Mount Wilson Hike
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We started from the Eaton Canyon Natural Area County Park parking lot at 960 feet above sea level, and walked 10.1 miles to the top of Mount Wilson at 5,710 feet above sea level (a increase in elevation of 4,750 feet). We followed the Mount Wilson Toll Road for the bulk of our trip, and only stopped a couple of times for snack bars and drinks, though I dallied a bit more taking pictures along the way.

Below are a few of Andrey's log entries from our trip:

9:22 AM -- departing from Eaton Canyon parking lot
9:47 AM -- we are at the top of Horse Trail
10:35 AM -- arrive at Henninger Flats
10:45 AM -- leaving Henninger
12:45 PM -- we are at the "alien launch pad" (that looked like water collection structure)
12:55 PM -- we are at the bottom of "Mt. Probe" (which turned out to be Mt. Harvard)
13:05 PM -- arriving at Sierra Madre fork (the narrow path that goes down to Sierra Madre)
13:47 PM -- arriving at the final destination -- Mt. Wilson parking lot

And now for the photos...

I want to give you a visual idea of how high up we climbed. So I'll start you off with this picture from a point about 15 minutes into our hike. We've just climbed above the opposite wall of Eaton Canyon so you can look out above the horizon and see Los Angeles sticking up in the distance.
Whew...we're really just getting started still, yet you can see how high we've come in just a little while. This is a point maybe a half hour up.
Well, you can see we're getting higher still. This is taken just above Henninger Flats (about 3.7 miles into the 10.1 total miles). You can see the remnants of the (largely unused now) agricultural test beds near the ranger station.
We rounded a bend, and this was the first full view of our target...the evil spires of Mount Doom, errr...I mean Mount Wilson.
Gorgeous, isn't it? Once above Henninger Flats the climb was much more pleasant. Both the view was nicer as were the immediate surroundings. Many trees and shady spots, I liked this part of the hike the best.
Andrey pointed out this odd growth on this pine tree. The bundle you're looking at is perhaps six feet across. What do you think it is? I've never seen anything like it before.
At the higher elevations there are pine trees that grow some LARGE pinecones. Andrey gingerly picks up one sap-soaked specimen and gives it a heft.
Getting higher still...

Can you see the ocean? In one of the photos at the end you'll see that it becomes even clearer, though the haze picked up a bit more in the afternoon hours.

This fuzzy-butted fellow was lingering on a rock as Andrey and I took a short breather. If you look carefully you can see the little hairs covering his backside. He was about one-eighth inch long.
See how the woodpeckers have been working this old tree over?
Our target looms nearer. The sky was spectacular.
We rounded a corner and found an alien launch pad. It seems the government has been keeping this secret for years, but explorers like us couldn't be deterred from the arduous climb it took to reach this remote and highly classified site... was either an alien launch pad or a cistern with a dished collection plate on top with holes to allow the collected water to get inside. I think it was made to look like that so we wouldn't suspect it's real purpose (come on Fox and Scully, where are you when we need you?).
Remember the picture we started with? You can tell that we've come a long way. Look at Los Angeles still visible in the distance on the right.
This is the Mount Probe that Andrey and I found. We're convinced that the aliens take their captives here and probe them with these uncomfortable looking articles. Ouch!
If you thought you could drive the Mount Wilson Toll Road you would have been real disappointed at this point. Here, we've come about 8 miles into our 10.1 mile hike, and you can see the road is completely blocked by these enormous boulders.
Incredibly luminous, the sky and horizon is taking on the appearance of heaven.
Andrey tries to wiggle out the sign post to take for a souvenir, but they buried it too deeply.
Ahhh, our goal is ever closer. This picture was taken just as we merged into the final road that also goes from Mount Wilson to Mount Probe (really Mount Harvard). For some more spectacular antenna shots taken from an auto trip to the top several months earlier <click here>.
Our final few feet come into view. At this point we had been walking a constant uphill for 10 miles over 4 hours 30 minutes. Phew... sure could use something refreshing...
...whaaa, what's this?! Snow? You bet, there was snow at the top as Andrey and I came to the forest facility up at the peak. You can see Andrey's in a T-shirt, but the weather was nice enough to permit it. At first I thought they had trucked this in for kids to play in from some point elsewhere, but later as Elena was driving us home (she picked us up at the top), we could see that the northern slopes at this elevation all had snow. Some quite a bit.
Here's the final view we enjoyed. You can see the southern California sun playing off of the ocean in the distance. We could even see Catalina. What a day!

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