I am really enjoying this snowshoeing thing! It was a beautiful day, so we decided to venture back into Angeles National Forest taking an alternative route around the recent rock slide on the ACH near Red Box and check out the conditions on Waterman Mountain. The ski lifts had recently been opened, so we knew there would be a good amount of snow. We past the lifts as skiers and snowboarders were just heading into the parking area and parked our car at the usual spot for the Mt. Waterman Trailhead. There was only one other car in the turnout when we arrived, and the air was chilly with an occasional gust of wind. We geared up (There’s a lot more to gear to deal with in winter.) and started up the Mt. Waterman Trail. At the junction with the Fire Road, we decided to head in that direction instead of our usual route. The snow conditions were mixed with sections of crusty ice on top of snow in the shade and a powdery mix in the sun. The snow was deep but packed and the fire road was a bit steep. We got a good workout as we enjoyed the views of snow capped Mt. Baden-Powell in the distance. We took our time and had the route mostly to ourselves. About two miles up we reached the junction with the ski runs. We stopped and watched some of the skiers and snowboarders do their thing. We could have continued on, but decided to take our time and head back. I thoroughly enjoyed every single second of another beautiful winter day!Read More
For my upcoming birthday I asked my husband for a Jetboil cooking system. It would be the first item in a long list of backpacking gear that we’re going to need to make the crossover from day hikers to backpackers. Since I’d been looking for an excuse to make the short hike up the little bump called Mt. Akawie (aka Buckhorn Peak if you’re using a Tom Harrison map), we headed up to the mountain to test the new cooking system and spend a quiet morning together.
We hit the trail just after 6 am. After a very short distance we took the path leading up to the peak. There appeared to be a number of fire roads around to explore, but we were ready to get cooking and I couldn’t wait for a hot cup of coffee. The Jetboil system did not disappoint! For breakfast I’d packed a couple of Eggo waffles (my favorite) and brought along a freeze dried breakfast scramble from Mountain House. Overall, it was pretty good. I definitely could live on this stuff for a couple of days in the backcountry. After eating, we got comfortable on one of the large, flat bounders looking towards Waterman Mountain and Twin Peaks and napped for a short while. After a peaceful rest and stomachs full of interesting freeze dried food, we packed up our gear and did some exploring around the mountain both on and off-trail. An unmaintained road/trail took us northeast around the bump and offered views looking towards Pleasant View Ridge. We also saw a lot of deer; mostly doe and one with a young fawn. The road/trail eventually disappeared and we made a scramble up the east side of the mountain before heading back the way we came. It was around 11 am when we got back to the car. We thanked Mount Akawie for the hospitality and headed home to enjoy what was left of our weekend.Read More
Our destination today was to hike Icehouse Canyon through the Cucamonga Wilderness to Icehouse Saddle and then summit Timber Mountain via the Three Tee’s Trail. Icehouse Canyon has quite a bit of history. In the 1800s, there was an icehouse here that serviced Los Angeles. The ice was brought down from the mountains by mules and sold door to door. There was also a resort here that was built in 1880. You can find more info. on all of this by searching it on Google. It’s very interesting and really makes you appreciate the area in which you are hiking.
Icehouse Canyon is a popular destination among Angelenos, so in order to beat the crowds, I was out of bed by 3:30 am, on the road and at the Old Baldy Ranger Station to collect our wilderness permits just after 5:30 am. We arrived at the trailhead in the dark, but soon dawn broke and the sun rose to turn pitch black skies to moody blue. As we began our ascent on the rocky terrain of the trail, we could hear the running creek off to our right. It followed us through the canyon until we we reached the beautiful Cucamonga Wilderness where the trail opened up to towering trees.
Much of this trail is walking on rock and uneven terrain, so you have to pay attention here. Then once you hit the switchbacks, get ready to party even harder! It’s a slow burn all the way to the saddle but I guarantee the scenery will make you forget about your fatigued leg muscles.
The saddle is a junction for a number of different hikes. Knowing the weather was going to heat up, we had already planned to summit Timber Mountain and be back down before it got too hot.
We took a short snack break at the saddle and then headed straight up the Three Tee’s Trail to summit Timber Mountain. It was a short one mile climb, but that was no easy trek. Once at the peak were were rewarded with the most beautiful mountain top covered in a forest of trees and huge, fallen pinecones. I now understand why it’s called Timber. We had a little lunch (sandwiches taste so good at over 8,000’), and took in the scenery until it was time to head back.
With the cardio work out of the way, I could now enjoy myself by taking photos of… EVERYTHING. Every which way I turned, it was a picture perfect landscape. Coming back was definitely another challenge. All those rocks we climbed up on had to be negotiated carefully on the way back down. I could feel my quads working hard. It was definitely something you had to pay attention to. When we arrived back in the canyon, the sunlight peaked through the shady canopy of trees to create magical hues of green and gold. Coupled with the sound of rushing water, I had to keep stopping and standing there saying, “Wow. Oh Wow! This is so pretty!”
We passed quite a few people on the way back down, but not nearly as many as I had originally anticipated. I guess not everyone likes getting up at 3:00 in the morning to beat the heat. Personally, I would not have it any other way.
This is a very pretty, very green trail that starts at Buckhorn Campground and leads you into the Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness via Burkhart trail down to Cooper Canyon Falls. This is an upside down trail, so if you do it as an out and back you'll gain your elevation on the way back going all uphill. The falls were just a trickle, but it was a beautiful hike and fun to explore the creek at the bottom of the canyon.
We started our hike around 07:25 AM from Buckhorn Campground on the Burkhart Trail leading into Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness, 26,752 acres of protected land. You do not need a permit to enter this wilderness. The moment you step onto the trail, you are engrossed in a forest of lush green. Oak, Douglas Fir, Jeffrey Pine and Incense Cedar offer a canopy of shade along almost the entire journey. As you walk, you can see and hear Little Rock Creek far below. It’s very peaceful with only the sounds of flowing water and morning songbirds. Aside from the campground which was very full, the trail itself was quiet and we had it mostly to ourselves the entire hike. The trail makes a steady descent downward into the canyon. It’s an easy grade and not too steep, although as you get closer to the falls, it can get a little rocky with some loose gravel. It's nothing too difficult, just watch your step. Along the way we crossed over two creek beds which were nice for photography. We took our time to explore the area and did a little boulder hopping along the creek.
It seemed we’d traveled a bit further then we should have to get to the falls, and we still hadn’t seen them. I got out my map to take a look to see where we were. As suspected, we had actually passed the area where they were supposed to be. At this point we headed back the way we came, and I found the use trail which is a short, but steep scramble to get to the bottom of the canyon where the falls would normally be had it not been summer. At this time of year, however, they were just a trickle of running water on mossy rock which is why they were so easily missed.
Although there wasn’t a rushing waterfall to see, we were not at all disappointed. This hike was beautiful. Satisfied that we’d reached our destination, we now continued our ascent all uphill now back to the trailhead at Buckhorn Campground. We took our time to enjoy the scenery and peaceful splendor of the wilderness.Read More