Friday Photo – September 15, 2017

If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.

~Frank Lane

Today’s Friday Photo comes from….well….my backyard, actually. Well almost. A portion of the San Gabriel Mountains here in Southern California loom over our Duarte, California neighborhood. About a quarter of a mile from our house is Van Tassel Mountainway, a very steep, and wide fire road that affords beautiful views such as this one. I took this photo one morning while on my way to a lesser known peak named Mount Bliss. There was some light rain in the forecast that morning which made for a nice shot with the sun fighting its way through the clouds and creating some beautiful sunrays. The prominent peak way out in the distance is Santiago Peak (5,689′), an epic 16-mile hike, about 60 miles away. As you continue to climb on this 8.5 mile out and back hike, the views only get better and expand in all directions. It’s a steep hike though, with about 2,800 feet of elevation gain in 4.25 miles, and you’ll be at an elevation of 3,700 feet when you summit Mount Bliss.

Mount Bliss has a grim fact associated with it: On June 6, 1971, Hughes Airwest Flight 706 collided in mid-air (at an altitude of about 15,150 feet) with a United States Marine Corps McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II over Southern California. The F-4 crashed into the eastern slope of Mount Bliss. What was left of the airliner had crashed about a mile away in Van Tassel Canyon. Supposedly there are still some remains from this collision but I have yet to find any traces.

If you want to continue further beyond Mount Bliss, you can venture west for another 5 miles to Monrovia Canyon Park. Or you can hike further north for another 5 miles and bag Monrovia Peak (5,407′). This section of the San Gabriels has a large network of trails that can take you to many beautiful destinations in the front range. All you need to get you there is leg power.

~ Photo Taken November 20, 2016, 8:28 am

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