125 Photos - Feb 4, 2014
Photo: THE FAREWELL TOUR
I decided to end 2013 with a hike up my local Garcia Trial. I’ve hike the trail many times over the past 15 years and have always treasured the rich, mature chaparral plant community that covers the mountainsides. I had no idea that two weeks later the Colby Fire would reduce these beautiful environs to scorched earth. This hike turned out to be my farewell tour.

See Posts on Dan’s Hiking Blog:
Garcia Trail to Colby Trail Hike – Dec. 31, 2013
http://danshikingblog.blogspot.com/2013/12/garcia-trail-to-colby-trail-hike.html
Colby Fire - January 16, 2014
http://danshikingblog.blogspot.com/2014/01/colby-fire-january-16-2014.html
 
See Hike Descriptions on Dan’s Hiking Pages:
Garcia Trail - http://www.simpsoncity.com/hiking/garcia.html
Colby Trail - http://www.simpsoncity.com/hiking/colby.htmlPhoto: On December 31, I hiked Garcia Trail to Azusa Peak, continued east along the ridge to Glendora Peak and Summit 2583 and descended via Upper Colby Trail and Colby Trail. This splendid hike was a delightful tour of my beloved mountains practically in my backyard.
 
Two weeks later, at about 6 a.m. on Thursday, January 16, the Colby Fire began near Upper Colby Trail and quickly marched west across the south facing mountainsides above Glendora and Azusa. I am so thankful I had one last chance to experience my mountains before they were incinerated.

This photo album gives tribute to the trails and plant life that were destroyed.Photo: A beautiful Tuesday morning of New Year’s Eve…looking south on McNeal Drive near the trailhead of Garcia Trail in Azusa - lots of trail users park here.Photo: View north from McNeal Drive toward L.A. County Fire Station 92, the trailhead for Garcia Trail and Azusa PeakPhoto: Trail users linger around Garcia Trail trailhead next to the fire stationPhoto: 10:20 AM - Begin hike on Garcia Trail in Azusa. I’m immediately struck by the amount of foot traffic.Photo: I soon find that there are tons of people on Garcia Trail today…hundreds! Its popularity has exponentially increased in recent years.Photo: View southwest over the Rosedale development from near the beginning of Garcia Trail. Much of the trail is on private property owned by Rosedale Land Partners.Photo: View north from Garcia Trail toward the iconic mountain monogram, which is also on private property owned by Rosedale Land Partners.Photo: View west from Garcia Trail toward the Rosedale water supplyPhoto: Trail users on Garcia Trail. I steadily climb enjoying the warm sun.Photo: View southwest from Garcia Trail toward RosedalePhoto: View southeast from Garcia Trail toward GlendoraPhoto: View north on Garcia Trail. Much of the vegetation sports its winter gray.Photo: View southwest on Garcia Trail toward a short-cut climbers’ pathPhoto: Zoomed-in view south from Garcia Trail toward McNeal Drive and new construction in RosedalePhoto: Zoomed-in view north from Garcia Trail toward the wooden cross on Azusa PeakPhoto: Trail users on Garcia TrailPhoto: I estimate that there will be hundreds of trail users on Garcia Trail todayPhoto: More foot traffic on Garcia Trail. Notice the rich, mature vegetation. In 16 days it will all be incinerated.Photo: Wild Cucumber (aka man root) (Marah macrocarpus) in bloom on Garcia Trail. These tiny flowers will not bring forth their spiny fruit as their lives will be cut short by the Colby Fire.

See my blog post:
Plants on Garcia Trail - May 9, 2011
http://danshikingblog.blogspot.com/2011/05/plants-on-garcia-trail-5-9-11.htmlPhoto: View south from the upper reaches of Garcia Trail, looking straight down the boundary between Glendora (left) and Azusa.
 
This shot capture a sense of the rich chaparral blanketing our hillsides. It will soon be gone.Photo: View north from Garcia Trail toward the ridge, which is the upper terminus of the trail. With normal rain, these grayish plants become alive and vibrant.Photo: View west from Garcia Trail toward Azusa’s iconic “A.” Vulcan’s Azusa Rock quarry at the mouth of Fish Canyon can be seen above the ridgeline.Photo: 11:10 - View north from the Glendora Ridge Motorway toward Mt. Islip, Windy Gap, and Hawkins Ridge. Hwy 39 is in the foreground snaking up San Gabriel Canyon.Photo: View east from Glendora Ridge Motorway toward Glendora Peak (2596’)Photo: View east from Glendora Ridge Motorway toward Azusa Peak (2081’).Photo: View east from Glendora Ridge Motorway toward Azusa Peak (2081’).Photo: View north en route to Azusa PeakPhoto: View east, arriving at the summit of Azusa PeakPhoto: 11:10 - View north from the Glendora Ridge Motorway toward Mt. Islip, Windy Gap, and Hawkins Ridge. Hwy 39 is in the foreground snaking up San Gabriel Canyon.Photo: The bench on Azusa PeakPhoto: View east from Azusa Peak toward Glendora Peak (2596’) with Ontario Peak (8693’) in the distance on the rightPhoto: Yours truly on Azusa Peak. Been here so many times. I had no idea this would be my last visit before these wonderful environs would be turned to scorched earth.Photo: The iconic cross on Azusa Peak. I admit that I did some PhotoShopping on the cross to remove the name of a graffiti vandal…I don’t want to showcase him in my tribune to this special place.Photo: Zoomed-in view southwest toward the Target store in Azusa (a few blocks from my house). Marine layer hangs on the horizon.Photo: 11:30 - Leave Azusa Peak and head east down the path and in a few minutes arrive at Glendora Ridge Motorway again. View east toward Glendora Peak.Photo: View west back toward Azusa PeakPhoto: Another view west back toward Azusa Peak from Glendora Ridge MotorwayPhoto: View northwest from Glendora Ridge Motorway toward Mountain Cove in the mouth of San Gabriel Canyon. The tan area behind it was burned by the Madre Fire on September 24, 2013, just 3 months earlier.Photo: Heading east on Glendora Ridge Motorway.Photo: View west back toward Azusa Peak on Glendora Ridge Motorway. This hiker was one of only three persons I directly encountered all the way from Azusa Peak to where Upper Colby Trail meets GMR. I saw three others at a distance. I enjoyed the solitude and am thankful that most peeps don’t venture east beyond Azusa Peak.Photo: Veer right from Glendora Ridge Motorway unto this path to hike the west ridge to Glendora PeakPhoto: View south down Barranca AvenuePhoto: View back west toward Azusa Peak. Normally this time of year the green grass on these slopes would be abundant from winter rain. Not so this year.Photo: View east toward Glendora Peak as I climb its west ridge. I like this route better than the fire road.Photo: The route gets steep as it makes its final pitch from the west to Glendora Peak.Photo: View west from near the summit of Glendora Peak with Monrovia Peak (5409’) standing high on the skylinePhoto: 12:10 - Glendora Peak (2596’). View east, crowned by Mt. Baldy (10,064). Typically those lofty summits are covered with snow this time of year, but not this year.Photo: L.A. County Survey marker on Glendora Peak (2596’). The date reads 1937.Photo: View west from Glendora Peak (2596’) with the L.A. County Survey marker in the foregroundPhoto: View south from Glendora Peak (2596’) with Barranca Avenue on the right and Grand Avenue on the leftPhoto: Yours truly on Glendora Peak with Iron Mt (8007’) just to the right of my brim. I leave the summit at 12:35.Photo: Zoomed-in view north from the east ridge of Glendora Peak toward the Crystal Lake Basin, flanked by Islip Ridge and Mt. Islip (8250’) on the left, Windy Gap (7588’) in the middle, and Hawkins Ridge on the right with Middle Hawkins (8505’), Sadie Hawkins (8047’), and South Mount Hawkins (7783’). The scars of the 2002 Curve Fire, which consumed 20,857 acres, are seen as light colored slopes. People are flippant about wildfires by saying, “It will grow back.” But the reality is, an old growth conifer forest can take 100 to 150 years before it begins to look like a forest again.
 
Read about my Hawkins Ridge hike of Sept 2012.
http://danshikingblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/hawkins-ridge-hike-september-2-3-2012.htmlPhoto: Sticky monkey flower (Mimulus aurantiacus)…one of the very few occurrences of blooming flowers todayPhoto: Back on Glendora Ridge Motorway looking west back toward Glendora PeakPhoto: The red berries of toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), (aka Christmas berry) adds a splash of color to the winter vegetationPhoto: Looking back west toward Glendora PeakPhoto: My first good view looking southeast toward the environs of Colby Trail. Seen right of center is the debris basin dam at the lower end of Harrow Canyon.Photo: Zoomed-in view toward the environs of Colby Trail. The brodiaea reserve is seen just to the right of center as a meadow-like area with a single tree in the middle.Photo: View west toward Summit 2843 (left) and Silver Mt. (3385’). Hwy 39 is in the foreground.

See my Summit 2843 hike description:
http://www.simpsoncity.com/hiking/2843.htmlPhoto: Cliff aster (Malacothrix saxatilis)…one of the very few occurrences of blooming flowers todayPhoto: Fire hydrant TW8. The collection slab is up the ridge on the left out of view.Photo: Zoomed-in view northeast toward Glendora Mt. (3322’) with Rattlesnake Peak (5826’) (left) and Iron Mt. (8007’)

See my Glendora Mountain hike description:
http://www.simpsoncity.com/hiking/glendora.htmlPhoto: Zoomed-in view northwest toward Pine Mt. (4539’) and Twin Peaks (7596’/7761’)Photo: Currant…one of the very few occurrences of blooming flowers todayPhoto: Coulter pine (Pinus coulteri)Photo: View back west on Glendora Ridge MotorwayPhoto: View west toward mature chaparral…it will all be reduced to ash in two weeks.Photo: View northeast from highpoint 2400+ toward Summit 2583, the highpoint of Upper Colby Trail. To its right is Summit 3397, where I would hike a mouth later to view damage from the Colby Fire.

See my blog post for my hike from Mystic Canyon to Summit 3397:
http://danshikingblog.blogspot.com/2014/01/mystic-canyon-and-lower-monroe-hike.htmlPhoto: Aerial litter (humanos stupidi)Photo: View westPhoto: Vestige of the 2002 Williams Fire, which consumed 37,240 acresPhoto: Horse track on Glendora Ridge MotorwayPhoto: Heading east on the north flank of Summit 2583Photo: View northeast at the junction to Summit 2583 and Upper Colby TrailPhoto: View south toward the route to the top of Summit 2583Photo: View south en route to the top of Summit 2583Photo: View northeast toward Glendora Mountain and Glendora Mountain Road from the north ridge of Summit 2583Photo: 2:01 - Summit 2583. A concrete foundation is all that is left of what the topo map shows as a radio facility

View topo map:
http://www.simpsoncity.com/hiking/images/ColbyTopo-1208.jpgPhoto: View east from Summit 2583 into Little Dalton Canyon and Summit 3397 (left) and Johnston Peak (3178’) (far right)

View my hike description for Summit 3397:
http://www.simpsoncity.com/hiking/mystic.htmlPhoto: View northwest from Summit 2583Photo: Zoomed-in view northwest toward Pine Mt. (4539’)Photo: View north from Summit 2583. The concrete foundation is the remains of an old radio facilityPhoto: 2:06 - Leave Summit 2583 and begin my descent south on Upper Colby Trail. The grade is gentle for the first couple minutes.Photo: Mountain bikers put a lot of work into building these earthen ramps in several place along Upper Colby Trail.Photo: View north back toward Summit 2583 from Upper Colby TrailPhoto: View south down the crazy steep section of Upper Colby Trail. Crabbing on all five helps negotiate the most perilous sections. Loraine Avenue is seen at the middle top of the imagePhoto: View south from the crazy steep section of Upper Colby Trail. Glendora Mountain Road is seen on the left in Little Dalton Canyon.Photo: Large paw print…mountain lion?Photo: View north back toward Summit 2583 from Upper Colby Trail. The crazy steep section is at the top.Photo: View north back toward Summit 2583 from Upper Colby Trail. The crazy steep section is at the top.Photo: Lemonade berry (Rhus integrifolia) beginning its bloom on Upper Colby TrailPhoto: Foothill yucca (yucca whipplei), aka chaparral yucca, Spanish bayonet, our Lord’s candle. After 8 to 12 years, it sends up this flower stalk then dies.Photo: Heading south on Upper Colby TrailPhoto: View southwest into Englewild Canyon from lower section of Upper Colby TrailPhoto: Zoomed-in view south on the lower end of Upper Colby Trail toward Loraine Avenue in Glendora with South Hills in the background. Notice the rich plant life of the chaparral…it will all be incinerated in a couple weeks.Photo: View north from the lower end of Upper Colby Trail toward Summit 2583Photo: View south on the lower end of Upper Colby Trail above GlendoraPhoto: Zoomed-in view toward the children’s forest section of natural space stewarded by the Glendora Community Conservancy. It was spared from the Colby Fire which would come in two weeks.Photo: View south on the lower end of Upper Colby Trail above GlendoraPhoto: 3:10 - On Upper Colby Trail arriving at Glendora Mountain Road. The trial will continue to the right.Photo: Beginning the section of Upper Colby Trail that connects two hairpin curves on Glendora Mountain Road. This section is quite steep with loose footing, dropping about 140 vertical feet in just 0.07 mile.Photo: View south approaching the end of Upper Colby Trail at a hairpin curve on Glendora Mountain Road. The upper terminus of Colby Trail is about 75 yards around the bend.Photo: View north from a hairpin curve on Glendora Mountain Road toward the final portion of Upper Colby TrailPhoto: View south from the hairpin curve toward the upper terminus of Colby TrailPhoto: Trail users arriving from Colby Trail and continuing onPhoto: 3:30 - Begin my decent on Colby Trail. I’m now back on familiar ground. I always appreciate the good folks of Glendora Community Conservancy for their efforts in maintaining this splendid trail and preserving natural space.

View my hike description for Colby Trail:
http://www.simpsoncity.com/hiking/colby.htmlPhoto: Junction of Colby-Dalton Trail (left) and Colby TrailPhoto: Descending on Colby TrailPhoto: Looking back north on Colby TrailPhoto: View west from Colby Trail toward where I traversed along the ridge from Garcia Trail. All this beautiful chaparral will be incinerated in two weeks.Photo: Entering the riparian section of Colby TrailPhoto: The late afternoon sun shines through the branches of a coast live oak on Colby Trail.Photo: Nearing the brodiaea reserve junction on Colby Trail. My pace is relaxed.Photo: Stately coast live oaks grace scenery on Colby Trail.Photo: Descending Colby Trail. I love the warm light of the “golden hour.”Photo: A father and son out for a walk on Colby Trail. For some reason, this fine trail has not been discovered by the throngs who swarm Garcia Trail.Photo: The woodsy sanctuary along the lower end of Colby TrailPhoto: I love the majestic oaks along this section of Colby Trail.Photo: Sycamore leavesPhoto: The golden leaves of western sycamore (Platanus racemosa) speak of changing seasons.Photo: Nearing the end of my hike on Colby TrailPhoto: 4:02 - Finish hike at the Colby Trail trailhead at the top of Loraine Avenue in Glendora. It’s 68 degrees.Photo: A happy sunflower bids me good-bye.
 
What a splendid outing in my local hills to end 2013! I covered 6.22 miles with great weather, rugged scenery, familiar trails and a new route, crowds and solitude, and good exercise. I am indeed thankful that I had the opportunity to take a farewell tour through these wonderful environs. Little did I know that 16 days later a ferocious wildfire would roar through nearly 2,000 acres above Glendora and Azusa turning rich chaparral into charged moonscape. It will take years for it to grow back.

See Posts on Dan’s Hiking Blog:
Garcia Trail to Colby Trail Hike – Dec. 31, 2013
http://danshikingblog.blogspot.com/2013/12/garcia-trail-to-colby-trail-hike.html
Colby Fire - January 16, 2014
http://danshikingblog.blogspot.com/2014/01/colby-fire-january-16-2014.html

See Hike Descriptions on Dan’s Hiking Pages:
Garcia Trail - http://www.simpsoncity.com/hiking/garcia.html
Colby Trail - http://www.simpsoncity.com/hiking/colby.html