Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hiking Potato Mountain

After hiking for numerous months on my lonesome, I decided to hike back to back weeks with groups. First up was my hike to Timber Mountain, which went great, and then my equally as pleasant hike with the Los Angeles Trail Hikers (LATH) to Potato Mountain. Why is it named Potato Mountain? Well, find out after the jump!

I am not quite sure why Potato Mountain is named as such, all I know is that people bring potatoes with them on the hike and then leave them at the summit! The ranger which we encounter on the summit didn't know either so I am going with the story that a renegade band from Lewis and Clark's expedition came to find themselves on the mountain and the Potato Fairy came and rescued them from starvation by gifting them potatoes to eat, all the way back to St. Louis.

Now that we have the origin of the mountain taken care of, let's discuss the mountain itself. The mountain is located off the Mt. Baldy road in the Eastern end of the Angeles and compared to the other mountains that reside there, is sure to have a Napoleon complex given that it is about a 1/3 of the size of the other mountains. That doesn't keep a good mountain down and this trail delivers in spades.

It starts with a very easy inclination from the parking lots

as the trail snaked its way through Oak Trees

and Fall while not "in the air" (as it was sunny and 90 degrees the day I hiked!) it was definitely present on the trail:

The hike is 2.7 miles one way with a pretty decent elevation gain but as with most trails, that elevation gain will start getting you great views of the surrounding countryside

At about 1.7ish miles (but who is counting) you get to the conjunction junction with the Claremont Wilderness Park

Apparently you can take the Claremont trail all the way to the Marshall Canyon wilderness (which will be blogged about on here in a few days) which creates quite the trail but we decided to head up and claim a summit, a potato-y summit.

As we made our way up, the views of LA county and all of its beautiful smoginess came into view.

Then Blammo, we were on the summit!

As I previously mentioned, I did this hike with the LATH and it was great. Jason led the hike (as he often does) and it really was a pleasant hiking experience. I heard horror stories about other hiking groups (who shall remain nameless) so if you are looking to hook up with a group, it should be this one.

Overall the trip clocked in at around 5.40 miles roundtrip and coupled with the modest elevation gain, should be doable for most SoCalers. One thing to note, going the way we did, you technically need a permit from Pomona U. I saw absolutely no one checking for them and there are other ways to the summit, but permits are free and last a year, so get one and do this hike!

If you want some more info on the Tater, check out Dan's site: http://www.simpsoncity.com/hiking/potato.html


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