San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders announcing that the October 6 work day was planned for Hawkins Ridge, I was elated and knew I had to be a part of it. I had reported to the group that a section of the trail south of Sadie Hawkins had completely disappeared. I figured, however, that it would be unlikely to get trail crews up there since South Mt. Hawkins Road was washed out with no plans by the Forest Service to restore it. But during the Williams Fire 2012, which begun on Sept. 2, FS officials took advantage of dozers on hand and ordered that So. Mt. Hawkins Road be graded. So the Trailbuilders took advantage of the restored access and decided to head to Hawkins Ridge Trail. The Trailbuilders built the trail in the 1990s but the trail hasn’t had formal maintenance in at least 10 years since So. Mt. Hawkins Road was closed as a result of the 2002 Curve Fire.
8:03 AM - Leave from the San Gabriel Canyon Gateway Center in Azusa and drive up Highway 39 to Rincon Fire Station to load the equipment. There are 22 of us today, including some students from Mt. San Antonio Collage. We load up the equipment: shovels, McLeods, pick-mattoxes, loppers, rock bars, chainsaws, etc. After the drive up to Crystal Lake Campground, we stop at Deer Flats and transfer those in cars to the high-clearance trucks and SUVs.
lowlands are shrouded with a layer of clouds. I reflect on my experience being here last month watching the Williams Fire grow. We leave the summit at 10:41 and head back to the saddle as the staging area for our work. Ben leads a safety meeting on the use of tools and guidelines for a safe day.
Epilog - What an excellent day! I am so pleased that we were able to reestablish the missing section of this splendid Hawkins Ridge Trail. The crew worked hard and the weather was perfect. And for the group to visit the ruins of the historic South Hawkins Fire Lookout was a real treat. We encountered only one party of two hikers today who were coming down the ridge, having started from Hwy 2. Since the distances to hike here are long, this trail naturally won’t get a large amount of foot traffic. But it is one of the finest trails in the San Gabriels and offers the intrepid hiker a wonderful high-country experience. If you want to enjoy some rewarding work, come out and spend a day with the San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders. Workdays are on the first, third, and fifth Saturdays of each month. Visit the San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders website to learn more.
See Hawkins Ridge Hike - September 2-3, 2012 at Dan’s Hiking Blog
See Windy Gap Trail hike description at Dan’s Hiking Pages