Monday, January 1, 2018

Slide Mountain Attempt 1

I love fire towers. I don't know why but I do. The towers are like little cabins on top of mountains but serve as the front-line defense during these tough and dry conditions in California. There are a few fire towers in SoCal and I definitely want to check out as many as possible. One I have had my eye on for awhile is the fire tower on Slide Mountain.

The hike is really like 4 hikes in 1.

Hike 1:

For the first mile or so, the hike gains elevation on an old paved road (Old Goldenstate Highway to be exact). It sounds like a boring hike and in some ways it is but the scenery surrounding the ol Goldenstate is awesome especially at daybreak.

Hike 2:

The second part of the hike is your classic California fire road hike which starts with some ironworks

and wends its way up the canyon looking to gain the saddle. You are gaining about 600 feet a mile which will definitely get your legs and calves working although there are a bunch of flat sections of the trail which will help you out.

Soon that glorious saddle comes into view and you have just a few more minutes until you get through to a relatively flat section.

Hike 3:

The third hike is really the tester on the hike although you are not gaining as much elevation as during the second part. What makes this one so tough is that there so many switchbacks with no end in site. You have completely lost sight of the fire tower at this point and you just have to trust that the switchbacks will lead you somewhere.

Hike 4:

The final push to the fire tower is one I can't fill in right now as I didn't make it. I am coming back after a recent foot injury and while I had energy to do it, I thought I should turn back at mile 9 rather than ambling to mile 11.

I could have pushed through but I wanted to "hike my own hike" on this one and I know I will be seeing that tree on the way to the firetower on my next time up the mountain.

There WILL be a next time as this is one great hike. Despite being long, the hike is varied and interesting and I can't wait to see the tower in person.

For more information on Slide Mountain check out this great write-up!


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