Gap. The air was calm but crisp and scented with my favorite vanilla Jeffery Pines. The trek along this stretch of the PCT is mostly evenly graded and under the shade of pine trees until you drop down into Vincent Gap where you’ll lose about 1,000’ of elevation in less then a mile. If you do this trail, just remember to leave some extra gas in the tank for the climb back up later. Beautiful pine needles cover much of the path along the way and just before Vincent Gap you’ll pass through a flat section where there’s a pine grove. As the trail begins to descend the scenery then changes into a scene from Snow White’s forest and you’re suddenly in a fairytale forest of oak trees. We hiked almost 10 miles round trip stopping at Jackson Flat campground to have lunch. I can’t think of a better way to have spent our Christmas this year then on the trail in these beautiful mountains! Read More