Presidents Day Hike Part I: Vetter Mountain

Happy National Margarita Day! How are you celebrating? I celebrated by getting my exercise on.. because sometimes you have to detox to re-tox.

I thought today I would share part I of my Presidents Day Weekend. Since I am working right now, there is nothing sweeter than a union holiday and I can appreciate it. To celebrate my weekday freedom, me and my friends Lindsey and Michelle packed some Subway sandwiches and ventured up the Angeles Crest Highway, high into the San Gabriel Mountains.

The drive up there was gorgeous and as you can imagine, we stopped many times to take pictures.

The weather went we left LA was a bit cloudy, but the higher we got the clearer it got.

Higher and higher we go!

As most of you know, I have my goal of doing all the Secret Stair walks this year, but one of my other books that I’ve been using since January of 2011 is my hike book, “101 Hikes in Southern California” by Jerry Schad. Sometimes I need a bigger all-day challenge and this book is great for that. Well back to my Monday adventure.

We decided to start by tackling hike #24 in the book: Vetter Mountain. To park, this hike requires the Adventure Pass (which thankfully I own, and it has paid for itself at this point.. get yours HERE).

This is where the hike begins in the winter, in the Charlton Flats Picnic Area. In the summer, you can drive deeper (beyond this fence above) and the hike would start in the woods.

It’s only a 3.3 mile loop taking you to a fire lookout. Unfortunately, the lookout tower was destroyed in the 2009 Station Fire. We knew this going into the hike, but what we didn’t know was that the hike has since been labeled unsafe and it’s considered trespassing to be on the trail. It was just after I took the above photo when another couple, carrying my same hike book, came up to us and told us about the trail closure. We were all equally disappointed, as it took over an hour to drive up there. Thankfully the fire-road was walkable, so we got to see some of the area and some exercise.

Even the fire road was beautiful and made for a lovely walk.

Here is the official closure sign (one of several). Sad face.

I included the above photo, taken by Michelle, becuase I love the action shot of me with the hike book. Also, there was snow! Vetter Mountain is between 5230′ up to 5908′ (where the old tower was located). There wasn’t a ton of snow at 5000′, but enough for Lindsey and I to throw a few snowballs.

Most of this hike/walk on the fire road is surrounded by burnt wood. It’s quite sad to see, especially since the fire was back in 2009 and it all looks like the fire could have happened yesterday. The biggest sign of progress is the clean-up effort as several areas had these large mounds of logs. The positive part of seeing these dead looking logs was seeing birds and squirrels nesting in them. Oh, nature :)

When we made our way back to the picnic tables, we sat and ate our sandwiches will looking at this view. Is there any better way to spend a Monday?

Next up: Presidents Day Hike Part II: Cooper Canyon Falls

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