Mount Islip

Pronounced “Eye-slip”.  Mixed feelings about this hike – the trail itself and my own performance.  As I have stated before I am not a fan of heights, in particular narrow trails with steep drop-offs.  That kind of trail, I am finding, seems to be commonplace in the San Gabriel Mountains.  After walking up three miles with the trail mostly skirting the edge of the mountain, I turned around just before the summit.  That was disappointing to be sure as I looked forward to visiting the ruins of an old lookout tower which sits on top and 360 degree views.  As I headed back down I began to try to turn things around – to learn something from the experience.  I thought of several things I could work on, both physically and mentally, to better my situation.  I’m optimistic that I will return here one day and conquer Mount Islip.

1     2   One of my guidebooks said to take the old road across the street from the Islip Saddle parking lot.  I saw the road closed sign and thought this must be the road.  I was mistaken.

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The stone walls that line the road have arches built into them.  It’s a nice look and a good idea as it adds to the visual experience.

8     9   The side of the mountain above the road is quite crumbly.

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Although I walked about a mile down the wrong road, it was worth it to see these bighorn sheep somehow moving across the nearly vertical side of the mountain.  Photo 2 – I wish this shot was more clear.  If you look in the lower left corner you will see one of the Bighorns running down the side of the mountain.  Then look in the upper right side of the picture to see a second Bighorn waiting for his buddy to get out of the way so he can follow in his path.  How can they do this?  These animals are remarkable.

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Blurry picture of a Bighorn sheep looking back in my direction

13   I climbed back up the road and finally found the trail, which is to the left of the road and has a trail sign.

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Photo 1 – As I began to climb I took a shot of the closed road below, the one I had just hiked on.

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17     18     19   The trail gets narrow and is covered with loose dirt and rocks.  The wind began to howl with strong gusts that felt like they were trying to blow me off the edge.

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24   I love these pine trees.  A mile into the three mile route to the top, the trail crosses over a dirt road.  The road runs for a mile or so and parallels the trail from above.  I would take the road on my way back but for now stayed on the trail.

25     26   At the two mile mark I reached Little Jimmy Campground, which is to the right and slightly above the trail.  I spotted some picnic tables from the trail.  There are outhouses here.

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Photo 1 – Interesting tree in Little Jimmy Camp.  You can walk through the trunk if your small enough.  I walked through the campground on the left side and looked for the trail to the top. The sign I came upon read only 1.2 miles to the peak.

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Little Jimmy Campground – Campsite #1

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37       38   Photo 1 – After a mile or so I come to a fork in the trail.  I followed the sign going right and up the hill.  But what the heck is with the sign?  1.2 miles is what it said way down at the campground.

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I turned a corner and the views below really opened up.  The trail also got more narrow and scarier.  Below I spotted two bodies of water.  One must be Crystal Lake.

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Views from near the top

43   With the wind gusting on my right side and the trail getting very narrow, I turned around here.  The peak was right there but I just couldn’t go on.

44     45     46   I’ll be back someday.

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