Monday, June 14, 2010

ANF Reopened Areas

Hiking in Our "Backyard" Available Again

I've been working on another trail report about climbing Mt. Islip that will appear BELOW this post when I complete it. In the meanwhile, as you can tell by my recent post(s), the USFS has reopened certain parts of the Angeles National Forest (after the devastating and deadly Station Fire last year) for the summer.

The map on their website is AWFUL; the resolution is lousy to the point of making the map worthless to us hikers. I thought I'd post this map that appeared in the local newspaper so you can better see what is open.

The written orders show the closure boundary is the north side of 3N17, so I'm sure that means the Santa Clara Divide Truck Trail will be closed for a lo-o-o-ong time west of the Rosenita Saddle/Mount Hilyer area.
: (

The only thing to the west that has reopened is the Magic Mountain Wilderness Area end of 3N17 near Sand Canyon (Saugus).

Although campgrounds such as Bandido and Chilao are open, the Visitor's Center at Chilao Flats remains closed. And of course, Hwy 2 is only open from Wrightwood to Red Box Road by Mount Wilson; Angeles Forest Highway is only open between Big Tujunga and Sierra Highway.

Still, there are plenty of (unburned) areas we can now access, so I'm sure we will be able to stay busy exploring "our backyard" this summer! We've already been out there having fun since Memorial Day and are planning more adventures. Enjoy!

Click on map to see larger version.

The Angeles National Forest is my "backyard."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

FINALLY Bagged Another Summit!

Saturday, June 5, 2010
National Trails Day

Mt. Islip
8250' elevation
~2.5 mi roundtrip
~1000' gain (avg 15% grade)

This was a very pleasant hike with a grade more gentle than we are accustomed to doing. I woke up with a pulled muscle in my lower back, but I was determined to go so I just slapped on a kidney belt to help support and stabilize the lower back.

DH, my hiking buddy, and the Brown Dirt Cowboy joined me as support crew. We started out on Highway 2 below Windy Gap, followed a use trail up to Windy Gap, then headed over to Mt. Islip. It was our first look at the Crystal Lake Recreational Area since it was ravaged by wildfire several years ago (8?). When we were done summiting, we met up with a recent college graduate hiking the PCT alone and gave her a ride to the Punchbowl to meet her friends. When I find my trail notes, I'll write more!

Hot rock penstemon.

Close up.

The Brown Dirt Cowboy overlooking the San Gabriel River from Highway 2.

Same site (pano stitch); still-snowcapped Mt. Baldy on the left and Mt. Baden-Powell on the right.

Double waterfall along Highway 2.

The shortcut to Windy Gap off Highway 2.

Snow patches, right off the bat.
Good thing my hiking buddy finally got some trekking poles!

Approaching Windy Gap on the use trail from Highway 2.

Our first look at the devastation/restoration in the Crystal Lake area (after a 2002 wildfire).

Windy Gap: The Pacific Crest Trail heading east; Bump 8426' ahead.
You can peak-tag all the way to Baden-Powell from here --- heading UPHILL!

Windy Gap: The Pacific Crest Trail heading west northwest toward Little Jimmy Campground to the right; Mt. Islip trail heading west to the left.

Windy Gap: Time to shuck the packs, take a bite of jerky, and enjoy the breeze before moving on!

Windy Gap: Stark, weathered tree.

Small plants.

Junction #2: looking up the Mt. Islip trail (right) and back toward Windy Gap (left). (Trail to Little Jimmy Springs behind photographer.)

Crystal Lake (zoom). We actually could see all the way to San Gabriel Reservoir!

Overlooking Bear Canyon again, only this time from the east side!

The towers on Mt. Wilson (zoom).

Looking toward the northwest. We climbed to Bump 8214' on Mt. Williamson last Monday.

Mt. Islip's peak: so close and still so far away!

Junction #3: Islip Ridge Trail to the left; Mt. Islip to the right.

The "last little bit"!

Still going...thanks to the extra support for my lower back!

Gotta grab a little bit of shade before we hit the summit...

Our first glimpse of the old cabin as we round the corner to the summit.

I made it! I KNEW I hadn't seen my last summit!

At the summit, looking from the south to the north.

A flutterby was our only company on the summit.

The summit of Mt. Islip.