Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Warm Summit At Timber Mountain


Hoping to escape the LA Heat, my buddies and I take a trip to Cucamonga Wilderness and head to higher elevation.  Our plan was to hike to Timber Mountain, setup camp, and day hike to Telegraph and Thunder.  However, due to the heat, we decided to play it safe and bag Telegraph and Thunder on a cooler weekend.

Saturday morning, we get to the Icehouse Canyon parking lot and surprised to see that the lot was already full at 6:30AM.  It was a good idea for us to up are start time from 8AM to 7AM, we secured a good parking spot close to the trail head.

Start of the trail at Icehouse Canyon

The first section of Icehouse Canyon was really nice.  Shaded, cool, and the sound of the water was nice to listen to. Once you pass the cabins, you will soon start ascending towards the Saddle.

Hiking at 7AM is really nice, especially on this day.  We pretty much escaped the sun all the way to Icehouse Saddle.

Around 2 miles or so, we hit Columbine Springs.  From this point, we tank up on water and carry 5L of water each to take with us to Timber Mountain.  This is the last chance to get water if you're headed to the 3 T's area (Timber, Telegraph, and Thunder) coming from Icehouse Canyon.

Really cold water and no filter required
After Columbine Springs, we soon enter a series of short switchbacks.  

We reach the saddle and rest for a bit.  We actually got to the Saddle fairly quick and decided to kill some time here. It was early enough and our first destination, Timber, was close enough that we didn't feel the need to rush.

My last minute DIY gaiters did well throughout the trip.

After 30 minutes, we all continue up and head towards Timber Mountain
Yours truly at the junction sign to Timber
The hike to Timber was pretty tough, though the elevation gain can't compare to my trip to Baldy last April, I couldn't help being reminded of it when I started slogging through the switchbacks.  

Slowly climbing up...
Hope! Getting closer :)

Finally got to the peak and another chance for me to rest for a bit.

We got to the peak around 11AM and we could feel the temperature rise.  There was a cool breeze but the heat was making us question whether or not to continue with our day hike plans to bag Telegraph and Thunder.  Ultimately, we felt our safety was more important and decided to just stay at Timber...we will plan to hit those peaks when temps are cooler.

Since we weren't hitting any other peaks that day, we all roamed the area and explored.  Surprising that there wasn't trash in the area. However, we did find many illegal fire pits...a sad site to see.  I would hate to see this beautiful area get burned.

A view of Baldy Bowl from Timber

My setup with a view of Telegraph and Baldy Bowl
My buddies and I looking towards Victorville
It was a warm day despite us being at a higher elevation. I was glad that we decided to just remain at Timber.  We all found nice spots under pine trees...we also had a nice cool breeze throughout the afternoon.  

Sunset came fairly late Saturday evening.  It did, however, provide us with a wonderful view of the sky.  The colors looked almost like a painting and it was a site to see

The following morning, I woke up early enough and was lucky enough to see the sunrise. This is the first time I've been able to capture the sun rising from the horizon.

After breakfast, we broke camp and packed up.  For the walk to our cars, my buddy suggested we take the Chapman Trail heading towards Cedar Glen.  This would increase our mileage by 1.7 miles which we all looked forward in doing. It also gave us a chance to create a loop seeing a different trail.

The Chapman Trail offers a softer descent to Icehouse Canyon.  It also provides an awesome view of the canyons and valleys below.

Entering  Cedar Glen

Back at the start heading to the parking lot
Ending another great weekends with my hiking buddies.  Till the next adventure, see you guys at the trails and thanks for tuning in.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Celebrating National Trails Day @ Verdugo Mountains

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To celebrate National Trails Day, I decided to do a backyard day hike around the Verdugo Mountains.  I've actually been thinking of doing the trail starting from Stough Canyon in Burbank all the way to Brand Park in Glendale for a few weeks.  Finally had a chance to do this today.

My wife dropped me off at at the Stough Canyon gate at 6:24AM - I wanted to get an early start so I can finish my planned 11 mile hike before it got to hot.

Start of the hike
20 minutes into the hike, I reached the first junction where you have the option to veer left to the Youth Camp Trail or continue right to head to the first Radio Tower...right it is.

Approaching the 2.5 mile mark, I see my first glimpse of the Radio Tower (first of three)

First Radio Tower (near the Vital Link Trail)
Making good time so far, around 3 miles down and an hour into the trail.  Weather was cooperating so far and the sun wasn't as hot yet.  The trail here is very well developed and wide.  The only issue is, walking on a trail that's packed can do a number on your feet, especially if you wear a near zero-drop trail runners.  However, my legs and feet were feeling strong and I was maintaining a good pace averaging 2.8mph.

Another viewpoint

Number 2 of 3 Radio Towers
Passed the second tower for this hike and still feel good.  At this point, I start slowly descending towards Verdugo Mtwy.  Shortly after, I pass by my third and final tower on this hike.

Number 3 of 3 Radio Towers

Glad I had my Golite Chrome Dome 
As I'm walking down this trail, I get side tracked and took a wrong turn and headed towards Elmwood Canyon for some reason.  On the photo below, is where I made a U-Turn and head up this trail that looks like it hasn't seen any foot traffic for some time.

Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to re-check my map and realized I was heading down Elmwood helped that just to the right of where I was, I can clearly see the trail I was supposed to go - Brand Mtwy.  Though I nice trail to explore, this section gets overgrown as you go deeper where the trail becomes faint and resembles a game trail.

After turning back, I hit the right trail again and reach the Whiting Woods and Brand Mtwy.

Almost at the end...
I stayed at this junction for a few minutes to rest a bit. At this time, the weather is starting to warm up.  Luckily, I am not too far from finishing the trail.  A few more miles (all down hill) and I'll be at Brand Park.

Quick time check...realized GPS also stopped tracking :(
Looking back to where I was

Exiting Brand Park @ Mountain Ave.
At this point, I have done around 9 miles.  My feet still feel great but not even 1 minute walking on the paved road again, my feet start hurting bad.  Further realization how much I dislike walking on pavement.  

Final end time 10:31AM
Finally reached the front of my house at 10:31AM.  Total miles 11.27, completed in a little over 4 hours.  

More info on my route can be found @ MapMyRide

Till the next adventure...