Friday, September 21, 2012

Escaping the L.A. heat!

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These past few weeks, we've been dealing with really warm weather.  This heat wave has caused me to stay home or limit my outings to the mall or anywhere I can get free AC.  Well...I'm not much of a mall guy and my craving to spend the night in the woods were beginning to get the best of me.

The goal of this trip was to find a place to hike in and setup camp where the temps would be a lot milder than Los Angeles.  It also had to be close to home so I don't have to drive all day Sunday.  Wouldn't you know there is a place just like that and within 100 miles of where I live! 

Up the 2 HWY, there is this wonderful trail starting from Islip Saddle that leads to this beautiful campground called Little Jimmy.  The hike itself is only 2.5 miles in and once you reach the grounds, there are many trail to dayhike and explore.  One of the most popular hikes after Little Jimmy is the hike to the Mt. Islip peak which is less than 2 miles.  

I invited a few of my friends to join me on this hike and everyone was looking forward to weather in the 80's and 50's (weather in L.A. was in the triple digits the weekend we went).

The drive to the Islip Saddle parking lot was scenic to say the least, you pass through an area that really looks like Lake Tahoe...it definitely had the vibe and feeling as if you were in the Sierra's.  After an hour drive up the windy roads, we reach our trailhead after passing through the tunnels.

Getting our packs ready at the Trailhead
Once at the trailhead, you smell the fresh air and the breeze was absolutely refreshing to the skin.  At this point we were at around 7000 ft. in elevation I believe and it was amazing to be up here.

video

The first mile of this hike can be a little tiring as you gain a bit of elevation.  However, you seem to forget this because the view is just overwhelmingly gorgeous.

Start of the hike
A view of a meadow just after a few yards in
A shaded trail the whole way
It's amazing that this place isn't that far from me but yet I never thought of coming here in the past...I was really missing out on this place.  The campground had bathrooms, picnic tables and a lot of choices where to pitch your tent or hammock.  My friends and I chose to setup camp on a small ridge that looked over the Antelope Valley facing North.

Amazing views from here
My buddies view in his Tarptent Contrail

After setting up our camp and after having some snacks, we all decided to take a leisurely stroll to the Mt. Islip peak.

Our snack/lunch before the dayhike to Islip




Like a kid in a candy store!
The walk towards the peak was a bit challenging for me but it was such a joy to hike.  The weather was perfect, the views were amazing...I was so happy to be on this trail and felt sad for the people below us suffering from the heat!

Me at the last turn to the peak
A cabin at the peak (8250 ft. elevation)
A window view to Antelope Valley
I wouldn't mind camping up here...
Me at the peak!
We stayed at the peak for a good half hour or more just mesmerized by the view.  Though the sun was out in full force, the cool breeze helped cool us off.  It was really nice day and I couldn't have asked for anything more...perhaps an extra day up here?

After eating our dinners at camp, all of us spent some time near our tents to look up at the stars and see the lights of Palmdale.  Oh, we saw a satellite too...never knew they would be visible, it was really cool to see that.

At the fire road below camp
It was a wonderful night, cool breeze and temps that dipped to the high 50's...I was in heaven for sure.  So sad we had to leave already but I'm definitely coming back here.

My view from my tarp
Can you smell that?  Ahh...pine trees!
The walk back to our cars later that morning seemed fast.  Even after taking our time for breakfast, it just seemed to end to quickly...time does fly when having fun.

My buddy back to where we started.  He had a total pack weight of 10lbs. on this trip.
Back to our cars enjoying a few cold drinks.

This was truly a beautiful hike and a very well maintained trail...big props to the Trailbuilders that maintain this.  I'm coming back here for sure...

Photos Courtesy of: Julie B and Lisa Z...thank you for sharing the pictures you guys took with me :)

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