Saturday, March 24, 2012

Garcia Trail to Azusa Peak Hike – March 24, 2012

Azusa PeakSee Garcia Trail Description on Dan's Hiking Pages

The first weekend of spring calls for a hike! And in conjunction with our event on Tuesday night at the Azusa City Library, “Hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains,” we planned a community hike up Garcia Trail. Winter was not content in letting spring arrive unscathed, but cloudy skies and cool temperatures did not deter us.

Group at Garcia Trail trailheadThere are nine of us, including Nancy Johnson, the library director at the Azusa City Library, and my friend Ray Moench and some of his hiking guys. We take a group picture and off we go.

8:23 - Start hike. Marine haze casts gloom but the sun is trying to shine through. The rain last weekend no doubt contributed to the willingness of spring flowers to begin their blooming. There are lots of people on the trail today, as typical for a Saturday morning on Garcia Trail. Most are wearing outfits you normally find in a gym. Soon the sun is gracing our path and it’s time to take off the long sleeves. The haze still lingers over the valley obscuring our views.

View south from Garcia TrailI enjoy introducing our motley group to flowers along the way. Blooming plants today include wild radish, common sunflower, moth mullein, morning glory, mustard, phacelia, Douglas nightshade, wishbone bush, lupine, deerweed, dodder, tree tobacco, everlasting, California buckwheat, fountain grass, cliff aster, bush monkeyflower, brittlebush (barely), red steam filaree, and lemonade berry.

9:25 - Glendora Ridge Motorway. We stand looking north into San Gabriel Canyon and the mountains beyond. Last week’s snow is nearly gone from Mt. Islip. The mighty San Gabriel River is only a mild stream today with the flow being controlled at Morris Dam a half mile up the canyon. After a few minutes we turn east and start the short climb to the summit.

Azusa Peak9:37 - Azusa Peak (2081’). Several other people are here and more arrive. The vast human sprawl to the south is muted with marine layer. The iconic white cross stands shorter than it used to. Dozens of people have expressed themselves with scrawling on the 4x10 timbers. Ray serenades us on the ocarina. We linger and chat and enjoy the beauty of this special peak.

We leave the summit at 10:04. Still lots of people coming and going. This is such a popular trail! Enjoyed more plants on the way down. The rich chaparral is coming alive. Ran into my friend Liz Ramirez and her friend, Iso. Met some other folks.

Wild morning glory on Garcia Trail10:38 - Finish hike. We say our goodbyes and head our ways.

Epilog - What a pleasant outing! Spring is blooming. Good group. It’s nice to meet new people and get know others better. I’m always so thankful for such a superb trail and peak so close to my home right here in Azusa. icon

See Garcia Trail Description on Dan's Hiking Pages

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