Leaders: Wilma Curtis, Gary Cohen
At 8AM on a bright, clear, crisp Sunday morning, six hikers eager (or at least willing) to climb these peaks met in Sunland. We drove up to Vogel Flats and started up the shortcut trail at the 4.5 mile marker (from the Angeles National Forest Boundary on the Big Tujunga Road). This trail, about 1-1/4 miles west of the official National Forest trail marker, joins the main trail and saves about 2 miles hiking. However it is not easy to spot from the road.
I led at the beginning of the hike with Don Tidwell just behind me relating all sorts of interesting information including his rigorous conditioning hikes to Condor Peak and cutting brush back from this trail a few days earlier. Gary took the lead just about the time we reached the brushy part of the trail. Three of us began to regret wearing shorts. Unfortunately, Don had clipped only part of the way up the trail.
Just before we reached the summit of Condor Peak, we met the Santa Clarita group (four early risers who had met at 7:30AM) coming down. We exchanged greetings, expressing our happiness to be out here in our exclusive groups.
We had lunch on the summit, enjoying the panoramic view and watching hikers climb the bump just before the summit, take in the view and then hike back down the trail. We saw no other hikers during the day. It was chilly on top but that did not discourage a tick that Bryce found attempting to attach itself to his leg. Unfortunately, Gary has not been hiking much lately and he forgot his tradition of bringing chocolate chip cookies to share.
Gary led us over Fox Mtn. Then we went down the ridge instead of going back to
the saddle. No problem with this except that we went through some thick brush
to reach the trail. The trail back seems very long when you are being scratched
much of the time. When we turned off the main trail to the shortcut trail, it
was evident that someone had been working on the trail that day. Part of the
route had been changed and more brush was on the ground. We arrived back at the
cars just at sundown, around 5:30PM. I like this trail very much and hiking it
is always rewarding. However, it is brushy and I advise wearing long pants and
long sleeves to avoid being covered with scratches as I was. Thank you, Don,
for clipping part of the trail and being so entertaining and
informative. Thanks to the La Cresenta Valley group for working on the trail
(no scratches on their trail). Thank you Gary for leading. Also, thanks, Bryce
Wheeler, Alan Wright, Jacques Brossmore for making it a good hike.