Angeles National Forest
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I have been thinking I will hike Grass Mountain for a few years now. Today is the day. The trail crossing is already familiar from previous visits, but this is a new direction. Guess I will add a few more miles of PCT to my done pile, for what it is worth. It is still too early for the ~3600 through hikers starting from Mexico this year. This is northbound mile 478.2 by Halfmile's current reckoning, so it will not be quite that many when most of them turn here to find out the secret of Case de Luna down the road in Green Valley. For now, there is just one set of footsteps visible in the otherwise clean dirt of the trail ahead.
|A spattering of pines at my start on the PCT today. The trail will not be hidden under pine needles in another month.|
|The trail climbs the far side of the canyon. The pines are just around the fire house and the rest is manzanita and chamise.|
The trail hits a utility road and I turn west along it because that is the way the trail is going. I do not even consult the scrap of map I have to help me in finding some section markers later. It would not help anyway, the utility road is not on it. After a quarter mile when the road turns back toward the fire station below, there is still no sign of the trail. Backtracking to when I hit the road, there are some clues. A little further the other way, there is a pole with long faded stickers that may have once had a crest. The single set of footprints go that way, too. Around the corner, a little past the pole and hidden behind the road carved rocks, is a very obvious trail climbing again.
|The trail is hard to miss once past the hiding rocks. The cut of Leona Divide Road is visible above.|
And so I continue upward. It feels like a gentle climb to me as the trail carves long wiggles around the ridges. The view quickly opens up down the canyon and across the range traversed by the PCT. The sights are somewhat familiar. I have already tucked away the miles between San Francisquito and Bouquet Canyon in two separate loop hikes as well as climbed Jupiter Mountain to the southeast.
|Green Valley spread out below. Behind it is Juno, the slightly shorter next door neighbor of Jupiter Mountain.|