A Hundred Peaks - page 12
No hiking since the semester began in January, which is typical, but I wanted to get something in during Spring Break. Since mot of the time was spent grading and doing other work-related stuff, in desperation I took off the Saturday, which was March 31, and nipped up to the San Gabriels.
The higher elevations had some snow (and ice), and the Angeles Crest Hwy is closed seasonally about 20 miles along, preventing access to some of the more remote peaks, so I decided on a couple of lower-elevation, close-in peaks that I had not yet done. These had been closed access after the Station Fire in 2009 but were now open - Occidental Peak and Mount Markham, both close to Mt Wilson.
I started out on a rather gloomy morning, with 30% rain probability forecast for the mountains, but I figured, short hikes on use trails or trails, no problem. As I started up the Angeles Crest Hwy I was getting into denser and denser cloud, at one point down to about 100 ft visibility. But coming out onto the crest itself, and it was glorious sunshine. From the turnoff to Mt Wilson there was a wonderful view of the clouds from which I had just emerged. At the Occidental Peak trailhead it wa salmost 70 degrees, clear and sunny.
A Hundred Peaks - page 17
Sunday July 15, 2018 Rabbit Peak
Sure enough, a much more relaxing hike today. Back to the west end of the San Gabriels. That area is all chaparral, and I was concerned about the temperature, but I decided to start reasonably early and not overdo things. Rabbit Peak was my target this day. The temperature at the trailhead when I set off was 79 degrees.
This is a navigationally simple out-and-back in open terrain, from a trailhead at a campground that is at the side of an asphalt road. As it turned out, I had line of sight with the road for most of the hike, so any emergency and I could be flashing motorists with my safety mirror. The only emergency I could foresee would be a rattlesnake bite, but I did not see or hear a single snake. And, of course, the chance of being bitten by one is miniscule.
The hike stared out along a dirt road - gentle grade and good surface. After about a mile, there is a little scramble up rocks to the left of the road to start ascending a ridge. This goes up to a road (the same one, but after many twists and turns), follows it for a short distance and then leaves for another ridge ascent.
The summit ridge with Rabbit Peak at the end
I came back down the road all the way, because it looked quite appealing from the top. It went past an apparently active mine, but there was no access, understandably. I was back at the truck within 4 hours, having hiked a leisurely 5.4 miles with 2033' of elevation gain. The temperature when I got there was 97 degrees, so I was not tempted to try another peak.
Riparian zone along the dirt road
Saturday July 21, 2018 Iron Mtn #3
Another relaxing target, from the same trailhead as last week. On the face of it, it was a similar hike, but it was a little warmer and I was fairly tired when I got back. Again, it was a navigationally simple out-and-back in open terrain.
The hike started out by hiking up a little gully and then climbing out onto a steeply sloping ridge and slogging up it.
Careful not to miss the start of the trail
Cross-country slog up to the ridge
For much of the way, the first ridge, once gained, had an old firebreak along it, which made hiking easy. Like last week's hike, the ridge led to a road, whihc gave a nice respite from the steady climb, and then another ridge up to the summit.
Looking back to Iron Mtn #3
At one point I had toyed with the idea of doing a second peak, but all that hiking up ridges left me a little tired. I only did 3.6 miles and 1836' gain, in a little under 3 hours, but it was 93 degrees by then, and the other peak I had thought about is described as steep in the hiking guide (the last two I did were not described that way), so I thought better of it. Another day.