My friend Victor and I got out today on a couple of casual but really pleasant hikes. The first one went from Islip Saddle to the summit of Mt Williamson via the Pleasant View Ridge Trail. The trail originates behind the restroom at Islip Saddle and climbs gently but steadily through sub-alpine territory. Within no time, I was overlooking sudden death down the steep ridge to my right. At the same time, the trail is perfectly comfortable and that made the steep dropoff much less intimidating to me and my vertigo.
After a mile or so, the trail comes to a split where the PCT goes left. However, our plan was to summit Mt Williamson and we followed the trail straight (or slightly right). From here, the trail gets a bit steeper and less maintained. We wound our way through manzanita and chaparral, until finally coming upon our goal: the windswept summmit of Mt Williamson. This summit lacks a register and USGS stamp, but features beautiful 360 views of the surrounding San Gabes, the Devil’s Punchbowl area, and the rest of the Pleasant View Ridge Trail. Someone had actually tried to spell something out on the summit (someone “hearts” someone?) but we couldn’t read it exactly. At this point, I started to feel sick. Bummer. So instead of continuing on down the Pleasant View Ridge Trail, we headed back to the car and made it an easy hike. I definitely recommend this to someone looking for a relatively short hike with some great views. If you are a person who is skittish with ridge trails that have adjacent steep dropoffs, you may want to steer clear of this one, however.
Distance: 4.5 miles
Elevation gain: 1587′
Temperature: 60′s and sunny
Terrain: well maintained trail up to the pct split, then fairly obvious cross country class 1/2 up to summit.
Calories burned: 1398
Water consumed: 1L
Calories consumed: 700
Food consumed: 16 oz of Hammer HEED/Perpetuem/Crystal Lite mix, 1 PayDay bar, 3 Hammer Gels
Backpack: rei flash 30
Shoes: salomon quest 4d’s
trekking poles: black diamond contour ellipticals