Saturday, July 21, 2007

Classifying Our Hikes

On our blog we have attempted to classify our hikes into different categories: Fun Easy Hikes, Peaks, Water Features, Kid Friendly Hikes and Urban Hikes. There are obviously some that slip through the cracks, for that reason, the best tool to find a hike on our blog that is close to you, is to use our Google map which can be found here and is found on the side of our blog.

Fun Short Hikes: In classifying a hike as easy we look for hikes with little elevation gain. We also make sure that the hike is short (2-3 miles) or has the option to be as short as you want to make it while still being able to enjoy a wilderness setting. Fun Easy hikes are good for those who do not have much time to get away, they are good for families with children, and for those who want a more leisurely hike.

Notable Peaks: This classification is pretty straightforward. The whole purpose of these hikes is to make it to the top of the peak. There is no classification in height that we have for our peak bagging. Our only requirement is a peak with a view!

Urban Hikes: These are hikes that are surrounded by suburbia. These hikes are in semi wilderness areas and thus your chance of viewing wildlife is less than in our other hikes. If you are looking for a true wilderness setting hikes classified as an Urban Hike are not for you.

Local Water Features: These hikes include some type of NOTABLE water feature in them. Some examples of water features are Waterfalls, Natural Lakes and Marshes. The water feature is highlighted in the parenthesis next to the link.

Kid Friendly Hikes: We will leave it up to parents to determine which trails they are willing to take their kids on. We have seen parents with kids out on many hikes and ultimately it is their job to determine the distance and type of hike that their kids are ready for. Taking that and safety in mind, we are only going to recommend a few hikes for this category, even though we have seen families with kids out on other trails listed in our fun short hikes section.

On Each Individual Hike Write-Up you should find the following Categories:

Directions to Trailhead: You should be able to find how to get to the trailhead via our directions and Google map that is found on each hike.

Description of Hike: In this section we place information about the hiking location, such as size, trail length. We try and include any helpful links that pertain to the hike.

Further Thoughts: This space is our area to write up what we saw and what Ashley and I's experience was while we were out on the trail.

Rating: We rate the difficulty of each of our entries, so that you can have an idea of what to expect when you go out on the trail.

Time to Complete Hike: This section gives a time range that it will take most hikers to complete the hike.

More Trail Write-Ups: Some hikes we have done multiple times. We will include the links to our other write-ups of the same hike if we have done that hike multiple times.

NOTE: We attempt to provide our best description of trail conditions and what to expect when you hike on a given trail. As always, our write-ups reflect the view of what the trail conditions were at the time we hiked it. Make sure to always be prepared for any hike that you undertake in a wilderness or urban wilderness setting, by bringing enough water, food, having proper clothing, gear, shoes, a map, as well as telling someone where you are going and when to expect you back.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mt. San Jacinto (Mt. San Jacinto State Park)

Mt. San Jacinto was the very first hike that Ashley and I ever did together and ultimately became the inspiration for our hiking blog. We did the hike in July of 2007 and Mt. San Jacinto via the Palm Springs Areal Tramway is a must do hike for any Southern Californian. Hiking to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto is a spectacular hike that continually rewards you with amazing views as you travel through Mt. San Jacinto State Park. We started our hike to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto by taking the tramway from Palm Springs up the mountain. This was one of the most memorable hikes ever for the both of us.

Directions to Trailhead: Ashley and I used the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to get up to the trailhead area of the San Jacinto Wilderness to hike to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto. To locate the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway look at this Map. The address for the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is: One Tram Way, Palm Springs, CA. 92262. The Mountain Station where the tram drops you off has a restaurant, restrooms, and a nice little gift shop where you can pick up a trail map for your hike on the trail to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto. The trailhead to the top of Mt. San Jacinto starts at the Mountain Station where the tram lets you off. There is an area near the Long Valley Ranger Station to get your free wilderness permit which is required to do the hike. For a map of the trails click Here. For current pricing on the cost of tickets to use the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to get to the top click Here. When we went prices were approximately 23 dollars per adult.

Description of Hike: The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway takes you from the Valley Station located at 2,643 feet and drops you off at the Mountain Station which is located at 8,516 feet. The Mountain Station has a snack shop and restrooms as well as eating options, but this is the last bit of civilization before entering the Mt. San Jacinto State Park wilderness. Note that there are periodic maintenance closures of the Aerial Tramway during the month of August, so call 1-760-325-1391 to find their schedule in August. There is no cost for parking or for a wilderness permit for you hike to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto, those costs are all rolled into the amount charged for your tram ride to the Mountain Station.

The hike to the top of Mt. San Jacinto is 11 miles roundtrip with about 2,300 feet of elevation gain. The trail is well traveled and there are several options to get to the summit. A map is available for sale of the Mt. San Jacinto Wilderness State park and we would recommend purchasing one, when we went they were 2 dollars. The temperature on the mountain is much cooler than it is in the Palm Springs and the desert area below. Palm Springs was about 115 degrees Fahrenheit while the summit of Mt. San Jacinto was in the upper 70's. The whole hike with stops was about 7 - 8 hours. If you don't have time to hike to Mt. San Jacinto, there are two smaller nature trails located by the Mountain Station where the tram drops you off. There is a self-guided nature trail and the Desert View Trail which offers panoramas of the high country including several peaks over 10,000 feet in elevation. Maps for these trails are provided free of charge with your ticket to ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The hiking trail is well maintained and usually well marked. This is an out and back hike along a dirt trail that is at times rocky and uneven. 

Further Thoughts: We started our hike to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto early in the morning. Ashley and I and were on the tram at about 9am (the hike is an all day affair). We then hiked the rest of the way to the top of Mt. San Jacinto which is 10,834 feet above sea level. The overall hike was 11 miles roundtrip and the trail was in good condition, except for the top where it got very rocky. The last push to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto is a little scramble climbing over large rocks/boulders, but just remember the views are worth the extra effort during the last scramble  There are plenty of rocks on the summit of Mt. San Jacinto that serve as great places to enjoy lunch while taking in the spectacular views. Ashley and I enjoyed our lunch at the top of Mt. San Jacinto, which is we would recommend even though there are other areas to eat lunch along the hiking trail. This was a great hike as far as scenery goes and it is really hard to beat the views at the summit. Water was still present in the creeks even though it was summer and we saw deer and other wildlife while we were hiking on the trail to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto. During the summer months, be on the lookout for thunderstorms that occasionally develop in this section of the San Bernardino National Forest and the Mt. San Jacinto State Park. The best season to do this hike is the late spring, summer, and early fall as during the wintertime this peak becomes snow covered. Only experienced and properly equipped hikers should attempt the climb to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto when there is snow present. Current weather conditions at the Mountain Station can be found Here.

The view at the top of Mt. San Jacinto was astounding. We were able to see all around. Ashley and I could see Saddleback Mountain, Mt San Gorgonio, the Inland Empire, and the entire Palm Springs area. Over all we both gave the hike two thumbs way up! We hope to come back to this area on a regular basis.



Rating: Elevation Gain: 2,300 ft. (Moderate - Strenuous), Distance: 11 Miles Roundtrip (Moderate - Strenuous), Note: be on the watch for Altitude sickness since the height of Mt. San Jacinto is 10,834 ft.

Time to Complete Hike: 6.5 - 8 hours.

MORE TRAIL WRITE-UPS ON MT. SAN JACINTO

July 10, 2007 (This Post)


View Mt. San Jacinto in a larger map

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Contact/Comments

Contact: please feel free to contact us at ABhikingblog@gmail.com if you have any feedback or comments for us.

Comments: Ashley and I encourage and welcome our readers to submit comments about their experiences on the hikes on this blog or about their hiking experiences in general. (Note: All comments require administrator approval. Comments will not be approved if they are not related to hiking, the blog, the outdoors, ect. No advertisements or in appropriate material will be allowed to be posted to the site. Posts that contain Links to other hiking websites are fine).

ABHIKING.blogspot.com: Copyright 2007.

Fee's and Permit

In most of the hiking locations on Brian & Ashley's Hiking blog there are fee's or permits required for parking. Most of the fees are very nominal, as hiking is a very affordable activity.

Cleveland National Forest (And other Local National Forests): To park in many areas of the Cleveland National Forest a Forest Adventure Pass is required. The Forest Adventure Pass is also good for the San Bernardino National Forest, the Angeles National Forest, and the Los Padres National Forest. For in formation about the Forest Adventure Pass click Here.

The link has information on where to buy them and on the types. There is an annual pass for 30 dollars and a day pass for 5 dollars. The link also has the free days listed when no permit is required. For backpacking an overnight free permit is required by the forest service. The other national forests in Southern California have different permit requirements for overnight backpacking, each hike write up will tell you if you need to have a permit.

National Forest Wilderness Areas: Many of our local National Forests have congressionally designated wilderness areas in them. Some of these wilderness areas require special free permits to hike in that area in addition to needing the Forest Adventure Pass. I have provided a list of the wilderness areas in the four national forests that are near Southern California and indicated whether a permit is required or not. For more information about our wilderness areas click Here.

Los Padres National Forest
  1.  San Rafael Wilderness (LPNF): No Additional Permit Required.
  2.  Ventana Wilderness (LPNF): No Additional Permit Required.
  3. Garcia Wilderness (LPNF): No Additional Permit Required.
  4. Santa Lucia Wilderness (LPNF): No Additional Permit Required.
  5. Machesna Mountain Wilderness (LPNF): No Additional Permit Required.
  6. Silver Peak Wilderness (LPNF): No Additional Permit Required.
  7. Dick Smith Wilderness (LPNF): No Additional Permit Required.
  8. Chumash Wilderness (LPNF): No Additional Permit Required.
  9. Sespe Wilderness (LPNF): No Additional Permit Required.
  10. Matilija Wilderness (LPNF): No Additional Permit Required.

San Bernardino National Forest
  1. Big Horn Mountain Wilderness (SBNF): No Additional Permit Required.
  2. San Gorgonio Wilderness (SBNF): Requires Additional Wilderness Permit.
  3. San Jacinto Wilderness (SBNF): Requires Additional Wilderness Permit.
  4. South Fork San Jacinto Wilderness (SBNF): Requires Additional Wilderness Permit.
  5. Coucamonga Wilderness (SBNF): Requires Additional Wilderness Permit.
  6. Cahuilla Mountain Wilderness (SBNF): Requires Additional Wilderness Permit.
  7. Santa Rosa Wilderness (SBNF): No Additional Permit Required.
Angeles National Forest
  1. Sheep Mountain Wilderness (ANF): Permit only for entry via East Fork Trailhead.
  2. San Gabriel Wilderness (ANF): No Additional Permit Required.
  3. Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness (ANF): Newly Designated Wilderness none at this time.
  4. Magic Mountain Wilderness (ANF): Newly Designated Wilderness none at this time.
Cleveland National Forest
  1. Agua Tibia Wilderness (CNF): No AdditionalPermit Required, need one for overnight.
  2. San Mateo Canyon Wilderness (CNF): No Additional Permit Required, need one for overnight.
  3. Hauser Wilderness (CNF): No Additional Permit Required, need one for overnight.
  4. Pine Creek Wilderness (CNF): No Additional Permit Required, need one for overnight.
Orange County Wilderness Parks: Wilderness Parks Like Caspers Wilderness Park, Limestone/Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, the Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park, and the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park all have a current cost of 3 dollars for parking (Caspers, and potentially others, charges 5 dollars on weekends). Note that regional parks charge 5 dollars. There is an annual pass option available through the county. For a full list of fee's click Here. Camping is also available in several of the parks.

Crystal Cove State Park (Other State Parks): The cost to park at Crystal Cove State Park is 15 dollars. The cost for parking at the Chino Hills State Park is 4 dollars. More information can be found Here. All state parks have fees to enter and they vary by park. A link to the State Park Website Can be found Here

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Pictures of Southern California Wildlife

Here is a collection of the wildlife Ashley and I have seen while on our hikes in Southern California. We continually update this section when we see more wildlife.





Red Diamondback Rattlesnake at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

Red Diamondback Rattlesnake as Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

Patch Nosed Snake at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

Patch Nosed Snake at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.



California King Snake at the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve.

Bighorn Sheep near Cucamonga Peak.

Bighorn Sheep near Cucamonga Peak.

Frog on the Quail Hill Loop.

Centipede on the Quail Hill Loop.

Crayfish at Mason Regional Park.

Female Roadrunner Peters Canyon Regional Park.

Male Roadrunner Peters Canyon Regional Park.



Wild Turkeys at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.

Wild Turkeys at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.

Arroyo Toad at Riley Wilderness Park.

Spider in his hole at Riley Wilderness Park.

A Tarantula on the Bear Canyon Hike.

A Newt on the Bear Canyon Hike.

A Gopher Snake at the Crystal Cove State Park.

A Gopher Snake at the Crystal Cove State Park.

A Roadrunner at the Crystal Cove State Park.

A Woolly Bear Caterpillar seen while at Riley Wilderness Park.

A White Heron seen while at Riley Wilderness Park.

Tarantula seen on our Aliso Creek Trail Hike.

Baby Alligator Lizard seen on our Aliso Creek Trail Hike.

One of two turtles that we saw while hiking in Santiago Oaks Regional Park.

A Frog that we saw while hiking in Santiago Oaks Regional Park.

A Baby Rattlesnake we saw while on our Colinas Ridge Hike.

A 4 foot Pacific Rattlesnake we saw while on our Colinas Ridge Hike.

This is a picture of a Coyote that we saw near the San Mateo Wilderness. We have seen several Coyotes during our hiking trips. They are very common in Southern California.

Gopher Snake in the Aliso & Wood Canyon Wilderness.

A Hawk near its nest in the Aliso & Wood Canyon Wilderness.

A cotton tail from the Aliso & Wood Canyon area.

Here is one of the Stink Bugs that we have seen on numerous hikes. 

Quail that we saw while at Caspers Wilderness Park

A Ground Squirrel we saw while at Caspers Wilderness Park

 
One of the many Turkey Vultures that we have seen while Hiking. We saw this one at Caspers Wilderness Park

Another Turkey Vulture we saw. This one we saw at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

Blue Heron we saw while at Laurel Canyon in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

A Butterfly we saw while at Riley Wilderness park

A Horned Lizard we saw while on our hike to Sitton Peak.

Two Western Whiptail Lizards we saw fighting while hike at the Devils Punchbowl.

A Blue Jay we saw while at the Devils Punchbowl

A Horned Owl we saw at the Devils Punchbowl.

An Alligator Lizard we saw while hiking at Palomar Mountain

A Wild Turkey we saw while hiking at Palomar Mountain

Lizard

Blue Dragon Fly

Red Dragonfly

Black Butterfly 

A Female Deer we saw while at Riley Wilderness Park

Three deer in Riley Wilderness Park.

A Tarantula we saw in Riley Wilderness Park.

A Canyon Wren we saw while in the Wilderness Glenn of Mission Viejo.