Mt Wilson main trailBecause of a warmer, sunnier week I was surprised to hear about snow and ice near the top of this trail. I had stopped at Manzanita Ridge and talked to a couple other hikers, one of whom said he slipped and rode down a bit right from the parking lot. The last thing I took out of my pack was the little pouch containing the Microspikes. Oh well...
The last and only time I had been on this trail was July 2011, I remember not liking it then but chalked it up to the heat. I do remember it was hot. Very hot, in fact so hot that I ran out of water and even had to drink the last bit of it hot. No matter what time of the morning, if the sun is out the early part of this trail is hot - even in January. So I hit the trail at 8am and promptly began working up a real good sweat. There were plenty of others out, some runners going to Orchard Camp and it sounded like a lot of people down at First Water. I stopped for breaks at Orchard and also at Manzanita, which were welcome respites from the constant uphill grind. The old pictures of ladies doing this trail in their long dresses and high heels only served to mock me as I dragged myself up some of the sections, but eventually I reached the icy parts. Only by then they had turned to slush, although still slippery posed much less danger to my trail runner-clad feet.
Once at the Cafe, I passed on the free coffee and hung out for much longer than I expected, having some lunch while sharing stories and tall tales with a few of my fellow hikers. I walked over to the other side of the summit, past the big telescope but could only get an obstructed view of the Baldy area. In fact the views pretty much everywhere up here are obstructed, so much that I hardly took any photos and wasn't too happy with what I did get. However, I'll share a few below.
Bottom line, this trail kicked my butt, maybe even more on the downhill. A day later and my shins are still sore. Next time I visit I'll take the trail from Chantry Flats, I did that once before. I didn't think I would get a parking spot that late in the morning.
Trailhead. I parked a couple hundred yards down the road.
No real switchbacks here, just following the steep contours of the canyon.
First view of the destination, I know the summit is near those towers.
Water flowing a few minutes below Orchard Camp. I filled up here both ways.
By now it doesn't feel like I'm making a lot of progress.
First snow, just above Manzanita Ridge.
This sign is at the junction of the Toll Road with the main trail near the summit. No signs below with this message.
The view out over the ocean was clear in the early morning but got hazy by noon.
Just below the Cafe. Don't be that guy.
Plenty of snow in the trees. The roads/pathways were scraped clear.
One of the solar telescopes.
View towards Baldy.
toll roadI went up the toll road from Altadena and it was fine. There are a few rock slides but nothing at all challenging. The snow started about 1/2 mile below the trail junction. Quite fun, Wilson in the snow.