Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Views, Views, and more Views at Windy Gap Trail


Ahhh...the Windy Gap Trail. When I discovered that Crystal Lake was actually closer to me as opposed to Islip Saddle Parking Lot, I jumped at the chance to hike to Little Jimmy from Crystal Lake (Windy Gap Trail).  As usual, I am joined by a couple of friends on this hike.

Windy Gap Trail to Little Jimmy is actually a longer hike with more of an elevation gain compared to the approach from Islip Saddle.  I was open to the challenge and to be honest, I was quite excited.  I haven't hiked from this side before and I was looking forward to seeing this trail.

We had perfect weather for this hike and it was needed since this trail does not have much shade and if hiked during a warm day, this could prove to be more difficult that it is.

We had a late start for this hike and we didn't mind since the weather was nice and cool...the sun wouldn't have an affect on us for this hike.  The first section of the trail was nice and shaded until you get passed the first road crossing...from this point, the ascent starts.

It's amazing when you look ahead towards your destination from the valley below.  From my point of view, I didn't believe that the saddle was only 3 miles from where we started.  This will, however, soon pass...the views from this side of the mountain is nothing short of beautiful.

The hike to the saddle was picturesque and the views appeared endless.  The panorama we were granted helped keep our minds off the difficulty of the elevation gain.  It's also nice to have people around you that you naturally have great conversations with...time seems to pass rather quickly.

One more switch back to go and the saddle was within reach.  From this point, we cross the PCT...a quick map check and we saw that we were close to Little Jimmy.

We push the last half mile (or less) to camp.  I was actually quite surprised to see how much snow was left on the ground considering how warm it has been.  This is also gave me chilling flashbacks of when I had to run for rescue to get assistance for someone who couldn't hike out - this will be for another story.

Our other friends who came from Islip Saddle were at camp at this point.  We decided to pitch above camp overlooking Antelope Valley.  Views were amazing facing north as well.

Seeing how beautiful the views are, my friend Pete talked us into walking to Islip so we can enjoy a 360 degree view of where we are.  It was absolutely beautiful...

That evening, the real social networking begins...gathered around a fire, we enjoy a few drinks, good food, great conversation...and a movie.  Yes, you read that right...we watched a projected movie.  I wonder if we can even consider this a backpacking trip.

11:00PM, the few left retire to our individual tents.  With temperatures down to 36 degrees, we looked forward to the warmth of our bags and a good nights sleep.

Slow to rise the following morning and after having our fill of coffee and oatmeal, we say our "goodbyes" and "see you later" to everyone and we head back down Windy Gap Trail...looking forward to a real breakfast at Crystal Lake Cafe.

Breakfast at the Cafe was quite tasty and I would recommend it to anyone in the area.  On a sad note, seeing as this was my first time at Crystal Lake, I was really looking forward to meeting Bubba the sad I didn't.

Anyway, if the weather is cool and the skies are're guaranteed an awesome hike via Windy Gap...I would definitely recommend it.

Till next time...see you on the trails.


  1. Looks like you are getting out a lot this year. Way to go!!! Keep them coming!

  2. I'm trying to :) There's actually 2 other trips that didn't make it to the blog this year...I have more coming, including a trip to the Sierra Nevada in May!