Mount Wilson, Mount Harvard
2 March 1991
By: David Eisenberg
Leaders: David Eisenberg, Luella Fickle, Erich Fickle
15 hikers met at the trailhead of the Mt Wilson Trail at 7:00 am. This is one of the most beautiful of all the HPS routes on the list. The Los Angeles area had just been blessed with a series of rainstorms, the latest on March 1st. There had been some concern that the trip would not go, but we awoke to a clear sunny day.
The trail quickly leaves the residential area below it. During the 1st mile, we had spectacular views of California deck life-styles. We were awed by the work the residents had put in above and below the trail to stave back the eventual covering of their houses by the inevitable mudslide.
We suddenly heard a strange sound ahead. It took several minutes to sift through the dust in our memories: it was the sound of running water! For the next 2 1/2 hours, we were to be treated to the wonderful sound of gushing water. We reached the fork to First Water after about 1 hour of hiking. We decided to continue on the upper trail and visit First Water on the return. 1 hour later, we reached Orchard Camp where we took a longer break. This is the remains of a cabin and camping site. Wilson first used this as a base for his logging operations. Later it was a commercial camping stop.
From Orchard Camp, the trail switches back steeply up the side of the ridge to where it joins the trail from Chantry Flats. Turning left, we ascended to the Mt. Wilson Toll Rd. At the turn off to Harvard, we took the newly (2 years old) reconstructed trail to the parking lot; where we promptly headed for the snack bar to reacquaint ourselves with the great sandwiches. Along the way up, we had shrunk the size of our group to 10. We were too slow for 1, the gain was too much for 3 and Bill Wisda wanted to hike up the road rather than the trail.
We left the snack bar at 12:10 and headed back down the trail. We had no intention of subjecting ourselves to any more road than was necessary and took the trail up the north ridge of Harvard. This trail was a surprise pathfinder for several in the group and is quite scenic. We sat for a brief rest atop the newly poured concrete slab next to the peak before heading back down the trail to the saddle. Bill Wisda rejoined us here. (He had no desire for Harvard.) During the descent, we found a piece of wood perfect for use as a staff. This was welcomed by Luella who had lost her staff on Tehachapi. 1/2 hour after leaving Orchard Camp for the last time, we took the fork down to First Water. This is the most riparian part of the trip, involving 2 stream crossings. By this time, several groups had made the hike this far and we heard the sounds of frolicking youngsters amid glimpses of lovers young and old.
Hikers not mentioned before were Emma Burd, Jennifer Lambelet, Frank (SWM NUDE) Atkin, Carol Smetana, Larry Shumway, and Mitch Helbrecht.
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