The goal for this day hike was to reach the summit of Smith Mountain (5,111 feet) in the San Gabriel Mountains. The 3.5 mile trail to the top starts with a steady but doable climb for 3 miles to Smith Saddle (4,290 feet). The trail continues on into the San Gabriel Wilderness, but we were headed off-trail to the peak. To reach the top of Smith Mountain you start climbing up a steep fire break that soon degrades into a use-trail through boulders. The path climbs 820 feet in just a 1/2 mile which definitely felt steep.
Katharine at the top of the fire break
Resting at the false summit looking back at another peak and trail to Smith Saddle
While boulder scrambling to the top we startled a lot of lizards basking in the sun. Some lizards were paralyzed by the warmth so I took the opportunity to try out my new 24-105L lens.
King of the Boulder
Western Fence Lizard
The lizards remained perfectly still while I spent 10 minutes taking 41 photos adjusting my camera settings and reviewing my photos.
This is why I love my new lens, 7D, and Lightroom 3: the photo below is the original photo and the one below that is cropped. This is where the 7D 18 MP has an advantage over my older 40D 10 MP camera.
24-105 mm @ 84mm, ISO 250, f/5.6, 1/2000 sec
You can see the unique blue markings on the underside of it’s chin.
Katharine enjoyed the view at the false summit while I stalked lizards around the boulders.
We finally made it to the top and enjoyed the 360 degree view including snowcapped Mount Baldy.
We then quickly headed down the mountain maintaining a pace of 3 mph for the last 3 miles to the car.
All in all it was an enjoyable day hike with incredible weather.