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Cucamonga Peak, Angeles National Forest
Andrew, Brigid, David, and Elena took part in this hike.
Elena has provided a summary of our endeavor:
David had already driven his family to LAX and enjoyed a leisurely morning at home before he picked me up at 5:45am on Sunday, June 14th. We were headed to Cucamonga Peak (via Icehouse Canyon), and only a 90-minute drive and a 3-hour, 6-mile uphill climb stood in our way. I hopped in the front seat, and David handed me a Google map and a guidebook -- I felt all the responsibility of the "navigator" in the 1986 classic Flight of the Navigator, only without the time travel or the funny little aliens (trailer). We arrived at Andrew's place around 6, and I ate my first snack before Andrew could dump his backpack (otherwise known as all of his remaining belongings in LA) into the trunk. Almost exactly on schedule, we picked up Brigid by 6:10. With a full car, we eagerly anticipated what promised to be an invigorating day ahead. (I think at this point, a tad parched from the granola bar I had just eaten, I noticed I forgot water...shhh...). I was so engrossed in the maps that the drive flew by, and before I knew it, we were at the base of the mountain.
On the cool, slightly overcast morning, we trudged up the rocky trail. Brigid, a budding avian expert, pointed out several unique bird calls (the jury's still out on exact species). About a mile or two in, we made our first stop. A variety of gummy treats, including multi-colored Swedish Fish, were just what we needed to keep us going. Being less-than-impressed by the "waterfall" in Temescal Canyon, I was pleasantly surprised by the gushing stream bordering the first portion of the trail. After some time, we came to a clearing with a map detailing the remainder of our journey. Here, Andrew noticed that the moss was in fact not growing on the north side of the trees. Nevertheless, we headed onward. About two thirds up the mountain, I really started to regret not bringing water. Thankfully, my companions were generous with their fluids -- but that didn't stop me from worrying that at any moment I might just pass out and plummet to an untimely death. Luckily, that didn't happen. (Only later did David tell me that taking pictures is a good way of resting without seeming physically inept -- next time, I'm bringing water... and a camera.) After probably around 3 hours, we finally reached the peak. I'm pretty sure we would have seen amazing views had it not been cloudy, but I think overlooking a sea of clouds was pretty amazing anyway. We took the same way down as we did up, and soon enough (probably another 2 or 3 hours later) we were back in the car, a lot dustier than we had started out. Andrew was so inspired by the hike, he couldn't spend another minute in the smog-ridden streets of LA. We dropped him off at the train station and haven't seen him since. Visions of pizza and mac 'n' cheese got Brigid, David, and me the rest of the way home. Almost two weeks later, I'm still a little bit sore, but, all in all, it was a really fun hike!