100Hikes: #2 – Colby Canyon Trail

Hike #2 was a spur-of-the moment hike. I heard it was going to be 100 degrees on the day of my second hike, so instead of hiking in the afternoon/evening, I woke up at a time most sane humans are sleeping and begun the hike at 6am. I decided to go with a trail I’ve never been on before, and what better place than one named Colby Canyon? Colby Canyon Trail is located in the Angeles National Forest up the Angeles Crest Highway. It took me about 30 minutes to get there from Arcadia. Trail guidebooks list this hike as “strenuous” and I’d have to agree. Most of the first 2.2 miles is a gradual incline with some steep spots, but the final 1/2 mile is a torturous row of switchbacks taking you up 700 feet in elevation.
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I set my sights on the top of the ridge – known as Josephine Saddle – and I’m happy to report I made it! The view from a false peak on the ridge was worth every drop of sweat.

Facing north, I could see deep into the Angeles National Forest. Santa Barbara is dealing with some serious wildfires and the smoke has filled the Los Angeles basin. Nonetheless, facing west I could see the San Fernando Valley, downtown Los Angeles, Century City and Santa Monica. I could even see Catalina Island, seemingly floating on a sea of brown smoke. Not the most beautiful of views, but still quite impressive. I sat up at top for about 20 minutes around 8am, thinking of the millions of Angelinos who were either at work sitting at their cubicle or on their way, stuck in traffic. It made the moment even sweeter.

I made my way down and went home to get ready to join those millions of people, but the thought of the view kept me smiling even when I was sitting at my own cubicle.

What I learned on the hike:

  1. Learn how to control my breathing, especially when hiking through a swarm of bugs.
  2. Pack a snack or energy bar next time, especially if hiking before a meal.
  3. Sunscreen and DEET might have been nice on this trek, but I was lucky to have been in the shade about 90% of the hike.
  4. I learned in my running days about “the wall”. The moment when all of your energy seems to go away and you just want to stop. Hiking has a “wall” too, it seems. I found one or two of them on this hike, but kept on trekkin’ and got through it.
  5. There’s nothing as sweet and refreshing than a nice cold mouthful of water during a hot, sweaty hike. Nothing at all.

Hike #2 Trip Stats:

  • Date of hike: May 7th, 2009
  • Location: Colby Canyon Trail – Angeles National Forest, California
  • Duration: 3 hours, 48 minutes
  • Length: 4.51 miles
  • Average speed: 1.2 mph
  • Altitude at start: 3,475 feet
  • Altitude max: 5,023 feet

This map was made with the data my GPS captured on the hike. For a more detailed trip report map, check this out.



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