| Gerogette at the base of multi-terried San Antonio Falls |
Extended autumn has finally come to an end, somewhere near the first day of spring to! What a strange and dry winter this has been. The weather has allowed for many great hikes & winter camping trips, but also has kept away the snow that usually blankets the high country of the San Gabriels.
Not this weekend though! With two days at 100% forecast of snow it was time to set out for some challenging conditions for what would surely be an exciting & rewarding endeavor.
This would be Georgette's first time to the snow, real snow of any kind, and boy was there lots of it. Highway Patrol made pedestrians fix cables/chains to their tires around the Icehouse Saddle turn off & slowly made our way up the rest of the windy mountain. This being the first test of the day, it was a new experience w/o my Dad. I had always helped on family trips, but it was time to put the knowledge to the test.
Now passing the hwy patrol inspection and rumbling up the road, we were treated to a forest that has been transformed by mother nature's cold wintery touch. Another challenge to this hike was that we had never actually done it before, even in "normal" conditions. Alas, there was no difficulty in locating the fire road and locked gate that we needed to pass beyond into the shadows of Mt. Baldy.
| San Antonio Creek below the falls |
I hadnt been snowshoeing in a few years & the feeling came back instantly. A slow paced walk through inches of freshly fallen powder were all I needed to be mentally transported to the backwoods of Canada, or so I felt. As we ventured deeper into the woods we passed another boyfriend/girlfriend duo out on their first snowshoe trip as well. I chuckled a little wonder how his GF was fairing in the odd conditions for a first time trip?
We pressed on with huge smiles frozen to our faces as the snow continued to fall. For the entire 4 hours we were out hiking the snow never ceased, falling lightly, but never a burden. After some time slowly moving uphill we reached a switchback with a spur trail that leads off to San Antonio Falls, our teramis for the trip.
I had never seen a waterfall in the dead of winter in person before. What a spectacular site to behold, entirely a different ora and presence was felt at the base of the falls. A huge ice sheet had frozen over at the base while the falls beat down from high above.
| San Antonio Falls on Mt Baldy |
After some time shooting photos and wandering around the base of the falls a collection of other hikers had moved in. Still feeling warm, dry & full of energy we almost opted to stop and boil a hot lunch, but preferred a 100% successful trip over pushing our luck & just causing small troubles for ourselves. Another father son team were tackling the chore off by the creek.
The trail back revealed that previous tracks were not hidden, but mostly covered over in just the couple hours we had been out hiking on Mt Baldy. We also past two fairly serious (in looks) mountaineers asking if we had summited, now feeling a bit low for only making to the falls told them no, they pressed on in what could have only been a great adventure in the snow. None the less, an all around great time out in what feels like a different world only a mile or so away from your car.