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Chantry Flats - Mt. Wilson Loop 7/10 & 7/11/2015

I went for a little quickie fun backpack this past weekend, starting after work on Friday.  Take advantage of that Daylight Saving Time. Smile

I was a little worried about water, and rightfully so.  Here's Santa Anita Canyon at the first crossing above the falls.  Bone dry.

Basically, there are major stretches of stream bed that are completely dry, typically sandy or gravelly sections.  In those spots where there is exposed bedrock, there is flowing water.  Not a lot, but there is flow.

After about four miles, one reaches Spruce Grove, which is actually a very nice spot, and there's water right by the camp.  Water flow is actually fairly decent at Spruce Grove.

The trail is in decent shape for the most part, but there is one big tree (45" diameter?) down over the trail shortly before "Halfway Rest" as one climbs the Sturtevant Trail towards Mt. Wilson.

Anyone know anyone on a trail crew that works this area?  May be Dave L?  Position per my GPS is:
34.2263, -118.0480
(11S 0403471E 3787748N)

Speaking of Halfway Rest, didn't there used to be a bench there?

No bench now, but that may just be my poor memory that suggests that there ever was one.

Of course if one persists, one does eventually reach the top.  The little viewing area off to the right (ENE) of the trail is worth visiting.

I think the above viewpoint must be the "Echo Rock" referred to by this trailhead sign atop Mt Wilson.

On my my GPS track of the Chantry Flat - Mount Wilson Loop, the viewpoint is represented by the small red binoculars symbol.

The spigots atop Mt. Wilson are dispensing their liquid gold, but there is a warning sign.

Apparently they haven't done all the required water quality testing.  That's not necessarily an indication of a problem, but drink at your own risk.  I drank some with no apparent ill effects.

Finally, we reached the pavilion.  I had plenty of food, so I didn't patronize the Cosmic Cafe.  This time.

Now, notice the bear can on my lap.  No, that isn't just idle training weight.  There is a "problem bear" in the area who has been raiding people's food.  Apparently he's on to the whole bear bag thing according to some Boy Scouts we had talked to who had spent the night at Hoegees.

Per hikers we talked to, the creek is dry at Hoegees, but supposedly there is water further up Winter Creek per a cabin owner I spoke to.  That's where he gets his water, so I imagine he knows what he's talking about.

Having enjoyed Mt. Wilson's charm, we began our decent.  The trailhead begins on the west side of the big parking lot west of the pavilion.  

The trailhead is marked by a sign, but the trail is some 30 or so feet north of the sign.

Winding our way down the mountain, we returned to Chantry Flats, where we enjoyed celebratory snacks on "the deck" of the Adams Pack Station.  I always try to stop by and throw them some business.  And it is fun to sit out on the deck.  

The blue dots on my my GPS track of the Chantry Flat - Mount Wilson Loop are GPS waypoints that represent water.

Waypoint 24 is a small spring on the Winter Creek Trail.  It's flowing, but just barely.

Waypoint 25 is San Olene Canyon.  No real flow, but there was a smallest of trickles and a small pool (really small) just above the trail.  


Sorry bout the mix up HJ, I thought you were staying at Hoegees.

Even more impressive, you went up and more up --- and in high-time-snake time!!

I'll never forget coming back from an early fall Mt Wilson hike and having to dodge a few snakes --- those nerves aren't in me anymore...

So this is the kinda of photo I was hoping you had in your bag of tricks and you came through... I can, and will, stare at this peaceful pic more and more, thanks much!!


I was at Chantry on Sunday.  I went to check out Adams Falls.  It's a nice off trail hike/scramble but all it is right now is pretty much just a seep.  My group then continued to Sturtevant Falls, another secret waterfall, Hermit Falls, the Old Hermit Falls (making all 5 I know of) and then to the reservoir and some other stops in the canyon.  I'd suggest to anyone planning on hiking to Adams to just wait until we get some real rain.

outwhere wrote:
Even more impressive, you went up and more up --- and in high-time-snake time!!
 I've never found that region to be particularly more "snakey" than any other.  No snakes at all this time out.

I'll try to remember to post more camp site pics if I can.  Here's a recent high camp:


Joe_the_Hiker wrote:
...continued to Sturtevant Falls, another secret waterfall, Hermit Falls, the Old Hermit Falls (making all 5 I know of) and then to the reservoir and some other stops in the canyon.
 "Old" Hermit Falls?



"tastes like chicken"


Good trip HJ.
Pretty soon they will all be named "dry falls" or "dry creek".

Yeah, it's getting that way.  The water is surprisingly good at Spruce Grove right now.


Good 1 Hike up !!  

Tastes like chicken, HJ ??  The way that bag has got you wrapped up, you look a bit more like a 'Coroner' Asada burrito than a chicken burrito...


Laughing Laughing Laughing
HikeUp wrote:

What's wrong with you people!  Laughing Laughing  

That's a bivy sack.  
Body bag?  Sheesh.  
B i v y s a c k.  C'mon, say it with me, "bivy sack;" you can do it.  Laughing

Seriously though, when the weather is good, it's really nice to just bivy camp, particularly if you're off trail.  A tent is nice for privacy if you're camping near a trail.

With bivy camping, I can see the stars and the world around me.  It's a different experience than being cloistered in a tent.

A bivy is also a really nice option atop a windy peak.  A tent sticks up into the wind and can get damaged or at the very least be a noisy pain in the butt all night.


via Imgflip Meme Maker

Hey!  Wait a minute!  You got a California Campfire Permit for that Gojira thinga-majiggy?  No permit, no fire, buddy.


Hikin_Jim wrote:
What's wrong with you people!  Laughing Laughing  
Body bag?  Sheesh.  

Laughing  Laughing  Laughing

HJ, thankfully my tasteless joke had something to do with the highly honored 'Carne Asada Burrito.... and your Bivvy thingy wasn't resembling a Hot Pocket  Razz  

I've been known to eat just about anything but I think I draw the line when it comes to Hot Pockets...

HikinJim, I don't know what happened with me and snakes in such a short amount of time.  I hiked enough times and never saw one and when I did see one, it wasn't that big of a deal --- then within a span of what seemed like minutes, they ganged up on me like I was publice enemy #1.

I knew something was really up when we hiking the east fork up to the Bridge to Nowhere --- in DECEMBER!  Ok, it was a little warm for a December day but I thought 'nah, it's December, we're good'

Ok, so there were only two snake encounters that day but the 2nd one was a rattler and he didn't seem to want to scoot away from the trail...   Crying or Very sad

I realize that many of you encounter snakes quite often and you handle it just fine --- but it became a relatively terrifying problem for me.  It sucks to be quite honest. I just don't know how to break that fear that didn't seem to be too serious only years before.

I wish I could just 'psych myself up' but it seems like I've just 'snaked myself out' more than anything...

Keep up the good steps, HJ...

No snakes on any of my recent trips although I usually don't freak out if I can see them.  If one lets off with a rattle nearby and I can't see him, then I freak out.

This trip had, of all things, a lot of mosquitoes.  My theory is that the mosquitoes won't breed in a running creek, which is what is usually in the area.  This year, with the drought, there are a lot of stagnant pools, and the mosquitoes are having a field day.


Bear at Hoegees

My son and and I camped at Hoegees a week ago.  We had a very persistent bear at night that foraged right up to perimeter of our tent and our table a couple feet away.  We are bear aware and had no smells inside tent or at table area.  The campsite was clean.  We used a bear can kept 100yds away.  We could here it going at the can several times (it survived well).  The worrisome thing was it sniffing and exploring the perimeter or the tent very close (could hear it sniffing/walking).  It never touched or brushed the tent but it was a foot away.  It came around as soon as fire died down and we buttoned up in tent - within a half hour.

The fly was closed so we only saw bits from very low angle through the mesh and tent bottom.  We would make noise from inside (hiking whistle and banging knife on metal piece of sheath).  It would move away, but returned several times through the night.  When away from the tent, it seemed to remain in the campsite and made so many rackets.  I was convinced it was playing volleyball with the bear can, but we found it only a foot away from where we left it (with some good scars).  It even slammed open the pit toilet door.

I never left the tent to scare it off further (we were the only ones there and I just didn't get the courage).  I was a bit concerned.  I talked to the ranger / director for the area afterwards and he said they have many such reports lately.  They have determined the bears are, so far, healthy (not mal nourished), but this is calorie packing time for them.  I am not sure if the risk is too great to stay away for the time being, it was a bit unnerving.

I was at spruce grove a few weeks earlier and had no issues or even visits that I was aware of.  Anyone else with any problem bear activity near Hoegees?  Any advice on what to do (other than what we did, which was make noise from in the tent when we felt it too close)?

bear in the canyon

That can be super unnerving! I had a similar thing happen to me a few years back at Valley Forge campsite just below Red Box. A hungry bear that could give a crap no matter what I did to scare him away.

I was up through Spruce Grove about three weeks ago and up at Sturtevant. In conversation with the camp host who was up there, he mentioned that he had just seen a bear earlier in the day. He said it was at least six hundred pounds and was perhaps the biggest bear he'd ever seen around there. He easily frightened it off however. I also spoke to two older female hikers between spruce grove and cascade that had "just seen" it and were almost still shaking. There english was limited, but from what I gathered they had to walk right past it as the canyon/trail was narrow. Someone I know who lives near fern junction also has seen this same bear as far down as the falls.

Maybe the one at Hoagees is the same one and it's become more brazen? People who camp at Spruce Grove are often lax or uneducated in proper storage methods. When I was up there back in may I took a jaunt up the little mini canyon parallel and west of Spruce Grove. Up near the top I found a little trash lair where a bear or bears bring the food they loot from the campsite to eat - lots of chewed up plastic, etc.

I'll be up through there again in a week and ask around, I hope it doesn't become a regular "thing" around there now!
Rudy Rodriguez

A year or so back I stayed in hoegee's camp and the year before that. Both times I had a bear encounter. The bear was not much bigger than me, 280lbs. the bear at hoegees is nowhere near 600lbs. I assume its the same bear based on territory. The first time was in the middle of the afternoon. The bear came strolling through camp no more than 30 ft. From me. It showed no fear or any threatening behavior so I enjoyed the encounter. We simply acknowledged each other and he went into the creek bed to forage for like five minutes.

The second time I was in hoegee's I was asleep when the bear grabbed my nalgene bottle from an intentionally, noisily-placed pile of clean dishes. I behaved as though a dog was out there and said, "what're you doing?" but it was clearly a bear. I got out of my tent and saw him walk off to the slope behind camp. He left toothmarks in my nalgene bottle as a momento for me. brave or dumb I was not scared of that damned critter!

Thanks for the input!  I assumed this bear was well used to campers and tents and that's why it didn't spook so completely.  But being just me and the 9yr old there, I had a good bit of scared caution in me, lol.  

There are so many day picnics and, unfortunately, trash around there that I guess this is a natural place for them to come forage.  You could hear they clearly live or hang up on the hill that borders the grounds.  You could see the avalanche falls of their paths down and clearly heard them (or it) coming down there.  Anyone think overkill to have some spray?  I have read that even dog type spray is fine for black bear....

I have seen them from a good 100ft away up on a hillside from the trails two or three times in various places and that never worried me, usually really enjoyed seeing them.  But to hear it that close while feeling like a sitting duck in the tent was something else, ha.  Funny, I grew up in the area and have been up there on and off for over 30 years - I used to see the occasional rattler, but never saw bears through that time until the most recent years.  Had one in my home trash (Sierra Madre) a week before this camp encounter, lol.

SA canyon bears

You can pick up a can of bear assault at big 5 as a last resort defense for about 40 bucks. The location on York in Highland Park has it in stock.  I carry one as I have several fairly young children that I hike/backpack/camp with on a regular basis. I'm fairly sure I'll never need it in the San Gabriels, but it positively makes me feel better having it accessible when I'm up in the hills. I feel if anything that big cats are more of a potential lethal danger up there than bears. I've never seen them on this side of the SG's, but I have seen them more than once between Heath Canyon and Blue Ridge/Guffy behind Mountain High.

True - big cats.  Here in Sierra Madre a few years ago, we had two that were interfacing down into some properties - big mountain lions, not bobcats.  I have a story at home:  one night, year and half ago, my mother-in law was staying in a downstairs bedroom here, window facing side driveway.  3am she hears a racket crash the yard gate there and then a shot gun rack from lower in the driveway  Shocked  She was convinced someone was getting ready to break in.

Turns out the police saw a mountain lion walking down the street and spook / chased it with the car for a bit.  It ran up my driveway.  Officer exited the car and the animal turned and was dead ended at my gate.  Officer then fired shotgun propelled pepper balls at it (standard for them to harass and chase it back up to the mountain).  It scaled the gate (the crash she heard) through the back yard and continued over the back into the next block.  

When I was at spruce grove a month ago, I saw the butt end of one on the trail up by sturtevant camp.  It was 6 - 630 pm and I decided to stroll up to check out sturtevant.  I was rounding a bend in the trail and saw the butt end of what I thought was a german shepherd (right color) moving a bit qickly away from my direction on the trail.  It took about five seconds to realize no one was there and no reason for a loose german shepherd to be cruising the trail.  I am pretty sure it was a cat.  It moved quickly and probably was moving away down the trail from me as it heard me coming.  I started to turn and trot back and quickly realized not a good idea so I slowed down and then and walked back banging my hiking pole on stuff the whole way back (thinking that might keep it scared off, lol)  Now that I think about it, why so many encounters recently?  I never had them as a teen and in my 20s camping through there, lol.  I guess drought bringing animals to the trail areas is true?

These are the ones seen some years back at a town property:
Rudy Rodriguez

I saw the back end of a mountain lion in Millard campground. It was clearly visible in my flashlight as a feline with a long tail. Definitely not a bobcat. I think more animals are visible cuz of populating successfully thanks to conservation efforts and the inevitable encroachment of MAN. Forum Index -> San Gabriels
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