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Archive for September, 2009

Why We Hike

Every Sunday I’d like to post a picture from some of my hiking trips.  This is inspired by The New York Times’ series “Why We Travel,”  which features reader’s travel photos on Sundays.  So here’s my first one.

 

 

river

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Autumn

Today marks the beginning of fall, my favorite season.  It’s the time for apple cider, burgundy colored leaves, knitted sweaters, and darker beers.  While other parts of the country are experiencing cooler temps, San Diego is going through another heat wave.  We don’t have great fall foliage, but I’m glad I got to experience fall hiking while I was in Bloomington, Indiana.    Here’s why:

 

 

fall

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So I signed up for a Saturday hike in the San Gorgonio Wilderness with a L.A. club.  This meant an early morning rise and a 2-hour drive to the meeting place, but I was willing to commit as this would be a new trail for me.  Fortunately, I had someone accompany me from the San Diego area.  By 5:30 am we were on the road and by 7:00 am we were at the Mill Creek Ranger Station in the San Bernardino Mountains.  After coordinating cars we caravanned up to the Aspen Grove trailhead.  I highly recommend vehicles with high clearance!  We reached the trailhead and after pit stops, applying sunscreen and adjusting packs, 17 adult hikers and one baby were on the trail by 8:30. 

Trailhead

Trailhead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cool temperatures forced me to keep my fleece on and my hands in my pockets.  We passed through the aspen grove, but the leaves were not yet turning to golden-yellow.  Still, it was a nice treat to see aspens in southern California, which is a rarity. 

Aspens

Aspens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kimberly, our leader, kept a brisk pace and stopped a couple times to allow us to strip layers and make pit stops.  I loved the gradual ascent of the trail and the accompanying ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine and Douglas fir trees, which provided ample shelter from the sun. 

Pines

Pines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we approached Fish Creek Saddle, we were greeted by views of the surrounding mountains. 

San Bernardino Mountains

San Bernardino Mountains

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Within 2 ½ hours we had reached the saddle and I was itching to continue on, perhaps to Dry Lake or even to San Gorgonio.  We stopped to have lunch and within 15-20 minutes we were cooling up and some of us were ready to head back down to keep warm.  The trail did not have a lot of traffic, but we did pass a lot of Boy Scouts on our descent.  Returning to the trailhead was cloudy and some of us even wondered if we would see some rain.  As for the mileage, there seemed to be a discrepancy.  The Tom Harrison map lists 5.8 miles from the Aspen Grove trailhead to the Saddle, but the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association lists 6.8 miles.  Hmmm, I think it’s time to invest in a GPS.  Overall, it was a beautiful hike with a great group and well worth the drive from San Diego.

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