Chantry Flats to Mt. Wilson

November 28, 2010

Today I hiked from Chantry Flats to Spruce Grove to Sturtevants Camp to Mt. Wilson to Hoegees to Chantry Flats. 15 miles round trip. Almost everytime I come to California I feel the need to do this hike, just to prove to myself that I still can.

Fun story, I think ... Several miles of today's hike was shared with three Mexicans. Real nice guys. Their English was better than my Spanish. I told one that I knew a little Spanish. "Hablo poquito Espanol". This same fellow, whose English was probably the weakest of the three responds, without hesitation, "Well then, be careful." ha ha

At Chantry Flats. At this point I am undecided as to how far I will go. [01]

Lots of fern growing amongst the rock in this area. [02]

I took this picture for a friend of mine who has commented on this sign before, and who had an unfortunate encounter with an icy road last week which might well have ended in him becoming a part of the land. [03]

Sturtevant Falls had a lot of water but the view from the trail was obscured by the trees. [04]

Trailside water feature. [05]

Trailside water feature. [06]

My first backpack was to Spruce Grove, circa 1968. [07]

The trail from Sturtevant's Camp to Mt. Wilson is brutal, climbing 2500 feet in three miles, for an average grade of 15%. Seeing this sign -- which has been here at least since 1974 -- is always both a relief and a disappointment. [08]

Typical Mt. Wilson trail shot. [09]

There were a few patches of snow. [10]

This was as bad as the snow got. It was a bit unnerving though: this was a little icy and, for me, ice is a bigger concern than snow. [11]

Much of the trail from Sturtevant to Wilson has a lot of trees. But as you get higher and the trees get thinner, you start to see some magnificent views. [12]

Almost to the top. [13]

At the peak. The view from Echo Rock (adjacent to Mt. Wilson). You can see where last year's fire went through. Quite a dramatic difference from what I have seen so far. It is not until you get to Echo Rock that you see any evidence of the fire. The route from Chantry to Wilson was completely spared. [14]

I'm pretty sure that's Saddleback Mountain in the distance. [15]

Here was the most dangerous part of the hike: the road used by those who work and live on the mountain, There was a thin layer of ice, and twice I almost went down despite trying to be very careful. Wouldn't it be ironic, after all these years of hiking alone, if I was done in by ice on a paved road? [16]

The snack bar was open. I understand it has been open intermittenly over the years, but the last time I saw it open was in 1974 when I came here with my high school hiking club, the CalHi Hikers. "We get high on mountains." I know...corny. [17]

On the way down now. I took the Rim Trail to the Mt. Wilson Toll Road. This is looking into the depths of Eaton Canyon. [18]

From the Rim Trail, just below Mt. Wilson, Mt. Lowe looked so dignified. [19]

I cannot remember a clearer day up here: there's Catalina Island. [20]

Zooming in to Catalina, you can see the isthmus, and water beyond the isthmus. A clear day indeed! [21]

And after 7.5 miles of downhill, I am back at Chantry Flats. Writing this the next morning, my legs are really sore, but not the worst they've been after a hike like this. [22]

Copyright © 2010 by Bill Qualls. Last updated November 29, 2010.
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