Angeles National ForestMap the trailhead.
This is Mt. Islip to Crystal Lake campground by Islip Ridge, the first part is Crystal Lake campground to Mt. Islip via Windy Gap.
|Concrete pillars to mark where people once watched for fire on the nearby mountains.|
|Looking out north over the flat Mojave desert.|
|Southward over Islip ridge and over the mountains and valley beyond. The lake can be seen tucked into the side of the ridge.|
After taking in the views and doing a bit more drawing down by the cabin doorway, I packed it up to head down the ridge trail. It was much less traveled than the trail to Windy Gap. The way was generally easy to pick out, but trees across the trail were more common. When it was along the top of the ridge, it would become faint, and when the branches of the trees fell over the trail, it would vanish for a short way. Even so, it was not too hard to follow, just took a little more energy than one might expect due to all the jumping over logs. There were also quite a few flowers covered with pollinators although it feels a little late for that.
|A covering of red puff balls.|
|A bit of ridge with a clear spot of trail winding along just to the left of it.|
|Another common flower in the higher altitudes.|
|Honey bees on a plant I've always identified as "mountain madness" and mildly suspected an allergy to. Another common one in the higher altitudes and much loved by the pollinators.|
|These slides taking out just over half the road in two spots may be why highway 39 still isn't allowed traffic. Should have been repaired years ago.|
|A honey bee and a bumble bee delighting in the same flower.|
|These encroaching enthusiastically onto the trail were quite full of the large black bumble bees.|
|Just before the junction for the connector trail, a mile marker pops up to say there's four miles from the beginning. That's along the rest of the ridge trail, which can be seen in a picture of Crystal Lake above.|
|At the junction, it is 1.8 miles back to Windy Gap, 0.9 miles up to the top of the mountain, and 3.9 miles to the lake along the ridge. The trail continuing along the ridge isn't evident, but must pick up again after the fallen trees which have scattered the walkers to many different paths so that no trail stands out.|
There's much information at the junction between the Islip Ridge trail and Big Cienega trail. It says how far it is back to where I came from and along the way I'm not planning on heading, but not how far it is along the planned route. It's probably about 2.3, very roughly, back to the road. As the trail dropped, there seemed to be more trees crossing it, or maybe they were just bigger. Then there was evidence that someone had made a start at clearing the trail. The trunks were numbered and then there was one with a cut in it as if someone had run out of gas or time or both and promising that there might be few trunks to climb below.
|A little bit of wildlife along the way. I also startled a big horn sheep on the way down and a deer on the way up, but they didn't pose for as long.|
|A look back at Windy Gap. The trail can be picked out climbing up to it.|
|Just after the trunks start having numbers, there are better signs of trail work, but this particular bit of work hasn't paid off any dividends yet. The very large log must still be climbed.|
|Soon after the four mile marker, there is a one mile marker. Shortest tree miles ever.|
|Two hawks were flying around near a large standing dead tree. They circled a while before flying off.|
|Possibly the other hawk or maybe the same. Curiously, not a red tail.|
|A few more flowers along the trail, these showing that the elevation is a bit lower now and there might be some water around. There was a small creek on the way.|
|Bird of prey in a tree.|
|One last flower as the sun sets.|
The trail was better after the log with the cut, but there were still obstacles. I sort of suspected it would go by the spring it gets its name from, but that trail is actually a little lower, branching off from the fire road a little before the trail up to Windy Gap, at least according to the USGS map, but it also thinks I was bushwhacking from where I turned onto the ridge trail down to meeting the Windy Gap trail again. I did not look for it and the spring but turned down the trail to the campground. At the campground road, I took a left and walked through a different part of it eventually going out a gate on the far side of the parking lot.
|Me at the top of Mt. Islip.|
Go back to the first part...
©2011 Valerie Norton
Posted 27 October 2011