Angeles National Forest
San Gabriel Mountains National Monument
Click for map.
My second little hike of Hundred Peaks Section listed peaks for the day is actually the high point of a ridge. The usual approach for this is from Vista Picnic Area or the old ski resort east of the high point. Not for me, though. I once went exploring up a mystery road just slightly east of the Buckhorn Campground to find use trails climbing both ways on the ridges once at the saddle above. I liked the spot enough to paint it later. I later explored the road further to find myself at the top of Waterman Mountain for the sunset. Today I will explore those ridge routes with a little more idea of where I will end up. First off to the east to grab the ridge high point then off to the west maybe as far as the Waterman benchmark. (This is not quite as far as Waterman where the benchmark reads "Twin".)
|Something about this gate makes me think this road has been very thoroughly abandoned by everyone except hikers and bicycles.|
Everything is almost as I remember it. The road curves off to my right to where the map claims you can find Buckhorn Spring and use trail continues up to the saddle. Bits of metal on the way hint at another bit of road existing once near the saddle where there is a short flattened area. Very strong use trail heads west from the saddle, but there is not a lot of indication of travel to the east. That way has lost its allure? Although HPS does not use this approach, they do have a yearly Waterman Rendezvous where groups approach the peak from 3 or 4 different routes, usually including one traversing Kratka Ridge. This year it did, so some 8 or 10 people must have come down this just a month ago. Their passage is not particularly obvious now. I look very closely and decide I can almost imagine footsteps heading up the side, tending to the north where the vegetation is not so thick. Southerly toward the edge of the ridge, the trees start to have brush below them. It is a sensible enough route, so I follow it.
|The view from the saddle. I painted this view once.|
A little way up, old road becomes quite visible as it rounds the ridge northward and upward with a worn path along it. A route for me? The ridge line route still looks mildly overgrown and steep and this is meant to be an easy little hike, so I guess so. It does seem to be going my way and if it stops that, then I can just make a new way.
|Pacing beside the edge of the San Gabriel Wilderness. The ridge is not all that brushy and would probably allow fairly easy travel.|