So on Sunday, Scott decided to dust off our copy of Take A Hike Los Angeles and pick out a local hike for us to take. We woke up on the late side so our hike didn’t start until about 12:30. But we were prepared. Slathered in sunscreen, with two large Nalgene’s full of water, we drove the 15 minutes to the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains (just a 10-15 minute drive to Altadena) and began the trek. The Sam Merrill trail (I’ve checked and as far as I can tell, there is no relation to the shoe brand) starts in Rubio Canyon and then ascends 1400 feet to the top of Echo Mountain. Due to a few hiccups along the way, the hike took a bit longer than usual, but was fun nonetheless…actually more like funn…y.
Hiccup number one – dehydration. make sure you are hydrated – and bring more water than you thought you’d need. It gets hot in these here mountains!
Hiccup number two – too old hiking boots. About half way up the mountain, the front part of Scott’s hiking boot sole decided to give way. We’re handy though and we took a string from our little backpack, cut it and tied the sole on.
That lasted for about a hundred meters when the back half detached and the entire sole came off. Lucky for Scott, his hiking boots have a steel plate on the bottom (we think) that served as a good-enough sole for the remainder of the ascent and descent.
Then of course, about 3/4 of the way up the second boot sole came off altogether. At least he was on even footing now, so to speak.
Despite the hiccups, the view at the top (of the entire LA basin – from Pasadena all the way to Palos Verdes) was incredible and worth the trek. Also at the top of Echo Mountain are the ruins of the White City which was a resort hotel atop the mountain, reachable by a cable car up until the 1930’s (the ruins of which can also be seen). The grounds consisted of hotel, casino, dance hall, tennis courts, pig pen, observatory, post office and power plant. Unfortunately it was destroyed by fires and floods and never rebuilt.
And of course, walking back down the mountain behind Scott in his “hiking mocassins” was also worth it.