Thursday, July 30, 2015

Blue Ridge Campground & Big Horn Mine

View on the drive to Blue Ridge Campground
Free campground, all you need is an Adventure Pass!
Campground View
PCT is near the start of Big Horn Mine
Up, up we go!
Trail view
The major wash out, can you see the tiny people struggling?
Attempting to get to the other side of the trail
Accompanied by Alexis and Will for the weekend!
We have reached our end point! Big Horn Mine!
So Tim's scared of heights and wouldn't join me on the railing lol
Entrance into the abandoned gold mine
Flashlight needed
View from the entrance 
Tri Tip lunch from Jensen's Market after our hike:)

Camped: Friday July 24, 2015
Hiked Big Horn Mine: July 25, 2015
Hike Mileage: 4 miles round trip

A few weeks ago, after hiking Mount Baden-Powell in Wrightwood, Alexis and I were inspired to come back to the area to camp for a night and hike Big Horn Mine the next morning. So last Friday, we trekked back out to Wrightwood and did just that. 

The previous week, I researched the area and narrowed it down to two campsites for us to camp at, Blue Ridge Campground or Guffy Campground. Both are near each other in the city of Wrightwood, and about 15 minutes down the street from Vincent Gap, where the trail starts. Both sites are free, they just require you to have an Adventure Pass (can be bought at REI/Sport Chalet, or ranger stations $5 for a day/$30 for a year). While Tim and I came from Oceanside to Wrightwood (took us almost 4 hours in Friday traffic hour, never again!), Alexis and her husband Will left from Chino Hills. I think without traffic it would've taken us less than 2 1/2 hours, but we live in California, what do you expect... 

Blue Ridge Campground sits above the Mountain High ski lifts. Right after you pass Mountain High Ski parking lot and lodge, you turn left on Blue Ridge Road and drive about 3 miles to get to the campground. It's a dirt road, my Mazda 6 would not have made it up. We had driven separately, taking a Ford Edge and a Trailblazer, both made it up just fine. We finally reached the campground at 7:30 pm. Which worked out perfectly since we still had a little bit of daylight to set up camp. The day prior, I had called Forest Services (626-574-1613) to check on fire restrictions, in which was advised that we could have campfires in a fire ring! Woohoo! Usually by a certain time during the summer, since California is so dry, they ban campfires and turn off water supply at certain campgrounds. (btw, Blue Ridge has no water, so don't forget to bring some. But they do have 4 vault toilets!). After a quick dinner of sandwiches, and some s'mores around the campfire, we went to bed. The following morning we woke up, ate a simple breakfast, and packed up camp.

We hit the Big Horn Mine Trail around 10 am. There are vault toilets at this trailhead as well. To the left is the trail to Mt Baden Powell, to the right is the trail to Big Horn Mine. The trail starts behind the gate. The trail starts down hill first, but it will start going up hill. As we hiked less than a mile in, we passed a couple heading back and they mumbled "You're in for a surprise around the bend..."Ok, thanks for the heads up! What's the surprise? Oh just that about 40 ft of the trail was missing and had slid down the mountain! The rain the weekend prior had created massive rock slides along this trail, the 1st being the biggest and hardest to cross. But we saw a dad and a handful of boys on the other side of the trail and knew it was manageable to cross. So we went down a ways on the loose rocks, cut across, then back up. Small detour but we survived it. I tried counting how many washouts there were on the trail, I lost track at 10 spots, 3 of them being pretty major. 2 miles in, and numerous wash outs later, we made it to the old mine! It's pretty cool. It's pretty much a skeleton of the old building, we ran into a few people hanging out here. You can also go into the mine itself, you just have to climb up a bit to find the entrance. You can wander pretty far in, but you definitely need flashlights! Such a cool hike, I love hikes that have a history (read about it here).  Round trip with some stopping, detours, and exploring it took us about 3 hours to complete. 

After the hike, Tim and I stopped in the town of Wrightwood for food. We ended up picking up some delicious BBQ tri tip plates ($8.50 with two sides!) at Jensen's Finest Foods and headed back to San Diego. Another successful adventure that wasn't too far away!

Until next time Wrightwood!

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