Stranded In The Southland

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Mt. Deception, Mt. Disappointment, San Gabriel Peak, Plus Hillyer Again

Wow, doesn't that sound like a bummer -- deception and disappointment? Actually, it was a fun hike -- it turns out that the early surveyors of the San Gabriels, having hauled their asses up the peaks in question, were a little bummed to find out that they weren't actually on the highest mountains in the front range.

I did this hike last Wednesday, but it's been a really busy week (more on that in a later post, perhaps), and I didn't get a chance to blog it. We just drove up past Red Box, hiked up the JPL trail, and nailed the peaks one after the other, in a nice six-mile hike. Apparently it sounded good to lots of folks, as there were over 30 people on this hike; that's gotta be the largest I've ever been on.

It was surprisingly cold up there, with a fair amount of snow, and frost on the roads. I was wearing the new pants I bought for WTC, and discovered that they weren't quite as warm as the thicker cotton-nylon blend pants I'd been wearing. I kinda wished I'd worn long underwear.

So, this week, just like the US Army (always ready to win the last war we fought), I set out ready to hike last week's hike. The scheduled hike was to Grizzly Flats, but a group of us decided to do a ramble up and around Chileo Flats. The off-trail Monday hikers have been exploring this area all month, since the rains had shut down most of their usual haunts. For some reason, this crowd wanted to hit the area one more time.

I can see why. I'd been up to Hillyer before, but only on-trail, the easy way. There were lots of little use trails all over the place, and it was fun going. Once we got closer to Hillyer it got a bit harder to find our way, but we still made it. The air was relatively clear, and we had a great view of the rest of the San Gabriels, with snow off on a whole succession of peaks.

It wasn't too cold up there, though, so my long underwear was a bit hot. This got worse as we bushwacked our way back down, through really thick Manzanita and scrub. When we made a series of fords of various wide creeks (my waterproof boots are definitely too short!), I should've jumped in. I was a bit dehydrated by the time we got back. I really gotta learn to avoid that -- it tends to ruin my whole evening.

Anyway, it was a fine hike, yet again.