Sunset Peak

I was happy to get back to the mountains and enjoy a day of peaceful solitude.  It feels like it’s been awhile since I’ve hiked in a place that was free of crowds.  On the trail I seek a calm and positive state of mind where I’m free from worry and anger and negativity.  Moments of true freedom can be found on the trail.  For me, this state of mind is easiest to reach when I hike on uncrowded trails with vast mountain views, like some found in the Angeles Forest.  Sunset Peak sits beneath Mount Baldy and has outstanding views of nearly all the San Gabriel Mountain Range.  It was a bit hazy today.

Driving Directions:
From the 210 Freeway in Claremont, take the Base Line Road exit.  Drive a shirt distance and take a right on Padua Avenue.  Drive 1.8 miles.  Turn right on Mount Baldy Road.  Drive 7.1 miles.  Just as you come to Mount Baldy Village, take a sharp left onto Glendora Ridge Road.   Drive 4.2 miles and park on either side of the road.  The trail, hidden from view while driving, is on the left.

003     005   I walked around the gate and began my hike.  The sign attached to the gate refers to “Electronic Site Users”.  I’m not exactly sure what happens at this electronic site, but it’s located two or three miles beyond Sunset Peak off of the same fire road.

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Almost immediately I spotted those distant peaks in the front range that are most familiar to me: Mount Wilson, San Gabriel Peak, Mount Disappointment, Strawberry Peak and Josephine Peak.

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And then, as happens on rare occasion, the pieces of a puzzle suddenly fell into place.  I recognized Mount Baden-Powell, Mount Burnham, Throop Peak, Mount Hawkins, and the Hawkins Ridge (photo 3) . It’s taken a long time but I’m finally starting to recognize many of these peaks.  Other peaks I’m still guessing at – I think that’s Mount Waterman in the background of photo 2, and I believe Mount Islip (or Twin Peaks?) on the left.  Mount Baldy stands above them all.  The view would get better as I rose up the trail.

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The Sun rises over Sunset Peak.

041     055     052   Photo 2 – This photo shows both Glendora Ridge Road and, above it, streaking across the hillside, is the fire road I was now on.  Photo 3 – There is a crazy looking little trail running down the side of the mountain, unmarked on my map.

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Photo 1 – The crazy little trail runs on down the hill, shown in the foreground.  In the background, I believe the two peaks in the middle are Thunder Mountain and Telegraph Peak.  Photo 2 – I believe the mountain located in the foreground which obscures the bottom of Mount Baldy is Lookout Mountain.  I look forward to getting a better grip on exactly which peaks are which in the near future.

060     064     062   I reached a crest in the trail.  The spur which leads to the top of Sunset Peak runs back sharply to the left.  You won’t miss it.  There’s a steep trail leading up to the top, or a more mellow one that circles around the peak and delivers you to the top in about a half mile.  Mellow was my choice.  Although this is still as wide as a fire road, it’s a bit rougher than the main road.

070   I had a amicable encounter with this rattlesnake.  As I trudged along I saw movement in front of me.  I instinctively backed away.  The snake coiled himself into a ball.  I stood there taking his picture for a couple of minutes and he then slithered into the bushes, never feeling the need to rattle his tail.  Seeing this little guy brought me fully into the moment so I thank him for that.

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105   I reached the top of Sunset Peak and the ruins of a lookout tower.  There’s a lot of rusty, corrugated metal lying on the ground. It was fun to walk on – bouncy.

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Mount Baldy from Sunset Peak

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Close-ups of the barren peak

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From Mount Baldy I panned to the right.  Photo 2 – There’s another huge Mountain to the southeast of Mount Baldy.  That high point, I’m guessing, is Cucamonga Peak.  Photo 3 – The mysterious electronics site.  Photo 4 – The Front Range

122   I sat under my umbrella, ate lunch and gazed upon all that open sky.  This lizard also enjoyed the view.

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Heading back now.

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Funny thing, with the Sun shining fully the best view of Mount Baldy was probably from the spot where I parked my car.  Hope to get back here real soon.

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