Saturday, November 1, 2008

rain at last

This morning's forecast of 30% chance of t-storms left us unphased for our planned hike up Mt. Lowe. This was L.A. after all and we'd been baking in never ending summer temperatures in the 90s. It was a balmy 78F under cloudy skies when we left the house. We decided to head back to the San Gabriels to check out the Mt. Lowe Railway, but this time out of the Lake Avenue trailhead in Pasadena.

After a brief detour we found the switchbacky trail to Echo Mt. Jascha used our
ascent as a test for the new GPS he bought for our Asia trip. We maintained a steady pace just over 3 miles an hour up to Echo Mt. and turned off onto upper Sam Merrill. It had rained lightly on the way up, but it was still warm enough to hike sans rain jacket. The cloudy skies brought out the contrasting colors in the hillside flora. Then it started to pour. Streams of water were rushing down the trail. We gave up looking for someplace to take cover in the chaparral and trudged on. We were doing OK between downpours until the wind picked up. I tried putting on my rain jacket and hat, but I was having a hard time staying warm, so after 5 miles (3 less than our original destination) we decided to turn around.

On the way down we detoured over to the ruins on Echo Mt. I had passed the turn-off several times on AC100 training runs, but had never bothered to stop. We found an interesting collection of large gears and engines, remnants of an old power plant and the Mt. Lowe Railway next to the crumbling foundations of the defunct White City resort. The rains had cleared out most of the hikers and left perfect conditions for the mt. bikers. We passed several on the way down. The rain eased up and as we neared the trailhead I questioned whether we had made the right decision to head down until I saw lightning flash over the valley.

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