Iron Mountain #1
By: Trudie Hunt
Hundred Peakers have dreaded and postponed climbing THE IRON MOUNTAIN! Tales of a two day backpack with swift rivers to cross, dense brush, heat, and lack of all water, or death marches led over a ridge from Mount Baldy have made many feel that this peak was not for them. But leaders Peggy and Harry McLean, who had done it the "hard way", were convinced that an easier route from the southeast could be found if we could just obtain permission to drive through a locked gate 13 miles to the Weber (now Walker) cabin.
So armed with a key from the Forest Service, obtained after many letters and visits, they led us down toward Cow Canyon from the summit near the approach to Sunset Peak on the Glendora Mountain Road one mile from Baldy Village. To this observer, we entered one of the wildest, most beautiful and unspoiled areas in the whole San Gabriels, for the canyon was a paradise of shady alder sycamore, poison oak, ancient trees lining a swift flowing stream which we were forced to ford many times in our cars.
After camping at an abandoned, but still lovely, public campground, we arose in the dark at 4:30 for a start in the cool of the sunless sky. On the trail by 5:30 all 27 of us were eating lunch at 10 o'clock on the sunny summit 4,000' above our cars, from which we could view the fog blanket over the vast city area and could easily identify 30 of the 58 Hundred Peaks in the San Gabriel Range in a wide arc stretching from Monrovia and Wilson to our west and Baldy and Cucamonga to our east.
By 2:30 all were back at the cars agreeing that we had visited one of the wildest, loveliest and most inaccessible and therefore less spoiled parts of the San Gabriel Mountains, our own backyard. One rattlesnake, one deer, one fawn, and countless spectacular yucca (including red-topped ones), ceanothus in all imaginable shades of white to purple, monkey flowers, phacelia, phlox, vegetation lush beyond one's expectations in a dry year, all added to the diversity and enjoyment of a fine trip.
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