San Gabriel Mountains Day Trip
Blue Ridge truck trail
By Marian Johns
The Desert Explorer meeting at our house on July 12 was a short one since we wanted to be on our way to the Lupine Campground high in the cool San Gabriel Mountains where we planned to have lunch. Joining us on this splendid day were Jean and Sunny Hansen, Bob and Nancy Dodd, Marilyn Martin, Jay Lawrence, Leonard Friedman and daughter, Hannah, Tommy Perasso, Glenda Roach, Jared Fields and Catherine Mayfield.
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It's only 25 mile from our house to the campground, but it took nearly two hours to get there. We wasted some time trying, but failing, to buy $5.00 Adventure Passes for our vehicles at two Ranger Stations they seemed to be totally unorganized couldn't sell them for reason too complicated to explain. We finally decided to chance it without the passes. (We later learned that the ticket for not having a pass is $5.00, so we needn't have bothered wasting all that time.)
Our route took us up Lone Pine Canyon Road to Hwy. 2, through Wrightwood and the Big Pines junction and on to the Blue Ridge Truck Trail. This is a dirt road with spectacular views; unfortunately it was very hazy that day. Despite the haze, we could clearly see Mt. Baldy and its rugged north face very impressive!
After following the ridge for several miles, the road split and we took the right-hand fork which dropped down, down, down into the San Gabriel River's Prairie Fork basin. The road was so steep we needed low-range to save the brakes. Years ago it was possible to drive several miles farther - all the way to the stream, but now the road ends at the campground. Even so, we enjoyed eating lunch in the shade of the tall fir trees and chatting with our friends.
Heading back, we made a side trip all the way to the end of the Blue Ridge road where we oohed and aahed at the desert views. Back on Highway 2, we all headed home in various directions.
All and all, it was a fun day, with good company.