SoCal Hikes: Mt. Islip 5/20/20 and Hoegee’s Camp 5/22/20

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SoCal Hikes: Mt. Islip 5/20/20 and Hoegee’s Camp 5/22/20

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Jun 23, 2020 1:46 pm

There were a couple of hikes I wanted to get in before I left SoCal at the end of May.

The Angeles Crest Hwy was still closed at Islip Saddle on May 20. The snow is long gone, but it takes longer to clear rockslides. It opened to Vincent Gap/Big Pines sometime in June. I followed the Pacific Crest Trail east like the two backcountry skiers I met here on April 18.
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Eventually I reached this view east of the closed part of the Angeles Crest below, and also at left distance where it rises to its max elevation of 7,900 feet at Dawson Saddle.
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The high point is near 9,100 foot Throop Peak where I took Samantha in 2009. Note zero snow at 9,000 when it was skiable to 7,000 a month earlier.

I was soon on the wider dirt road to Little Jimmy Camp, which provides closer access when the Angeles Crest is fully open. I shortcut right off that road and soon reached the more direct trail to Mt. Islip. That trail ascends a ridgeline on the east side of the peak, providing the best view of the upper San Gabriel River drainage.
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Crystal Lake is at right. The San Gabriel Reservoir is at far distance.

Stone hut on top of 8,250 foot Mt. Islip:
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View west to Mt. Waterman’s upper easier trails:
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Elevations are similar, but views from Islip are better as it’s a sharper and more exposed peak with less vegetation.

Desert view north:
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From the top of Islip the remnants of snow at Baldy’s 10,068 foot peak are barely visible.
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Round trip was a bit over 3 hours with 1,570 elevation gain. Midweek I encountered less than 10 other people.

My May 22 hike started at the very popular Chantry Flat area above Arcadia. There was a sign in Arcadia warning that there was no parking, but I figured correctly that arriving at 3PM I would catch someone leaving.

As I walked from the lower to upper parking area I noticed a group of people who were watching this bear hanging out near some dumpsters.
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I hiked a loop of the Upper Winter Creek Trail to the Lower Winter Creek Trail.
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Most visitors to Chantry Flat hike down to the Santa Anita Wash, then down to Hermit Falls or up to Sturtevant Falls.

It’s only 2,150 feet here, which usually means a hot hike this time of year in SoCal aside from near the beach areas. But both Winter Creek Trails are almost continuously shaded, and the lush vegetation here is rarely seen in the Verdugo Mountains above my house.
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The greenery has lasted longer this spring even in less sheltered areas due to the 3-5 inches of rain during Easter Week.

During a rare break in the vegetation I get a view down to the Chantry Flat parking and Santa Anita Canyon. This is probably near the upper trail high point at 2,900 feet.
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This was my objective, prompted by Larry Schick’s research on extreme rain/flood events.
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The sign is on fairly high ground just north of Winter Creek at 2,500 feet.

There was no trace of any structure near the sign, but this stone foundation was just after I crossed Winter Creek to the south.
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There are campsites and picnic tables nearby.
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Lower Winter Creek Trail with one of at least 12 “Lincoln Log” dams on Winter Creek.
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Winter Creek runs straight off the east side of 5,700 foot Mt. Wilson and flood potential is obvious even if you didn’t know about January 1943. The tree canopy was dense enough that I never got a clear view of Mt. Wilson.

Lower down I was surprised to see several private cabins.
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These are similar to those in Icehouse Canyon above Mt. Baldy Village.

Here water is seeping through the gaps in the “Lincoln Logs.”
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Perhaps this is by design for flood events.

A lower dam:
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The lower Winter Creek Trail ends at 1,800 feet, where it meets a paved trail back to Chantry Flats. This is the one section where you will get hot, and it’s recommended that dogs avoid it in summer. It was still warm at 6PM but this blue jay stopped here anyway.
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The demise of Hoegee’s Camp in 1953 is worthy of note. For those who think that destructive SoCal fires are a recent phenomenon or that it’s unusual when they occur as late as the Dec. 5 start of the Thomas Fire in 2017, the Monrovia Peak Fire lasted from Dec. 27, 1953 to Jan. 2, 1954 and must have been quite a sight from the 1954 Rose Parade.
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This was probably the closest ever fire threat to the Mt. Wilson Observatory. The 2009 Station Fire burned 10x as much acreage but was kept much farther from Mt. Wilson.
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Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
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Re: SoCal Hikes: Mt. Islip 5/20/20 and Hoegee’s Camp 5/22/20

Postby snowave » Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:56 pm

Some of my favorite hikes in there from my time working/living on the Angeles NF. Chantry is really special place... especially all the cabins. I was lucky enough to get to stay a few times in one of the furthest up near Sturtevant's Camp. Not nearly as many visitors go up there past the falls.

Islip and Throop are also top 10 hikes in the San Gab's. Did you stop for a drink of the crisp, clean water at Little Jimmy Spring?

Those concrete log things are indeed for flood control. I think they call them check dams and/or sill dams. Supposedly helps with erosion, etc. I used to know more about them, but have forgotten most of the details.

As for the Station Fire not burning as close to Mt. Wilson, I believe that might not be accurate. If I recall correctly, it burned onto the grounds of the observatory in several spots, and along a large portion of the north slope of Mt. Wilson. Edit: in my brief research, here is a video of a water drop on Mt. Wilson during that fire. https://wildfiretoday.com/2009/09/03/vi ... mt-wilson/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

and this from the same site from Sept 3. " Mt. Wilson is still looking good and they expect positive results there. A low intensity fire is burning around the structures and is being managed by firefighters".

thanks for sharing
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Re: SoCal Hikes: Mt. Islip 5/20/20 and Hoegee’s Camp 5/22/20

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:00 pm

My shortcut to Mt. Islip bypassed Little Jimmy Spring.

I have been to Mt. Wilson several times since the Station Fire. There is no sign of damage within the grounds or on the approach road from Red Box. As you drive east on the Angeles Crest Hwy from the Red Box turnoff, everything along the highway and down to the West Fork of the San Gabriel River has burned. There was little fire advance south of the West Fork toward Mt. Wilson.
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The above pic is a view of the north side of Mt. Wilson in July 2010, 10 months after the Station Fire. I see one finger of burnt area at left of the white observatory dome; otherwise most of the old growth forest on the north side of Mt. Wilson is still there.

The Station Fire was during a period of intense heat and little wind. Most of the time it moved slowly and consumed nearly everything within its perimeter. The Monrovia Peak Fire was a classic Santa Ana situation with 70mph winds. Those fires tend to hopscotch embers over long distances and burn a more patchy pattern.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: SoCal Hikes: Mt. Islip 5/20/20 and Hoegee’s Camp 5/22/20

Postby snowave » Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:55 pm

I was thinking that shorctut might have had you miss the spring, but again my memory of those details are waning the longer I have lived away from Socal.

The fire did burn up and into Mt. Wilson grounds on Sept 3, but I will agree it was a rather slow mover/low intensity on the north slope. I stand corrected about most of the north slope being burned, however the fire did burn parts of the lower to mid slopes above the west fork about half way to Red Box Rd according to the burn map. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Station_Fire_(2009)#/media/File:StationFire4Sept.jpg Your picture does not show the area on the other side of that ridge, and it did indeed burn more finger patterns.

I will also agree that the Station fire was mostly not wind driven, however it was such an intense fire at that it did move very quickly , so the comparison to a wind driven fire on
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Re: SoCal Hikes: Mt. Islip 5/20/20 and Hoegee’s Camp 5/22/20

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:18 am

Snowave found the Station Fire map I was looking for.
Image
The resolution is not ideal, but there is an isolated yellow patch north of the observatory that is probably the same as the bare spot in my picture. But in general there is an unburned buffer between the Red Box to Mt. Wilson road and the fire boundary near the West Fork San Gabriel River.

My first survey hike after the Station Fire was on Dec. 26, 2009.
There are pictures of Mt. Wilson taken from San Gabriel Peak. On the front side of the mountains the Arroyo Seco drainage was almost completely burned but the fire was mostly kept out of the Eaton Canyon drainage directly below Mt. Wilson.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 10561
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California


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