Friday, September 11, 2015

Hike 2015.069 -- Red Box Road to Mount Lowe, and Vicinity

Hiked Friday, September 11. I hiked from this trail-head and hit both Mount Lowe and San Gabriel Peak back in May, but apparently that is one of many hikes I've been on that I have yet to blog. I really need to try to catch up.
This trailhead is off of Mount Wilson Red Box Road. From the I-210 (Foothill Freeway), exit to Angeles Crest Highway (CA-2, North). Approximate 13.8 north of I-210, you reach Red Box Junction, where you will turn right, towards Mount Wilson. After about 2.5 miles (I didn't measure this, so it's a guestimate), as the road turns to the left, and begins heading almost due east, parallel to the ridge line, there's a gated dirt road with a small parking area. That's the start of this trail.
There are great views from the very beginning of this hike. You can see into the LA Basin. Mount Markham dominates your view right before you, however. After maybe 1/4 mile, you reach a short tunnel, which passes through a slice of mountain. Emerge on the other side, and in about 100 yards, you have three choices.

Going straight on the dirt road would eventually loop you around the ridge to your left, and head towards Inspiration Point. Turning right takes you steeply but briefly up to a ridge, where you can hit Mount Disappointment (the one with the antennas on it) and/or San Gabriel Peak. Going left takes you towards Mount Lowe. After about 3/4 of a mile, you'll encounter a sign, with the trail to Mt. Lowe requiring a sharp right turn. Very short up from there to the peak.
This is far the shortest way up to the top of Mount Lowe. You also have the choice, should you have continued on the dirt road, or, once on the other side of Mount Lowe, catching a steep and winding climb back up from that side. Or, you could have started way down on Lake Avenue, in Altadena, then, once arriving near Echo Mountain, taken one of three different routes that would take you either to Inspiration Point, or more directly to Mount Lowe.
Once atop Mount Lowe, you'll encounter little sighting tubes, to point out several of the nearby peaks and more distant sights. Definitely outstanding views.

Because it's late in the season, you don't expect many wildflowers. But there were at least three common varieties spotted, all pictured here.

Not certain about any of the species, except that they're all common in the area. I'll have to confirm their identity, then post that, later.
After attaining the summit, I intended to quickly hit Inspiration Point, then go back. Probably the fastest way would have been to continue on the east trail, but I stupidly decided to hit towards the west trail, thinking I'd encounter the nice, smooth dirt road quickly, then be able to walk at a quick pace. in reality, the trail to the west was very worn at times, with downed timber and other obstacles. And it's a long detour. Definitely not the quickest way.

So, by the time I finally did encounter the road, I had to head back. Didn't get to visit Inspiration Point, though I've been there, many times before.
My Fitbit signaled 15,000 steps somewhat before I finished. Not sure how many steps I managed before I started my trip, but that's why I'm figuring I covered about five miles on this hike.

Mostly just used phone camera shots on this hike, except for the last flower shot.

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