10 June 2016

Maxwell Trail

Angeles National Forest

The Powerhouse Fire closure may be expired, but there are still a few closed roads in the area. We decided to take advantage of one for a ride. It will be interesting to see what the fire has done, but most of this one did not actually burn. Finding the bottom to set up a shuttle is difficult as it looks like it is just some driveway in the middle of the town at the north end of Lake Hughes Road. There is some truth to this impression. The road does go to a home, then becomes a washed out mess on the way to the locked gate. There is plenty of room to leave a car there for a shuttle before heading up to the saddle by Burnt Peak to start. The air is a bit hazy today, reducing the views just a bit. We start off with a bit of climbing.

northeast view
A break to the northeast allows a view in that direction. The solar panels look like lakes out in the desert today. The road is getting some travel by those with keys.

Even more ridges to the south. Somewhere out there is Warm Springs, but I cannot pick out the fire lookout skeleton today.

Burnt Peak
The "monument" at the top of Burnt Peak stands in stark white.

The road is nice and smooth and seems to be getting some travel by people with a key to the gate. There is some slow climbing at first, but it is soon enough done before the views seem to open up more and there is a bit of downhill.

across the way
The northeast ridges again, now not just a peak.

road ahead
Looking for burn but it is hard to find from here.

southerly canyon
Southerly view again. Things are getting a little less murky.

There starts to be evidence of some very wide fire lines along the ridges. We are looking for the geocaches as we go and a few points put us right in the middle of these lines. It looks like some giant came through with his sixty foot lawn mower. The ground is littered with the remains. The poodledog starts before the burn and is looking very healthy. It is easy to avoid while traveling the wide road. The tracks of cars have vanished as we find the burn. The burned sticks may not be so easily seen from a distance, but it is clear once near them.

yellow and purple flowers
Coreopsis lines the road and poodledog provides a burst of purple behind it.

burned hillside
Close enough to see the contrast of burned and unburned hillside across the way.

road ahead
This road is getting eroded without anyone using it.

There is more and more erosion showing on the road once it does not have any heavy travelers.

burned branches
Poodledog decorates the burn areas too.

prickly poppies
Prickly poppies beside the road.

Pacific Crest Trail crest
The Pacific Crest Trail is well marked as it crosses or comes near the road. This burned crest is just 40 feet from one that looks fine.

Even with the erosion, the road is pretty good, right up until the car swallowing hole. After that, there is a distinct single track developing along it. There are more huge holes in the road as it starts to drop more quickly to the paved road below. Meanwhile, across the local valley, the Pacific Crest Trial is beautiful after recent work along it. It is hard to believe people are being discouraged from using it when it has been repaired and could really use the feet. Perhaps the repair is not yet complete.

Pacific Crest Trail
The Pacific Crest Trail is looking perfect from here with plenty of new work.

hole in the road
Maxwell Road does not look very good at all. Bring your own bridges, for best results. There is plenty of room for bicycles still.

another hole in the road
The gate is just soon enough to block the road before the last and worst large hole in it.

Quickly enough, we are back to Lake Hughes, the road and the town.

Hughes Lake
Back to civilization.

©2016 Valerie Norton
Posted 19 June 2016

1 comment:

Mark Subbotin said...

Tuesdays and Thursdays Jim Richter, richterj@vmcmail.com, the PCT Section Chief, is slowly but surely getting the trail back in shape w/ huge ANF help. They are working their way downhill, southbound. Once they get to Lake Hughes Road, they'll cross over east and work the section towards San Francisquito Rd.