Big Potato Loop lots of picsHappy new year all.....
For the last 10 years I've gone for a new year hike, this year was epic on a small scale. I looked at the clouds covering the local high peaks and thought about the hordes of people driving up there and thought no way do I want any part of that mess. So I went to Potato Mountain, a prominent but small peak just above Padua Hills. To make it a bit harder, I went from home rather than driving to the Wilderness Park. I got to see plenty of terrain and lots of named trails and locations. I headed up to the Thompson Creek trail, went up Sycamore Canyon, cruised a bit through Johnson's Pasture, cut across the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park Burbank Canyon portion, turned onto Palmer Motorway and finally met up with the Palmer/Evey road. On the way back down I saw the Cobol Canyon section of CHWP and the rest of Thompson Creek trail.
My AllTrails app quit recording a little less than halfway up, so I laboriously plotted the whole route on Map My Run which calculated 16.6 miles and a little over 2400 feet of elevation gain. I figured it would be around 16 so that's close enough.
Always good when the trails are open.
The Sycamore Canyon trail was a big city project and I fear it won't last through too many wet seasons since drainage is poor.
Junction to the Johnson's Pasture section. Left here goes toward Claraboya and beyond that to Webb Canyon.
I took the lesser-used sections where I could, the Park Rangers always get upset if they spot people doing this. Picture looks over the CHWP, I also went up that very steep section on the left.
Topping out on the highest point of CHWP, not part of the official route.
Turning up the Palmer Motorway from CHWP.
The stunning profile of Potato Mountain comes into view. I was happy that it was not in the clouds.
Junction with the Palmer/Evey road that intersects Baldy Road. Near here is yet another sign saying we are leaving CHWP.
Steep ridge up the side of tater tot hill, yes I took this one too. As kids we used to go up the fire break on the SW side.
Wide, expansive summit. The cement tank is full of water right now.
Looking down at Baldy Road from the summit. The parking area is just below Schinn Road. Cars were barely crawling through here, both on the Claremont and Upland sides.
Local art. There are frequently spuds here. Someone always cleans them up, I also met people who carried some just to take pictures.
The view out to the ocean was great, I counted 13 container ships waiting to get into the ports.
I also brought my old pal John Walker along.
Walking down the fire road just below the summit. That little mesa ahead used to have a big group of bee hives.
Rejoining the CHWP, this time I went left rather than simply backtracking. I didn't want any more uphill for the day.
I really like the Live Oaks that are on so many of the fire roads and slopes around here.
Upper part of the Thompson Creek trail, just across from the overflow parking at Mills and Baldy Road.
Later on I walked on the dirt, much easier on the knees. That's the $100K bathroom up ahead.
Almost home. Lots of pavement over the last three miles.
The whole route.