Sunday, September 23

Pleasant View Ridge - Backpacking San Gabriel's

Not quite everyone knows about Pleasant View Ridge in the San Gabriels mountains. Heck, it took me some reading before I knew there was even a little know trail that wandered along the ridge top like a roller coaster with no handle bars. With no water in site & views for miles, this was a battle worth it's weight in nature's gold.

We opted for the longer route, starting at an earlier dirt turn out along HWY 2, not going the standard route from Islip Saddle. Putting on 19 pds of gear is no problem, then adding 11 lbs of water is a bit trickier. From step number one it was all uphill. Heading south on the PCT was easy going. Up sharply cut switchbacks on the backside of the craggy ridge that forms the only tunnels on the Angeles Crest Highway. Passing right below stunning rock formations looking out into Bear Creek Canyon.

Topping out on the PCT, there is a white arrow to direct those that are making the 2,000+ mile walk from Mexico to Canada. However, this is where Carlos & I tread off the main trail, making our way onto Pleasant View Ridge, towards Mt. Williamson. Without too much verbose detail the next couple miles of the trail is a true wonder. This are of the mountains receives far less traffic than many others. And the few people we did see where very kind & very serious about their love for the outdoors.

After a series of up and down hill struggles along the ridge, one of them easily being the steepest I have traversed down hill, while still being on some semblance of a trail, knowing very well the next morning we will be walking back up it......... the good kind of curses came out. For real adventure seekers, there is wreckage from a plane crash on one of the hillside we spotted (photo above). The video below has some great footage of this section of trail.

That eve we picked a wonderful spot along the ridge top, literally on a rounded ridge with barely enough flat area for our tent. I'll let the rest of the story be told in the video... enjoy.

| Click to Play |

Saturday, September 22

Secret Stairs - Old Hollywood Revisted

This post has been sitting in the "draft" section far too long now. This Secret Stairs walk was a repeat of the very second one we ever did... and it will not be the last. Traipsing all over the original Hollywood hills neighborhoods, this is easily one of the more difficult walks, with some of the most beautifully shaded cases

In 2010 we did our first secret stairs walk, which led to enough enjoyment to continue, but this second walk was what really opened my eyes to what Los Angeles was really hiding in her canyons. These neighborhoods were stunning and so fully of vegetation.

The above picture is the approach to one of the stair cases. If you can look closely at the top portion of the picture, on the left side, you can see tiny steps where the case continues. The two pictures below are from the mid point & nearing the top of the steps. Just one of many...

Wonderful scenes off the busy boulevards.

Over time we have come to trust the author of Secret Stairs (book), he tends to have travelers hike a large case, but then wander around the neighborhood in flat sections before tackling the next arduous battle of 1920s concrete.

I tend to fall behind on these walks b/c there is just too much to take photos of while out and about. There is a perfect blend in many of the neighborhoods of strong colors, odd shapes, flora & breath-taking architecture.

The picture below is of a famous staircase, it has two sides to it, one fore traffic going up, the other for people going down. Alas, it is so steep there are concrete benches built into it from day one. Local residents have fashioned an abacus type contraption to count their accents of the case while exercising on this beast (seen below).

Georgette likes all things cat oriented.

Did I mention there were large numbers of shaded stair cases on this walk? We also managed to take a wrong turn at the very same point as the first trip. Back on the path we slowly descended out of the old 1920s Hollywood hills.

Back to our concerns of the modern world.