Leaders: Jim Schoedler, Greg Pihos
Made restless by a week of late winter storms and steered in our direction by the absence of other outings in the San Gabriels that weekend, a group of 27 arrived at La Cañada early Sunday morning eager to get out and hike Mt Emma and Old Mt Emma. About a dozen participants called the day before, asking such questions as "Will there be any snow?" (the snow level was down below on Thursday morning. I said I thought it would have melted but couldn't promise it.), and "if the gain is 2000' in 2-1/4 miles, is this really an easy hike?" (a good question - the peak guide says so but no doubt that adjective applies only with HPS initiates).
The group reassembled at the trailhead for Mt Emma, signed in, and started up the ridge by 9:15 AM. Our plan for scheduling this hike was to catch some early spring weather - not too warm but plenty of sunshine - and our guess proved accurate. A breeze blew all morning as we worked our way up the firebreak to Mt Emma, the first peak of the day, and then along the ridge to Old Mt Emma. A good twenty minutes separated the sizeable lead group from a somewhat smaller slow group by the time we reached the second peak. But no matter, everyone was kept in sight in this fairly open, desert terrain. Several folks commented on the nice Pinyon-Juniper groves in the saddles between the two peaks and at one point stopped to observe a young horned toad who remained motionless, trying to escape our attention.
A group of four had signed out at Mt Emma, and one more waited at an unnamed high point along Mt Emma ridge, but everyone else reached Old Mt Emma where we found the only register of the day. We retraced our route back to the cars by about 12:30 PM. Next time I will write up the combined peaks as a moderate hike in consideration of newcomers who shouldn't be discouraged because they don't think climbing firebreaks is easy. We had advertised a possible third peak for the afternoon and surprisingly had seven takers for the hike up Cole Point which, as we had seen from Mt Emma, had some snow near the summit. This was a little warmer hike which went quickly nevertheless. On my personal list Cole Point is number 98, which puts me within easy reach of the 100 Peaks emblem. I hope to obtain it on Reyes Pk, to be led by Greg and I, together with Haddock, later this spring. Thanks to Greg for co-leading and to those who participated in this splendid day in the mountains.