Destination: Los Padres, Mt. Pinos, McGill Trail
A while back in March when we had our first rains ever here in Los Angeles, a few of us Monster Squaders went on a snowy hike into the Los Padres National Forest. Mt. Pinos turned into a winter wonderland and we snowshoed down the McGill Trail as heavy snow fell all around us. It was absolutely beautiful and my face hurt from smiling the whole time. We were fortunate to have a group of police officers search and rescue training around us. They packed down the trail so we were able to hike in just our boots. We ate snow, threw snow and rolled in snow. I felt like a kid again! We were soaked to the bone once we got back to the car but it barely even mattered because we had so much fun!
Destination: Angeles Crest National Forest, Bridge to Nowhere
The Bridge to Nowhere has been on my list of hikes to do for a long ass time. Ji and I finally tackled it on a HOT afternoon. It meanders up the East Fork River and we had to cross it many times. Since the water was so low, we barely got wet but allegedly waist high water crossings was the norm. It only had an elevation gain of 900 ft but the difficulty of the 10 mile hike was the length, the blazing sun and finding the trail that would disappear every now and then. We were two of 8 or so hikers on the trail, the rest of the people we saw were camping out panning for gold in the river. Once we finally reached the bridge we were greeted by a Bungee America worker who was raising the line on the zip line that went from the top of the bridge down into the river. There is supposed to be bungee jumpers at the bridge but they didn’t have the concessions up that day. We found a narrow trail that went past the bridge down into the swimming holes below. I intended to jump in head first because I was drenched in sweat but instead the water was painfully cold that we barely broke the surface.
Destination: Angeles Crest National Forest, Chilao Campground, Mt. Waterman Trail
As I prepare to move out of California, I’ve been saying goodbye in my own way. We were able to mobilize for a quick camping trip up in the mountain on a beautiful weekend in April. We ended up at Chilao Campground #21 and had a quieter first night with only a random saxophone in the distance as we ate mushroom tacos, drank and waited for John to get there. We sang incredibly loud and annoying 90’s songs, for some reason, around the campfire that was crucial for staying warm. It got so cold up there at night that we barely were able to sleep. The next day we went on a hike recommended by robo-ranger up to Mt. Waterman. It was a 5 mile out and back hike with gradual switch backs that ended in a pile of rocks that we snacked on and signed the register that was not an empty can of beans. We were surrounded by shady pines that I gave a thankful squeeze to as we made our way down from up in the clouds. That night the campground filled up and we had a giggling family that played gangster rap and harmonica playing USC students around us. We played games around the fire that burned the illegally gathered wood that we fought poodle bush for until we got tired and were one of the last people to shut down for the night.