Wednesday, July 8, 2020

San Gabriel Peak from Near Red Box Junction

Hiked Friday, July 3

My holiday weekend started early, on Friday. Had only partially formulated idea of which hike I might take. Didn't leave home until mid-afternoon, but this hike was on my mind, as one I had done after work on a couple of occasions, so I knew it wouldn't take long, but might have a nice view at the top.
My first time up was blogged here. A later trip was blogged here. The mostly identical hike to Mount Disappointment is here.

One thing I definitely remember from my first time up was the plethora of poodle dog flowers, which, I later learned, are often the first plant to colonize after a fire. I think this area burned as part of the massive "Station Fire," of 2009. Well, by 2011 (my first hike here), there were still plenty of snags (burned but standing tree stumps), and but Spanish broom (a highly invasive exotic) and poodle dog bush (endemic, but also very opportunistic) was thick.

This time around, I saw no poodle dog bush. Looks like it has all been succeeded by other plants. Spanish broom was still common around Mt. Disappointment, however.
Although the start of this trail is crazy steep and pretty narrow, I knew the parking area was relatively small, and not as heavily used as the one further up Red Box Road. That one provides an alternate (and easier) way up to San Gabriel Peak and Mount Disappointment, but is mainly useful for getting "easily" to Mount Lowe. But, as noted earlier, it's more heavily used. It also requires a section through a tunnel, which doesn't seem like the best place to hike when you're trying to socially distance.
Because of the late start, the sun was getting low by the time I neared the top. As a result, photos taken looking west (like the first one in this post) have a lot of glare. Photo processing cut that a little, to more like you might see with polarized sunglasses), but it's still has glare. That one's looking back over Mount Disappointment, by the way.
The second shot was a very modest zoom of the DTLA skyline. The third was of a snag. Then, there's looking a bit southeast, with Mount Harvard (with antenna) on the left, and the Santa Ana Mountains, off in the distance.

Next, it's looking down south, towards Mount Lowe. Then Mount Wilson, obviously. You're several hundred feet higher than Mount Wilson when you're atop San Gabriel Peak.
Last shot was of Josephine Peak (left) and Strawberry Peak.

The hike is about 4 miles, with 1600 feet of elevation gain. Tacking on Mount Disappointment adds a bit over half a mile, I would guess. I had no interest in doing that, today.

The trailhead is off of Red Box Canyon Road, just a third of a mile or so up from Red Box Canyon. To your right as you head up the hill, a sharp turn to a paved road leads has a small parking area near the bottom, and an even smaller parking area up, about fifty yards, adjacent to the locked gate for Mount Disappointment Road. I suspect some use the road as a bike route up. It can also be a longer, shallower climb to Mount Disappointment.

The trail is down from the gate, on your left, if walking towards the gate. Very steep and narrow at the start. Wider and more opportunities for social distancing as you get a mile or so up.

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