Stranded In The Southland

Friday, November 26, 2004

Bridge to Nowhere? Nope, but not Iron Mountain, either

I slacked off this morning for too long to actually undertake the death march of my dreams (I'd like to get in around 14 miles so that I'm ready for the Wilderness Travel Course in January). After thumbing through Jerry Schad's Out and About in Los Angeles, I decided to try out the hike to the Bridge to Nowhere.

The bridge is sitting way back in the mountains as an artifact of an attempt to build a road through the area. A big flood washed away the road, leaving just the bridge. Yow.

Anyway, the description mentioned a few stream crossings, but given my new waterproof boots, I felt ready to go. I read that the crossings were ankle-deep and perhaps knee-deep, but I figured that with my hiking sticks, I'd be able to go rock-to-rock without getting in too deep. Little did I know.

When I finally got to the first ford, I found that the little creek I'd expected was more like a 20-foot wide river, which was at least knee deep in the middle. I punted; I really didn't want to get my boots completely soaked at the start of a 10-mile hike. Doh. Perhaps I can come back again with some shoes that I can just get soaked.

Anyway, I figured I might as well get some exercize, so I fell back on a hike up towards Iron Mountain. I knew that I didn't have time to make the full hike; it involves 6,000 feet of altitude gain, and is reputed to be the toughest hike in the San Gabriels. I figured a going part way was much better than just going home with no hiking. It was a strenuous climb, but rewarding.

As always, I found plenty of friendly people on the way. I ran into two young guys within the first mile, and the after chatting for a minute or two, they suggested I join them in smoking up. I politely declined, as I had alot of hiking ahead of me, and wanted to do it with a modicrum of clarity, but, dang, that never happened to me in the Bay Area! I also met a friendly family that was looking (futilely, I suspect) for an old mine.

After climbing maybe 3,000 feet, and going just a few miles, I wussed out, took some pictures, and bolted back down. I'd love to make the hike up Iron Mountain some time, but I should probably start at the crack of dawn, and I should probably get some compatriots to go with me.