Hitchhike from the forest

Hitchhike from the forest

Enticed by images of water filled caves and promises of an adventure, Jennifer and I decided to go hiking to Dawn Mines in Altadena, in Angeles National Forest. We got dropped off at Millard Camp Ground (20 min and $10 Uber from Caltech). We chose the Millard Falls trailhead over the Sunset Ridge one (which was a few hundred feet away) because we heard it was faster though it’ll involve some climbing.

After a short walk and crossing the creek a couple times, we found Millard Falls quickly enough, and also found the route up through an opening in the bushes nearby. After scrambling up the rocks, we found ourselves at the top of the falls, where a smallish flow of water tumbled down through the rocks. From there we crossed the stream and trekked onwards.

We had got to a path that wrapped around the edge of the mountains, giving us a great view of the valley below and the mountains across.We ran into a pair of hikers who had got to this route from Chaney Camp Ground, none of which knew how to get to Dawn Mines. But this told us that we had taken the wrong route, so we backtracked and went up a series of annoyingly sandy and slippery switchbacks that took us up to a scenic area where we could see the tall buildings of downtown LA.

We decided to give up and begin the trek back, especially because I wanted to make it back for Page House’s annual alumni dinner. As we went down, a large boulder caught my eye, and we decided to climb it, only to find that it led to a steep path downwards. A couple minutes later, we were back at Millard Falls. It turns out that we had missed a quick and dirty climb up the rocks and taken a much longer route.

Once we got to the parking lot, we realized that there was no signal still, and we couldn’t call an Uber to pick us up. We approached a couple sitting with their dog, hoping they had signal. Unfortunately, they also did not. The man offered to give us a ride to a parking lot closer to the city, and turned out to be a Caltech alumni from Dabney when the North Houses were still new. Once we got dropped off, we found to our dismay that there was still no signal. Fortunately, a family of four was just about to leave, and took us to a nearby supermarket where we finally got an Uber back to Caltech.