For our family the San Gabriel Mountains have been our playground for many decades. Guffy Campground at 8300 feet is the highest in the Angeles National Forest. It is located at the high end of Blue Ridge and has been one of our favorites for many years. It is reached by a one lane unimproved road which traverses the crest of Blue Ridge often at the edge of impressive slopes that drop off to the headwaters of San Gabriel River far below.
The views here are spectacular since much of the way you are looking directly down on the river and a canyon that is flanked by Mt. Baden Powell on one side and Mt. Baldy on the other, two of the ranges' highest peaks.
Recently my sons and I were back, once again, at Guffy Camp just to hang out, enjoy the cool air, enjoy a picnic lunch and admire the surrounding mountains, many of which we have climbed at some time in the past. Most of the time we have the Camp to ourselves but it has achieved more popularity recently thanks to giving access to the Pacific Crest Trail. The Trail, starting at the Mexican border and continuing to the Washington-Canadian border, extends along Blue Ridge and is only a few steps from Guffy Camp.
Son Brian always carries Topo maps of the San Gabriels with him on junkets and this day he was busy showing other hikers where the Pacific Crest Trail takes them and other trails as well.
This Writer lounged in a camp chair and admired and thought about past climbs on peaks laid out before me. Baden Powell, always impressive, Pine Mountain directly opposite from where we sat, and Mt. Hawkins with its delightful Little Jimmy backpackers camp. Also peaks that alluded us, more isolated Iron Mountain and Twin peaks with its rocky crest.
The road does continue a short distance past Guffy, at one place just steps from a huge slide that hangs about Wrightwood far below. The view here takes in the Antelope Valley, distant mountains and desert beyond.
Then to another trailhead, this to the Sheep Wilderness and the challenging trail to the top of Pine Mountain. We had to smile remembering our first climb to Pine Mountain, the boys were quite young and their mother most watchful as we negotiated the trail which goes ever upward on a narrow ridge which falls away sharply on both sides.
The road to Guffy passes Mountain High ski area and gives one a view of some of the runs from the top, all most familiar to our family who skied it for many years.
We headed for home on Highway 2, past Kraka Ridge and Mt. Waterman, two more familiar ski areas, and finally back to a teeming, sultry, hot Los Angeles.
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