Hiking to Bridge To Nowhere and Devil’s Gulch are always fun to do here in Southern California. See my previous blog here:
The only difference with this hike from my previous ones is that 90% coming back from Bridge To Nowhere was totally a hike on the San Gabriel River with 35 hikers in all. The event was created by Hiking for Health and Happiness (3H) and organized by Ricardo Cruz and Maglory Maza and was done on August 20, 2016.
Our schedule meeting time was at 5:30 am in the parking lot at the end of Camp Bonita Road from the East Fork Road and Highway 39. I arrived 20 minutes earlier and I still had time to continue my sleep since the hike was scheduled at 6 am. I also made sure that I hang my Adventure Pass. I heard lots of noises; I knew most of the hikers arrived, so I got out and greeted them. The full moon visible, luckily there were no werewolves, it was just us howling. 😀 LoL
Crystal Gonzales led our large group to Bridge To Nowhere, a 5 mile hike, as we started off by land. We did not hike on the river because the water was too cold for the other hikers. We did however cross it several times at the beginning. Some were balancing on a huge log to crossover while others walked and got their feet wet. As we got there so quickly around 9 am. I did not even have a sip on my hydration pack. Note that this only applies to me and every hiker should hydrate themselves accordingly.
At the top of the bridge, we took group photos while the Bungee Jumping Company is still prepping their equipment for the jumpers who were not there yet. We then hiked down below the bridge where we ate our early lunch and done more photos. I had a big slice of the watermelon that Tony Delgado brought along the hike and some chips from Ismael Cardenas. I later tested out the water near a small waterfall and it was still cold. After a few minutes, Ismael and I went to a deep waterhole, large enough for swimming. It was located just a few feet away from the bottom of the bridge. Our teeth were chattering as a form of shivering from the cold water as we walked in. It took us awhile before we dipped our heads underwater. An all-girl hiking group passed by and joined us. It did not take them too long to go underwater. Hector Martinez joined us as he dipped himself underwater. I took their photos and minutes later, our group was ready to start moving and on to our river hike.
Another group photo was taken right before we went under the bridge. Just a few steps after crossing, there is a section that could be dangerous if you are not careful. We had to go down these huge boulders where the rock below was also slippery. This was the part that I slipped on the rock below and I had no traction on my shoes. Luckily, Chuy Lira and Sergio Garcia where at the bottom to catch each and everyone of us going down.
We continued our hike as we reached the area where we had to turn right to reach the Devil’s Gulch which by the way is a 60 feet waterfall. At that time, the water was just trickling but the height of it was majestic and it showed us small caves on its walls that we had never saw the last time when water was at full blast falling down. There are still some poison oak around the area which we were careful walking through the area. After our stint at the waterfall, we continued our hike on the river.
I learned a lot from doing a river hike. It is best to always bring hiking poles to balance yourself. It is always possible to get a sprained ankle when walking on an uneven path. Luckily, no one got injured in this hike. Another big use of hiking poles is to check if you are walking on a deeper part of the river. It has been known that some people come here in search for gold. In the early 1840’s, this area was a major gold producer. Nowadays, we saw some still digging within the river. If you are not careful enough, you might fall in a deep waterhole. We passed by them several times but one in particular was the deepest. Jesse, Ismael, and myself could not resist the temptation on going in. 😀 I would also like to add that my new water shoes, the better kind, worked well on river hiking. Of course, some stones still can get in but it can also be easily taken out by taking off the shoes with ease. While using hiking shoes, you still need to untie and take it off with force. Both hiking shoes and water shoes still works great on the river.
A few more miles left before reaching the parking lot, the group decided to continue the hike on land. Jesse Ignacio and Mi Hoang continued the river hike all the way before hiking up a hill towards the parking lot. I joined the two half way then continued on land and Chuy Lira and Daniel Suarez joined the two where I left them off. When we got to the parking lot, the hikers lined up as they finished and congratulated the incoming with a high five, a 3H tradition at the end of every hike. We then sang a birthday song to Lissinia Aguilar which she’s celebrating later that night. Sergio Cruz handed a heavy stoned heart … literally as a gift. 😀 The 4 hikers who continued on the river arrived 15 to 20 minutes later. I would say that doing a river hike takes longer than on land.
Indeed, the river hike on San Gabriel River was a real workout on our legs and feet with almost 11 miles. I would love to do this hike again and again. It just had to do with the river that attracts me especially during summer where it is a great time to cool off plus the incentive of sharing with friends. Thanks to our leader Crystal Gonzales for showing the way and to the 3H Family for making this a safe and a very fun hike. Until next time …