Friday Photo – August 25, 2017

Sun is shinin’ in the sky, there ain’t a cloud in sight, it’s stopped raining, everybody’s in a play, and don’t you know it’s a beautiful new day.

~Electric Light Orchestra – Mr. Blue Sky

Today’s Friday Photo features a morning wilderness landscape at Icehouse Saddle, near Mount Baldy, California. This has recently become one of my very favorite weekend hikes. The views of the sky from the valley can almost always be obscured by haze and smog. Venture up to about 7,000 feet and the skies are so clear, blue, and pristine that you can even see the moon during the day sometimes, as depicted in this photo.

This 7-mile out and back hike is not your typical “stroll in the park”. It gains about 2,600 feet of elevation inside of 3.5 miles, and you’re also in a higher altitude. Still, it’s a beautiful hike that handsomely rewards you for your efforts. It initially takes you through historic Icehouse Canyon, and along Icehouse Canyon Creek. The creek seems to flow endlessly throughout the year, and you have an abundant canopy of trees overhead to make for a shady summer hike. At 1.5 miles, the shade begins to thin out a bit as you enter the Cucuamonga Wilderness. This section of the trail winds around a bit, and gets rocky as you make your way through a dry creek bed. The last segment to Icehouse Saddle ascends through Delker Canyon via several long, steep switchbacks. As you ascend, the views of the surrounding wilderness and mountains begin to unfold around you.

Icehouse Saddle is the gateway to all the classic hikes in this area of the San Gabriel Mountains. From here you can visit the Three T’s (Timber Mountain, Telegraph Peak, and Thunder Mountain), Cucamonga Peak, Ontario Peak, and Bighorn Peak. Also note that you need to fill out a wilderness permit at the Icehouse Canyon trailhead. It takes less than five minutes to complete, and the permit is required for entering the Cucamonga Wilderness. Also, a USFS pass needs to be present in your vehicle when you park. With some proper planning and preparation, this can be an adventure you won’t soon forget.

~ Photo Taken August 13, 2017, 10:01 am


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