Tuesday, April 24

Windy Gap / Pacific Crest Trail

Deciding on an entirely new area of the San Gabriel's to explore, three young adventurers set out from the cafe at Crystal Lake, roughly some 25 odd miles from the main freeway & standard conveniences. Carlos, Georgette & I marveled at the 200 plus campsites that were strew about in several loops, many with brand new amenities. How could we have never been to this place?! After some research & a kind stranger I learned after the Curve Fire in 2002 the campground underwent 6 million dollars in restoration & has since opened only partially due to water issues.

| Crystal Lake Basin, Part Way Up Windy Gap Trail |

Finding the Windy Gap trail-head near the southwest corner of the newly paved parking lot (Robinson's book says dirt lot). Following the rock path up the creek next to the campground seemed uneventful, until Carlos paused ahead staring intently up the shadowy creek. He point at a Bobcat, the size of a medium size dog, with a strong tail, moving steadily up the dry small creek. I couldn't believe it, not only was this the first time I had seen a bobcat, let alone in the wild, or withing the first ten minutes of our hike!
| Windy Gap Trail Junction - Georgette & I heading east | 

Climbing up the trail, past the first paved road to Deer Flats group camp, then up further through a graveyard of large fallen trees from a fire that was set off by teenagers practicing a cult animal sacrifice ceremony with candles, no joke. Past the second dirt fire road that leads to S. Hawkins the trail gains more elevation quickly through switchbacks & ridge lines that become progressively more & more beautiful.

| Watch This 50 Second Video From Our Trip - Play Button |
Reaching Windy Gap all three of us were glad the place was living up to it's name. Cooling down under the 20 lbs I just carried up the trail (for practice) & a sandwich; a relaxed conversation is all that could accompany the stunning view into the Crystal Lake basin. 

| PCT under Mt. Hawkins - Snowfield after trail was blazed | 

Shouldering our packs again we head east along the Pacific Crest Trail (long trail from Mexico to Canada!) to behold large pines that told of ancient times. Some twisted & finding strange rough outcroppings to call home. After crossing more than seven snow fields (seen above) postholing a path for Georgette & Carlos we made our way slowly around the north side of Mt. Hawkins.
| Jeremy, Carlos, Georgette - What A Great Day | 
Paused, observing our position on the ridge line, dropping several hundred feet to Hwy 2, then another great amount to the next canyon below. I called to Carlos on the walkie-talkie & we all decided it was time to start heading back. I went about shooting one of the few photos I get to take of the south end of the central California valley. Geared up & headed west for Windy Gap. We stopped again to marvel at the view & dry out our socks from the second slog through the snow fields. Off down the trail, towards the car, towards paved road, towards civilization, towards Uncle Andres Barbeque!

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