Little T's 2nd Backpacking Trip!
November 19-20, 2012
The trip was only 3 miles - but yes, it was quite difficult as I had everything for both
my 9 month old son and me on my back (40 lbs?) - and him on my front (22 lbs)! I
joked and said he was counterbalancing my pack!
This was the only way I could backpack with my son, being unable to recruit anyone
lately who was willing to go and carry some things for me. The first time we went
was when he was 6 months old and I carried him in his backpack along with a few
things, and Nick carried the rest. This time we went with Sonya who is too petite to
shoulder more of a load than her own gear. But at least we had someone to go with :)
We hiked on a beautiful trail in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains - the
Upper Winter Creek Trail from Chantry Flat to Hoegee's Camp. It is 3 miles of
gorgeous colors this time of year as the big leaf maples in the canyon bottoms turn
gold to highlight the evergreen live oaks, California bay laurel, and Douglas fir.
The trail climbs and countours around the western slopes of Mt. Wilson, alternating
between sun-facing sides of manzanita and yucca and shady damp shady sides of moss
and fern. What a lovely place to go this time of year when the higher elevations are
already getting snow... And since the foothills have gotten rain the chaparral is so
very fragrant! If you've never hiked in chaparral after a rain you haven't hiked ;)
Hoegees Camp lies along Winter Creek which bubbles pleasantly down the steep
rocky canyon. The camp has been here a long while, and there are several campsites
each with a table and an ancient wood stove branded with USFS. There are also
quaint Forest Service lease cabins nearby. These and other nearby cabins are
reachable only by trail, serviced by Southern California's only remaining pack
station. They have been here so long they too are moss covered and sometimes you
miss one hiding between the boulders and oak trees. They look like they are from a
fairy tale! There is no electricity, but there is an old phone line in the canyon linking
the cabins to the outside world.
We were the only ones to stay the night at Hoegees and we enjoyed a mostly quiet
night save for a couple of owls hooting in the darkness. When you are back by
yourself in these dark lush green canyons so close to the hustle and bustle of LA
below, yet so far away, it is quite magical.
We did have one mishap, though - Sonya went to go empty her leftover chicken broth
down the pit toilet - and she lost grip of her Orikaso bowl! Needless to say the bowl
is gone and isn't coming back :p
In the morning we woke early, had breakfast, packed up, and headed out. My son
loved to wave at people we passed on the trail and also had fun carrying big maple
leaves and waving them like flags :)
So his second backpacking trip was a success! And twice as far as the first - and a
lot harder for mom! But totally worth it!