What an absolutely wonderful hike from beginning to end! The only negative part was having to wake up at 4:30 to be able to park at Chantry Flats before all lots filled. I actually arrived at 6:30 and the lot was already filled so I had to park on the side of the road…Oh well, what can you do? Life is still very good! Haha! I went to Adam’s Pack Station to get an Adventure Day Pass and a delicious hot cup of coffee because my eyeballs were still sealed shut. The white billy goat didn’t want to wake up and I know, felt my pain.
I embarked upon my trek at around 7ish and decided to hike to Sturtevant Falls to see the water flow. The water crossings were very easy and uneventful. I was amazed at how green and lush the vegetation was after so many years of drought. It was an overcast, cool, windless day…Perfect weather for hiking!
After the falls, I took the Gabrielino Trail to Spruce Grove Campground. This was the first campground I ever stayed at by myself. It was a test to see if I liked to overnight camp solo. Well, I guess, it was successful. I have been hiking pretty much by myself ever since…And hence, my trail name, Solo Yolo! There are so many people that feel that you should always have a partner when you hike in case something happens…My thought on this is…”What is going to happen will.” Just do your best to be prepared. I have found that I thoroughly enjoy my solitude and will never sacrifice this opportunity in order to listen to others’ fears. Come what may and I will deal with it. That being said, Spruce Grove is a fantastic campground, complete with two stinky outhouses and several flat pads with fire rings. There’s a nice year-around stream that runs behind the camp for water. Great place to spend a night…
After Spruce Grove, the ascent begins. It’s not long before you reach Sturtevant Camp with it’s many small cabins, swing, hammocks, volley ball court, and recreation room. Many people rent the cabins as well as Girl/Boy Scouts. When I arrived, there was hot water for coffee and oatmeal…So very cool! I just had to imbibe in the offerings!
Nice refreshing rest to get ready for the switchbacks to the summit (Sturtevant Trail). I loved the adrenaline rush as my heart was pumping and my sweat was pouring. I’d stop to catch my breath for a minute here and there, but pushed forward. I don’t know about you, but I do love the burn and the competitive nature of the climb. The feeling is most certainly addictive. Finally, after about an hour, I reached the summit. I was welcomed with the view Mt. Wilson Observatory, as well as being above the clouds.
I was so excited upon reaching the summit that I had to hug a sign in celebration! Haha!
Time for the decent…I took the Mt. Wilson Trail to the Upper Winter Trail. I was expecting all downhill, but was pleasantly surprised (NOT!) that there was a bit of incline with the Upper Trail (lol), but it wasn’t too bad. The entire trail was beautiful, well marked, and clear for easy navigation. My feet were sore, but my heart and soul were happy when I finally made it back to Adam’s Pack Station for a much deserved beer! They have excellent grilled hamburgers as well. Absolutely awesome hike and my first peak bagged of my Six-Pack of Peaks!!!
Stellar hike, stellar view, stellar exercise…Priceless! Happy Trails! ~Solo Yolo
Directions to Chantry Flats (Sturtevant Falls):
Take the 210 to Santa Anita Ave. and head north. It is a very windy road, but a straight shot to Chantry Flats. Make sure you arrive very early as the parking lot fills up by 6:30/7am on the weekends. The entry gate is opened at 6am, unless there is weather/road condition closures. Wilderness Pass must be displayed. You may purchase a daily pass from Adam’s Pack Station for $5. Annual passes will hopefully be available in February.
SoCal Hiker’s Blog of the Trails
Info on road conditions/closures to Chantry Flats