Gabrielino Trail: Red Box to West Fork Camp
I thought I was done with the San Gabriel Mountains for awhile, due to the cold weather, but a recent warm spell brought me back this week to bite off another chunk of Gabrielino Trail. I had a fine day but it was really buggy – scores of relentless little flies swarming around me. At least they’re kind of polite, they got very close to my face but rarely landed on it.
I arrived at Red Box Picnic Area just as the Sun began to rise.
These snow-capped mountains were one of the day’s best features.
Beautiful old stone stairs start the trail, but be careful stepping on the big black one near the bottom – it’s slick.
The trail sometimes felt as if it might be swallowed by all the California blackberry brambles. They look just like poison oak but the vines have thorns on them. Learning that has saved me a lot of unnecessary stress.
I had to maneuver over and around a few obstacles – fallen trees and water crossings.
After 2.3 miles I came to a junction. The main trail continues up to the right, but first I headed down about a quarter of a mile to Valley Forge Trail Camp, just to check it out. Nice, deserted but too close to the trailhead for my taste.
Photo 1 – Watch out for poodle dog bush, a plant which can cause rashes similar to poison oak. It grows next to and sometimes over the trail. Photo 2 – A little yucca takes shelter between three rocks. Photo 3 – The trail got a little messy in places. I kept pushing.
Photo 1 – Super Green X
About a third of a mile from West Fork camp the trail runs into this pile of logs with no easy way to get around. I climbed on top and could see the trail across but decided this was a good place to turn around.
Pretty fungus growing on the dead wood.
Just before the last long climb to the top I exited the road and got back on the trail. I was relieved to see these stairs. It seemed to take forever to get back to them. Had a wonderful day!