San Gabriel Mountains National Monument - Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness - Mount Williamson Hikes - Photos - Pictures
Photos/pictures/photographs from the Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness, a subsection of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, which in turn is part of the larger Angeles National Forest. In this series of photos I focus on the higher elevation hikes in this area, including hikes to Mount Williamson (8214') that looks down upon Devil's Punchbowl County Park, Big Rock Creek, and the upper reaches of Littlerock Creek. The trail head for Mount Williamson is at Islip Saddle (6648'). When it's 100º to 105º in Antelope Valley down below (elevation 3000'), it's typically a much more pleasant 20º-30º cooler in the higher elevation sections of Highway 2. Highway 2 is closed during the winter. Check CalTrans for road status. I don't recommend driving at night up here as the many rocks that fall onto the road from the steep mountains it is cut into are difficult to see with car headlamps alone.
Photos/Pictures/Photographs - July 30, 2013
Map of San Gabriel Mountains National Monument established 2014 (pdf). Wikipedia. Visitor Guide 2016.
Islip Saddle sign post, with notices "Bear Country," "Parked Vehicles Must Display Pass," "Keep Dogs On Leash," "No Campfires, No Charcoal Grills," etc. 7/29/2013.
Sign stating, "Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness," "Angeles National Forest," and "U.S. Forest Service - Department of Agriculture." 7/29/2013.
Islip Saddle parking area. 7/29/2013.
Devil's Punchbowl as viewed near Mount Williamson. This is from a ridge line a little farther north and east of Mount Williamson that is accessed via a steep 400'-500' drop at the western end of Mount Williamson. From this lower ridge you look directly down upon sections of the High Desert Trail. The steepness of the trail to access this particular vantage point is tough on the joints; it's also very exposed to the sun, with a lot of reflected light coming off the decomposed granite and scree. So I don't often get out to this section. 7/29/2013.
Fine pine tree specimen at the top of Mount Williamson. 7/29/2013.
Holcomb Canyon as viewed from Mount Williamson. 7/29/2013.
Close-up of trail switchbacks out of Holcomb Canyon going toward Big Rock Creek. as viewed from Mount Williamson some 4000' above. 7/29/2013.
Holcomb Canyon from Mount Williamson. 7/29/2013.
Juniper Hills, sequoia, mistletoe, near Mount Williamson. 7/29/2013.
Close up of mistletoe infesting sequoia near Mount Williamson along Pleasant View Ridge. 7/29/2013.
Pine Mountain and Big Rock Creek as viewed from Mount Williamson. 7/29/2013.
1966 plane wreckage near Mount Williamson. (Another crash nearby occurred 28 years later.) This is the big draw for hikers going beyond the western end of Mount Williamson. It adds another 2-3 hours to the hike. Several people have etched their names into the aluminum body. 7/29/2013.
Closeup of radar, radio, and cellular cluster as viewed between Mount Williamson and Waterman Mountain from the vantage point of Mount Williamson. 7/29/2013. I could feel when I was in direct line-of-sight from these things. I enjoyed this hike for the most part because the antenna cluster overlooking Wrightwood to the east was blocked entirely by Mount Baden-Powell and this cluster to the west was blocked most of the time by Waterman or Williamson. Much of the trail leading up from the Islip Saddle was on the east facing slope of Williamson. Are these on Vetto Mountain Road?
Twin Peaks and Waterman Mountain as viewed from Mount Williamson. 7/29/2013.
Two dead pine trees atop Mount Williamson. 7/29/2013.
Waterman Mountain as viewed from Mount Williamson. 7/29/2013.
Agave stricta or hedgehog agave on Mount Williamson. 7/29/2013. Wikipedia (pdf).
Pine lining path on Mount Williamson, looking east toward Big Rock Creek and Pine Mountain. 7/29/2013.
Shadow of me making peace sign against granite and pine on trail down from Mount Williamson summit. What a beautiful day, no chemtrails, and fabulous temps. 7/29/2013.
More pine and sequoia succumbing to a particularly virulent and deadly mistletoe infestation. Perhaps 10% of the trees in the San Gabriel Mountains are infected by this parasitic organism that frequently kills its hosts. Goodbye to shade on a hot day. :( 7/29/2013. Wikipedia (pdf). As of 8/2016 I would say that the percentage is about 1/3rd now. With no rain, the pine trees can't make sap, which acts as a deterrant to pests like the pine beetle, as well as parasites. As well, the heavy metal spraying forces plants to block uptake of nutrients from the soil (as they seek to protect themselves from contamination), further weakening their immune systems.
Some shots of a Los Angeles County Sheriff helicopter near Islip Saddle in the San Gabriel Mountains, August 5, 2015. It landed briefly across HWY 2 from the Islip Saddle parking area, sending a lot grass and dirt my way. In the middle pic the helipcopter is framed by metal nano-aerosols injected into the atmosphere -- to what end I do not know conclusively.
A small specimen of a king snake (less than 2 feet long) crossing the trail near the Mount Williamson trailhead. August 5, 2015.
Artificial cloud above my rest stop near the top of Mount Williamson. Near the same time, looking east from Mount Williamson toward Mount Baden-Powell, Throop Peak, Mount Islip, and California Highway 2 cutting a line beneath them. Notice the healthier looking skies before heavy metal particulate matter wafted over there carried by the prevailing winds. 8/5/2015.
Here is a 4 minute video of aerosolized aluminum from atop Mount Willamson in the San Gabriel Mountains of southern California, August 5, 2015.
A couple of pics from the eastern summit of Mount Williamson, looking north across Holcomb Canyon, Big Rock Creek, the San Andreas Fault, and the Antelope Valley, about 5000' below. August 4 and 6, 2016.
View west from near Mount Williamson's summit. 8/6/2016.
Agave stricta, or hedgehog agave, near beginning of Mount Williamson trail at 6900' or so. The intersection of old growth pine and desert succulents like this is one of the many interesting aspects of this unique climate and locale. The agave specimen on the far right is a spectacular one, some 6'-8' feet across. 8/8/2016.
Mylar birthday balloon lodged 7500' up on the southern flank of Mount Williamson. Mylar balloons are a public nuisance and should be banned. :) 8/6/2016.
Eastern summit of Mount Williamson, view east of Highway 2 cutting beneath (in the cropped picture at right) Throop Peak (9138') on right, Mount Burnham (8897') in middle, and Mount Baden-Powell (9399') at rear. In the first picture you see Highway 2's highpoint at Dawson Saddle (7901') with Mt. Lewis (8396') just to the left and Mount Hawkins (8850') to the right of Throop Peak. I believe there is a trail from Dawson Saddle going down to Big Rock Creek via Mount Lewis, as well as a trail that connects with the Pacific Crest Trail leading west from Baden-Powell to Mount Hawkins. When it is really hot, I might try accessing Baden Powell from Dawson Saddle, since my normal hike to Mount Williamson starts 1300' lower in elevation and is hence sometimes warmer by 5-6 degrees. I've been told Dawson Saddle to Baden-Powell is an easy 6 mile round trip with only 1500' of elevation gain. I need to find out whether most of the hike is in the EMF shadow cast by Baden-Powell, protecting me as much as possible from the cellular and microwave installations atop the Mountain High ski resort overlooking the town of Wrightwood. 8/8/2016.
Eastern summit of Mount Williamson view west. The focus is smog, which fascinates me. The thick cloud of white particulate matter clings to the first few thousand feet of air collumn, with a clear delineated top beneath the 6000' mountains in the distance. Where I am at 8200' is largely above this poisonous mass. It's following the gap in the mountain range that is used by Highway 14, a major artery connecting Antelope Valley to Santa Clarita and the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. Some of this white matter is the remains of aerosol spraying in the preceding days, but it's uniform, compact nature suggests it is 90% sourced from combustion engines and other terrestrial-based pollution. 8/8/2016.
Near Mount Williamson's summit. Looking at the compact layer of smog (that is not fog!) in the distance. 8/8/2016.
Two minute movie of the wind in the pine atop Mount Williamson. This is where and how I spend 15-30 minutes laying down during each trip coming back down from the summit. 8/8/2016.
Just below the middle of the photo you can see a glider plane. I hadn't heard any propeller tow-plane, so I was shocked to see the glider swoop in over Islip Saddle a few hundred feet beneath me as I descended from Mount Williamson. It had been almost close enough for me to throw a rock at it. But it took a good 10 seconds for me to take my camera out of its bag, remove the lens cap, and shoot. I might have been at 7800', so the glider must have been at 7600' or so. These crafts are magical. You become a bird in one. Someday I hope to ride in one. They originate out of Llano, just a few miles north of the Big Rock Creek and South Fork Campgrounds, from the Crystalaire Airport in Llano, California, and are operated by the Southern California Soaring Academy (pdf) (YouTube).8/13/2016.
2016.9.13. Extraordinary day on the mountain. Two minute video here. This is just a minute from Mount Williamson's summit. It was amazing to see the windward facing pine trees dripping with so much moisture that the ground under the trees was soaked as if a rain storm had passed. Everything facing the onslaught of rushing clouds became drenched. Tree trunks, branches, and pine needles were all spectacularly wet. It had been many months, possibly a year, since a decent rain had hit the area. Many trees in the drier sections were flashing out or beset by fatal infestations of the parasite, mistletloe. So I would wonder at the resilience of the trees near the ridgeline. Today I discovered their secret. I had been in clouds in the same area, but they were "dry," meaning they had no moisture to share. The difference was that these wet clouds came when it had been some weeks of no heavy metal spraying into the stratosphere. The dry clouds were a result of heavy spraying that kept the moisture unavailable and in suspension. The air on this day was super vital and free of pollution. Simply fantastic!
Pine tree along Mount Williamson Trail. Clouds along trail near Islip Saddle. 9/13/2016.
Here is a one minute clip of the clouds shooting across the Islip Saddle parking area and Highway 2. Notice that there are no cars. I had the trail to myself as there was a storm and rain advisory. Hiking is often best when the weather is intense.The wind howled and the clouds sprinted past, but there was no rain in this particular area, though it rained heavily elsewhere. I took the day off work just to be here. I am so happy that I did! 9/13/2016.
Mount Lewis, Highway 2, Dawson Saddle, and clouds from midpoint on Mount Williamson. 9/13/2016.
Here is a 2 minute video of clouds wafting by between an upper ridge of Mount Williamson, and HWY 2 and Mount Lewis 3-4 miles in the distance. 9/13/2016.
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