Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lone Tree Point, Catalina Island

Lone Tree Point, Catalina Island
Distance: 5.5 miles
Gain: 1,500'
Time: 4 hours

View from Lone Tree Point
Yesterday I took the Catalina Express across the channel to Avalon and hike the Hermit Gulch Trail to Lone Tree Point.

Walking from the terminal, I quickly made my way to the Pancake Cottage for the best pancakes on the island. My next stop was at the Catalina Conservancy office to pick up the required permit for traveling in the backcountry. Walking through town and up to the trailhead adds about another half an hour and a mile and a half to this hike so you need to plan your time on the island well. Once at the Hermit Gulch Campground, I began my way up the steep trail and quickly gained some elevation and some great views of the harbor. The trail zig zags it way up the canyon and stays at pretty much the same grade all the way to Divide Road.  This part of the trail was harder that I expected and each time I thought I was near the top I would have to climb again.

After gaining 1200 feet, I came to an overlook and a small tree in a planter. This marked the end of Hermit Gulch Trail and I crossed Divide Road and continued on to Lone Tree Trail. The trail flattened out for a minute then became a rollercoaster type trail that went up and over a bunch of small rounded summits. I just kept going over these hills and then the trail suddenly came to a dead end and a drop off to the backside of the island.  Walking to the edge of the cliff and looking at the turquoise water down below was pretty awesome. I had to be very careful since a slip here would not be a good thing especially since I was the only person out there.  I did see a few people on the trail on the way down but for the most part it seems that very few people come out this way.

It was now 1pm and my boat leaves at 3:45 so I figured that  I better  hustle it back down in order to make it in time.  I decided to take Divide Road back down and it's much faster and easier on the body than Hermit Gulch would have been.  I made it back to the dock by 3pm and had a nice boat ride back home.

This is a great day hike and while the first part of the hike is pretty tough, the reward is worth the effort

Hermit Gulch Trail
Lone Tree Point

Lone Tree Trail

Cactus flower


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mt. Islip review

On Sunday June 3rd we made a training hike to the top of Mt. Islip in the San Gabriel mountains. We got an early start to avoid the crowds that tend to invade Azusa Canyon during the summer.  The Crystal Lake Recreation Area had been closed for many years due to the 2002 Curve fire that destroyed much of the forest but it has all been rebuilt.  Everything except the small trading post is brand new and it's a great starting place for many hikes.

We chose to take the Windy Gap Trail that starts at 5700' and makes its way almost to the top before it intersects with the Pacific Crest Trail.  From there we took a slight detour to Little Jimmy Campground which is set along the north facing ridge overlooking the Mojave Desert.

After a short rest, we made our way along the Mt. Islip Ridge Trail to the summit at 8300'.  The summer haze made the visibility a bit poor but it was still nice to look out over the LA basin on one side and the desert to the other.  The four of us all made it to the top in good shape and stopped to sign the register and take a couple of photos. A few other hikers came up a few minutes behind us and took our picture and shared some strawberries with us...nice!

John, Casey, Jack & Victor
This is a great training hike for Mt. Langley and we plan to follow it up with a hike along the San Gabriel River to the Bridge to Nowhere in a couple of weeks.