Sunday, February 22, 2015
Hike 2015.009 -- Colby Canyon Trail to Strawberry Meadow (Potrero), Angeles National Forest
I read about this trail as an alternate way to Josephine Peak on "Nobody Hikes in L.A.," so my initial plan for the morning was to head up the trail, but then maybe see if I could make it across to Strawberry Peak. Yet, even before I had reached the Angeles Crest Highway, I was having some minor reservations about this plan. While it was sunny when I left my San Gabriel Valley home, by the time I was on the Foothill Freeway (I-210) segment that passes through La Canada, the building clouds were impossible to ignore.
I tossed my jacket in the backpack, put on my floppy hat (that normally shields me from the desert sun, but would need to shield me from falling rain, today), and headed out.
Many descriptions of this trail note a "seasonal waterfall" less than 1/4 mile into the hike. As i headed out, it was barely a seep.
The trail then goes up out of, then drops back down into the ravine that is Colby Canyon. Many skeletal trees from the Station Fire still stand.
Meanwhile, a LONG train of hikers headed back toward's me. I mean a LONG train--I'd estimate at least 30 hikers.
They were returning from a meadow that they described as "beautiful."
After what felt like far too long a time and distance, my trail finally started heading back to the south. I had by now determined that, even upon reaching the other side of the ridge, I was no longer up for a hike to the top of Strawberry.
Then I saw it: A massive edifice of rock that soared into the clouds. I could not see the top. I could see a dark ribbon running down from the clouds, where I presumed water must frequently flow. It was amazing. Photos did not do it justice.
About this time, I discovered that the Cliff Bars and Power Bars that I thought were in my backpack were not there. I had plenty of water, but no fuel to reinvigorate me. So that definitely sealed it--I was going to head back just as soon as I got an acceptable view of this mountain.
This day's hike then took a turn for the wet. The misting turned to a steady rain. It wasn't a heavy rain, but it was more than a drizzle, and I was getting soaked. Well, my shorts were soaked, anyway. The outside of my jacket was also soaked, and I think probably sweat was soaking the sweater I wore beneath my jacket.
So I walked quickly, even though I knew I had a long way to go.
Unfortunately for me, I added more unnecessary distance to my hike. When I reached the saddle between Josephine and Strawberry, I missed my turn. I had convinced myself on the way up that the water storage tank I saw when I reached the saddle on this day was the same tank I saw on the fire road I took to Josephine the week before. So I blew by the tank that I thought I hadn't noticed before and continued to the fire road.
Once back in the car, I took off my jacket, took off my boots and wet socks (from the rain), turned on the heater, and started to drive home. On the way down, I saw a dramatic view of clouds that had settled along the base of parts of the upper Arroyo Seco. I stopped for those pictures on the way home.
Felt good to finally get a hike of decent length under my belt. In fact, I was pretty sore the next day. But it was still great to have gotten out there, to a place I hope to return to, again.