Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Hike to the Icehouse

**NOTE: I wrote too much! You can scroll down to the slideshow if you don't like to read. But it is a nice story and you should be ashamed if you don't like to read in the first place. Shame!!!**

The bad news was: our planned super-hike to the bridge that led to nowhere was thwarted by the forest fires all over the place. Every trail west of Mt. Baldy was closed. :/ But wait..what about Mt. Baldy itself!? It just so happened that Melissa hiking buddy lived right below that mountain!! So off we went!

**Monica, I am sorry I couldn't inform you of this impromptu hike. I was going to call you but I knocked out after work (and was actually late in waking up to see mel for the hike) due to my non-sleepage. (read blog prior)**

Well, I wasn't sure what to see in this hike. I thought it'd be so-so, but I was quickly proved wrong. First off, despite the increasingly hot south cali weather, and amidst all the greenhouse effect the forest fire plumes were causing, this hike was COOL. Temperature cool! Must've been at least 10 degrees cooler up there. I guess it's expected as we start off at 4900 ft. above sea level. The only burn you get are from your calves, as this hike is all uphill. Immediately we were beset by even cooler breezes and lush greenery as we hiked along side a very lively river. Mel said that in winter, snow is all over this place, making it a popular destination for sledders and snow-ballers. I'm definitely comin' back when there is snow.

After a couple of miles you branch out from the greenery and continue the climb to the Saddle. The view just gets better and better the higher you go. Makes me wish I had a super wide lens to capture everything. This hike though, is one that follows the popular adage "It's the journey, not the destination." After the grueling and forever seeming climb up to this saddle, we were greeted by nothing more than a few fallen logs on a plateau. (We climbed up 2500 ft. for this!??) The winding path revealed more vistas than the saddle. I guess the Saddle was really just a crossing point for many trails around the mountain. Lookin at the signs revealed even higher points on different trails, but we just weren't ready to go hike another bunch of miles. (We both ran out of water too. A dilemma made even more obvious by the Korean church/hiking group beside us enjoying a full meal. No doubt bulgogi. Meanwhile, Mel and I were licking dust off our lips. No kidding. A lizard beside me does the same, mocking our human frailties.)

We started heading down when the Koreans started packing up, not wanting to be behind an updraft of bulgogi farts. Hehe. JK. They were all so pleasant and nice along the way up..always letting us pass and smiling. :]

You'd think the way down would be a lot smoother, as it's downhill. I guess it would be if you weren't carrying 10 lbs of gear, multiplied into 50 lbs by this thing called gravity and inertia as I sprinted down. And all this weight concentrated into my neck already sore spot from all this laptop work and drawing (and blogging?) Man. I feel like my whole upper body is in knots even now as I type. Knot funny at all.

Anyway, Mel zoooomed all the way down, kickin dust so I can choke on it. She was kind enough to wait for me by one of the many pools of water we passed earlier, and we opted to dip our burning feet in despite the signs warning us of new zealand snails. Yes. WTH, new zealand? WTH, Haley? Why you gotta dump your snails on us? Apparently, this is a highly invasive species and can quickly out-eat local life by their stunning rate of reproduction. Woo! Go sexual snails you! And they're asexual so they're enjoyin it all by themselves if they must. Gotta please yourself, I guess.
Being as small as a grain of sand, these snails, we were warned to freeze anything that came in contact with the water to kill them off. Though we ourselves were not planning to be frozen, we dipped in anyway...and got frozen either way! The water was refreshing, yes. Super-cold, very. Feet were numb in less than a minute. The kind of numb that hurts. Twas fun though. I still washed my face (hoping the people upstream didn't pee) So now I might have new zealand snails in my eyeballs. Ladybugs were also everywhere climbing all over us and our socks. I think I accidentally took one home.

Oops, I wrote too much. I told myself "no more blogging!" when I started this blog. Just pictures. But some things are just better with a little story. er..not so little story. I think I'll write a note to skip all this up on top. Anyway, enjoy what I got. Hopefully, those who are here in LA, can come with someday. Despite the sometimes strenuous climb, this hike is definitely one of the more beautiful ones I've done. I doubt my pictures can make you feel the awe of standing among mountains and looking down on ranges and ranges of evergreens that are taller than buildings. Nor can it make you feel the blessing of wind helping you trudge uphill, and definitely not the feeling of the snails moping around your eyeballs, but just take my word for it. It was tight. Ok bye.

-too fast? click on pause, and manually move it, or click on the picture to switch to my google picasa album. Also, certain broswers may chop the slideshow frame. Best click on the picture to go to the picasa album version, and hit Full Frame or Slideshow there, for the full effect. :]


Sid said...

so how are you eyeball snails doing?

kuya box said...

they moved to my hippocampus. (school's back in session) Wait..who is this again? Wha..?