I celebrated my four year hiking anniversary by heading back to the San Gabriel Mountains and Mount Islip. It was over a year ago when I first tried to summit Islap and it was the one time I truly chickened out on a trail, quitting just before reaching the peak because I couldn’t handle the steep drop-offs. I psyched myself up this time around by studying fear management techniques. I was going to conquer Islip, stand triumphant at the top and finally redeem myself. But a funny thing happened, I didn’t find the trail nearly as scary this time around. I almost felt cheated. I’ve tackled scarier trails than this since my first go round, such as the recently hiked Strawberry Peak and Chapman Trail, so that helped. I thought to myself several times, “This is it? This is what I was so scared of?” I still had a great day and getting to the explore the top of Mount Islap was a treat. Here’s to four fantastic years of hiking!
These trails are right near Lang Ranch where I hiked a few weeks ago. In fact, due to a missed turn, I wound up repeating nearly all of the territory I covered on that earlier hike. That meant I didn’t get to go everywhere I wanted, but I have another great hike planned in this area that will let me finish what I started.
I was looking to beat the heat which has been bad on the coast. I had heard that Icehouse Canyon, right near Mount Baldy, was cool even on hot days. I wound up getting caught in a freak storm with no rain gear which made for a very memorable day. If you hike here remember that you need both a Wilderness Adventure Pass for your car and a permit to enter the Cucamonga Wilderness area. The latter may be obtained for free at the Mount Baldy Visitor Center, which you will pass on the drive to the trailhead.