Okay, everybody has asked me to tone it down a little, which I have been doing. I've been behaving myself quite nicely...but that doesn't mean I'm not going to go hike in the wilderness!
Okay, okay--I won't try to summit Whitney this year. But I'm still going to go hike around in the Whitney Zone and scope it out for next year!
So while I'm waiting to do my spinal MRIs this week, I picked a nice, simple little hike to do (and I'm not being facetious). The DRIVE to it, however, was a good jostle for the spine.
I picked Wright Mountain (again), and Hallelujah!!! This time the Blue Ridge gate was OPEN. The Blue Ridge is what "links" Mt. San Antonio (Baldy) to Mt. Baden-Powell. The Pacific Crest Trail meanders along this ridge.
We simply followed the Blue Ridge forest road east. The drive alone is wonderful for vistas of both the inland empire and the desert sides of these awesome mountains. We drove back, past Guffy Campground, for a bit more than 7 miles; to a wide spot in the road referred to in descriptions as a "parking area." (Obviously, they were being facetious.)
From there, it's a march straight up a hill to the top, where the traces of a "jeep road" can be found. A brief hike down the jeep road, and we were at the "nondistinct" summit of Wright Mountain.
A yellow triangular sign on the jeep road marks the summit's location; from there it's a few yards north to the summit cairn.
We found and signed the summit log at the cairn, then settled in on the north mountainside for a picnic and THAT VIEW. (El Mirage dry lake is visible at the horizon.)
The pines smelled wonderful, and we could pick up the vanilla scent of the Jeffery pine bark. Mountain lilac was in fragrant abundance, and many wildflowers were still out at this high altitude.
The hike began at the "parking area" at above 7000 feet elevation, so I really felt the workout in my lungs as I headed up the hill to the jeep road. The summit is billed as 8505'; haven't checked what our GPS said. Once at the summit, it was wonderful just to take deep breaths of clean (real pine-scented) air. All told, it was less than a mile's hike ROUND-TRIP (albeit some significant elevation gain in relatively little distance).
And it was fun!