Cross-posted in several groups -- we generally have about 10-12 people on our Monday night hikes.
As promised, we're shifting our weekly Monday night hikes to a different trail for the darker winter months. This is great news for those of you who just couldn't make our 4:45 starts at Chantry Flat -- to go with the new winter location, we're changing the start time to 5:30, so hurry out of work and join us!
We'll be doing a shorter but slightly steeper hike up the original Mount Wilson Trail, in Sierra Madre. It's just three miles round-trip to our lovely destination, First Water, where we'll gather next to the stream for our typical pot-luck and then head back down the trail, returning to our cars at around 7:30. Total elevation gain is about 1,000 feet, and virtually all of that comes in the first mile. So it's a good climb, if a short one.
There's a lot of history to Mt. Wilson Trail -- as you might expect, it is the original route to the summit of Mt. Wilson, and was once the center of activity for the pack trains that hauled everything up and down the trail. Don Benito Wilson, for whom the peak is named, created the route by revamping an old Native American trail in 1864. Until about 1905, it served as the only access route to the top of Mt. Wilson and to several camps and resorts that were developed for recreation. Mules, burros and horses hauled everything from food and water to tents, pianos, telephone poles and even the materials for Mt. Wilson's first 13" telescope.
The complete route to Wilson is about 14 miles roundtrip, and is one of the great hikes in the San Gabriel Range. We do the whole hike from time to time and will again on a weekend soon.
This hike begins in a safe, quiet neighborhood with plenty of free street parking (no Adventure Pass is required). You'll see a small park along the north side of Miramonte, and you'll see a tiny museum (Lizzie's Trail Inn) along the western edge of the park. We'll gather outside the museum between 5:15 and 5:30, and start hiking promptly at 5:31. We don't wait for latecomers, but you're welcome to catch up to us on the trail.
IMPORTANT: Most of this hike will be in the dark, so by all means bring a reliable flashlight. There are no stream crossings or particularly tricky sections, and the trail is in very good shape and easy to navigate. Be sure to bring along an extra layer or two to keep you warm at First Water. And of course bring all the other essentials that you would typically take on a hike, including water and some sort of food or snack (sharing strongly encouraged!). Dogs are welcome, and mine will of course be there.
Those who can start earlier and would like to explore more of the trail could consider heading up on your own two miles past First Water to Orchard Camp, a beautiful spot 3.5 miles from the Sierra Madre Trailhead, and the halfway point along the route to Wilson. From there, if you time your descent right, you can join up with us for some food and fun at First Water and then return to the cars with the group. I plan to add that into my Monday night hikes from time to time, but for now I'll just be doing the First Water section of the trail.
Hope to see you there!