Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hike 2011.004 -- From GMR, North on Monroe Truck Trail

Hiked Saturday, January 15.

Because I had another night of astronomy outreach yesterday (the third of the week for me), I had to keep my hike brief. I didn't leave home until after 11am, and wanted to get back by 3pm. This made it a perfect time to take a stroll that would continue a previous hike. I drove up Glendora Mountain Road and parked where Lower Monroe Truck Trail (2N16) intersects with Glendora Mountain Road. Last time, I walked about a 1/2 past the crossing. Today, I started at the crossing and figured to walk about three miles down the road, hoping to get some nice views of San Gabriel Reservoir.

This was the first time I remember driving this section of GMR. It's very windy and narrow, and, on Saturday mornings, it is practically overrun with bikes and motorcycles. You need to be particularly careful on the way up, because the bikes move slow, and you'll pass many. The motorcycles, by contrast, move fast, and they'll be passing you on the left. So between bicycles on your right, motorcycles on your left, on-coming traffic, and the narrow, winding road itself, there's a lot to pay attention to.

On the way down, by contrast, I think the bicycles can move about as fast as a car, so you won't pass many. Still need to pay attention to the road, the on-coming traffic, and the motorcycles, though.

I didn't measure the distance, precisely, but I think it was about eight miles of driving on GMR to get to my destination. It was a little bit after a road maintenance pull out. There's a large parking area on the south side of GMR, and a smaller parking area on the north side. Since I was heading north, I parked on that side.Several rock slides from recent rains make the road impassable to four-wheeled vehicles. I'm not sure what the rule is on two-wheeled motorized vehicles, but I did see some tire tracks that looked to be from two of them. There were also some mountain bike tracks, a few human footprints, and what I'm pretty sure were some bear tracks.

The start of the trail gives you views towards Mt. Baldy. After about 1/2 mile, you come around a bend and can see down towards where the East Fork of the San Gabriel River meets with the main stem. Once there, the sounds of motorcycles climbing GMR was replaced by the sound of gunfire from the Burro Canyon shooting range, which is near the confluence of the two river forks.

I could also see Follows Camp, down on the East Fork.

After an hour of walking along the dirt road, my time was nearing an end. At that point, I shot off along a ridge firebreak, trying to get a good look down to San Gabriel Reservoir. I could never get close to seeing the dam, nor could I see more than a small portion of the reservoir.

I then headed back up the firebreak, and continued along the firebreak after I crossed the road. This probably cut a mile of walking, but increased the degree of difficulty. All told, I figure I walked about five miles, and gave away then regained about 400 feet.

Along the road, I passed several small fenced areas that look like where people probably place bee hives during sagebrush flowering season. I also got a nice view of the gibbous moon, just rising above Mt. Baldy. The sky must have been very smog-free to let me see the moon while it was so close to the horizon.

1 comment:

  1. Just took this hike. I went 4.6 miles each way. I am trying to find the end of the trail from the other side. I am not sure that Follows camp is accessible.