30 September 2011


Sketches for the month.

Baldy hiding behind a tree across Vincent Gap.

The creek by the campground.

The view from near the lookout location on South Mount Hawkins.

A bit of fog.

Kelp on the beach.

16 September 2011

Mount Hawkins Loop

Angeles National Forest

Map the trailhead.

When doing the loop of trails out of Crystal Lake that brought me up to the top of Islip, I noted that the map I was handed marked a trail along Hawkins Ridge as well, allowing for another loop that stops by the two Mt. Hawkins. To do it, I again traveled up to Windy Gap, then turned east along the Pacific Crest Trail, the only direction I hadn't yet traveled from Windy Gap that contained a trail. Climbing up, the ridge trail leaves to the south, then a trail to Lily Spring. The mountain rises as a cliff to the south and at the far side, a trail proceeds up the top of Mt. Hawkins. Proceeding back to the ridge trail, I traveled down along the ridge down to South Mt. Hawkins. After taking in the view from there, I traveled back along the fire road until it crossed the trail and followed the trail back down from there.

The lot in the campground next to the trail head was still closed with most of the campground, so I parked behind the Visitor Center again. It is only manned on the weekend, so no one was there but the handouts were in small cases so that people could grab them if needed. Proceeding along the main road into the camp and taking a right eventually, I came to the trail head and could start climbing off of pavement. Crossing the road when it came paved and when it came again in gravel, I made my way up to Windy Gap again, hopping over the same dozen or so trees.

sunny valley and cloudy bigger valley
Clouds over the San Gabriel Valley just peaking over the mountains into the local valley, but here it's nice and sunny. Hawkins Ridge is up to the left and Islip Ridge on the right. One of the smaller trees stretches over the trail for an easy obstacle.

looking straight up
A cliff above the trail with a ravine along it and the plants trying to hang on.

03 September 2011

Waterman Mountain

Angeles National Forest

Locate the trailhead and the end of the trail.

After hiking over to Big Horn Mine, I stopped at Buckhorn to look for a camping spot so that I might hike around one of the many trails in the area again the next day as well completely neglecting that it was a three day weekend and the campground would be a madhouse. The sites were overfull with people packing three cars and over a dozen humans into sites that only allow two cars and eight people. I walked down the trail a short way to read for a bit, then turned to go home and found the sun to be at a level that completely blocked my vision when going in the direction the road goes. In the campground, I could just stop and get a view of where I was going, but I wouldn't want to miss a turn at speed. I decided to really see where the road at the end of (what is now) Buckhorn's exit really got to.

I parked in the turnout in front of the old road and made my way up its water rutted route to near the saddle, then followed it further. At the top when it turned, it still becomes a very good road traveling along the ridge. Again, I saw no indication of the spring listed on the map as I passed where it should be. The road splits, and I decided to try the upper leg of the road. It continued along by rounded boulders and sparse trees. As I went, I found I was following tire marks from a mountain bike showing other people do come up here. There was a downed tree or two along the way, but otherwise the roadway was perfect as it travels approximately along the contours.

some rounded boulders among a few trees
A few of the rounded boulders that abound.

trees high on the crest of the ridge
A dry landscape.

Big Horn Mine

Angeles National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

The area around Iron Mountain is riddled with mines. I've got a hike hitting many of those mines in my dream hikes, but that has not happened yet. While looking around the map for the various mines, I found one far up north that would be much easier to get to as it was down an unimproved road just a couple miles from the highway. Looking it up, I found that it is a popular hike that is still possible to make and that the cabin of the man the gap and gulch it starts at is named for can be viewed nearby. They say it follows the old wagon road to the mine, but I'm not so sure that's entirely true, although it is probably close enough. I printed out a map and headed to Vincent Gap.

a look down Vincent Gulch to Mount Baldy
Vincent Gulch is a wide open valley heading down toward the San Gabriel River (prairie fork going to the east fork). Mount Baldy is visible in the background and the Blue Ridge is to the east.

The trail starts next to the Pacific Crest Trail heading up to the top of Baden-Powell, but heads off in a fairly flat route along an old fire road. For most of the way, the road is wide and flat with very little vegetation along it, but there are a couple bad spots. Very soon, a trail branches off to the left at a large informative sign. This is the trail down Vincent Gap (not shown on the USGS map before 1995). Shortly after, there is a mine symbol on the map above the road that I did not investigate. Then as I came around a turn, I could see that the road had fallen away at a ravine. There was trail through this spot with a fairly solid bed, although rising and falling in unplanned ways.

ravine down the side of Mount Baden-Powell
A big drainage for collecting the rain that falls on the side of Mt. Baden-Powell.