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I was up before 5:30a, having camped out in the back of the van along Mountain Ave in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mtns of Southern California. It was horribly foggy, thick as pea soup, everything outside damp with the moisture it had brought with it. My goal this morning was two LPC peaks, Frankish and Stoddard, and I hoped that the elevation of these relatively low summits might allow them to peek through the clouds.
Things started off poorly. I found the turnoff for Barretts Canyon as described in the LPC guide, but had some trouble finding the TH. The fog and utter darkness I was wandering through by headlamp did not help. After traipsing among the numerous homes tucked back in the canyon I eventually found the gated TH some half hour after starting out. The key was a fork in the road that was not described in the text. The right fork leads to aimless wandering whereas the correct choice is the left fork. At the TH there was a somewhat useful map duct-taped to a tree, particularly since I had nothing but the written description with me. Though the scale was large, it showed Barrett Canyon and the two summits. At least I was starting in the right direction, and hopefully I could avoid getting turned around and lost in the fog.
The Forest Service road was in decent shape as I followed it up to Stoddard Flat and then down to the junction with the West Cucamonga Trail, taking about an hour and half. This second flat, open area had no signs and no indication which of five possible routes one should follow. Several reconnect back on themselves as I came to find, but it initially looked like a confusing maze in the fog. I picked the most likely looking route based on a compass heading and continued on. I missed a sharp turn in the road, going some quarter mile past it before realizing I was on an eastern heading which definitely didn't match the description. For a short time I thought I might not actually find the summit and have to call it quits, but upon finding the missed turn things started to make more sense. I eventually found my way up the road as it circles about and eventually tops out on the summit of Frankish Peak. Partsbuckthorn, but it gets enough traffic to keep a use trail through the stuff.
The fog had not lifted, nor even abated, and I was left walking about looking for a highpoint of some sort or a register in the milky haze. Nothing very satisfying was found in the several minutes I was up there, just a load of trash. It was now almost 9a, having taken some three hours from the start - not a very impressive pace for a 6.5 mile hike. Things did not get appreciably better on the return. On my way back up to Stoddard Flat the clouds parted ever so briefly to give me a quick view of Stoddard Peak off to the west. It was as much as I could do to get a picture of it before the clouds once again enveloped it. At Stoddard Flat I found the use trail leading up to the rocky summit, but once again there were no views to be had and no register to be found. Rats on all accounts.
It was 11a before I returned to the TH in Barrett Canyon. I got a better view of the two creek crossings and the power station described in the LPC writeup, along with an oddly architected house and the bridge over the main drainage (I mistook this for the one of the creek crossings earlier in the morning). Back at the van well before noon, I decided to call it a day and drive home, ending the nine day road trip on a foggy note. Hiking in fog is definitely a non-fun exercise in my book. Apparently I enjoy the views on my outings more than I had let on.
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Frankish Peak - Stoddard Peak
This page last updated: Wed Feb 2 08:14:06 2011
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