My friend Victor and I got out to Millard Canyon today, with the hope of hitting at least Tom Sloane Saddle or ultimately Switzer Falls via Bear Canyon. We began our hike up the short .8 mile trail to the Mt Lowe Fire Road. From there, we went up, up, and up! The road is quite steep up to about 3 miles or so up, basically to Cape of Good Hope. We maintained a 3mph pace or so, up to the Cape, and took a momentary break to catch our breaths. As we continued up the fire road, the marine layer dropped below us and we had a splendid view of the cloud tops. Also of note was that we both noticed brand new placards placed in the burned Mt Lowe Railroad display boxes. Thanks to the volunteers that maintain these boxes, they are appreciated!
We continued on, ultimately reaching and resting at Mt Lowe Campground for a short duration. Around this area, the black flies became ruthless! I guess it’s June in the San Gabes 😦 I took down some Hammer Gels and appreciated the time we were making.
And onward, we went… on the fire road. We went towards Inspiration Point and then the road turned left and headed straight west. We came across a good amount of new bear tracks – its good to see the wildlife thriving in this very burned area! Finally, after about 8 miles or so, we hit what I like to call “pre-Tom Sloane Saddle.” Basically its a helipad that features a trail that leads to Tom Sloane Saddle. This is not TSS though – that is another mile down. We followed that foot trail down towards Tom Sloane, but the trail was really rough and overgrown. Victor and I agreed that its been awhile since anyone has gone down this trail. It cleared up after the first tenth of a mile or so and we were able to get to within about half a mile of the saddle before the trail became extremely overgrown and heavily eroded. This, in conjunction with a previously scheduled engagement for Victor, led us to call it a day. We took some pics of the beautiful Bear Canyon area and began the long walk home. This is still a hike I’d love to do, but next time I’m bringing my garden clippers and rake!
Distance: 18 miles
Elevation gain: 4,251′
Temperature: 70′s and sunny
Terrain: paved and dirt road from millard all the way up to the tom sloane saddle pre-saddle. from there, the trail is pretty beat up.
Calories burned: 4,052
Water consumed: 3L + .5L of electrolytes
Calories consumed: 1300
Food consumed: 10 Hammer Gels
Electrolytes consumed: 16 oz. of Melon HEED, Crystal Lite, and Perpetuem
Backpack: rei flash 30
Shoes: salomon quest 4d’s
trekking poles: black diamond contour ellipticals