It was my second time back to Strawberry Peak. We did this last year on February 6th. This time around, the hiking event is very special, since it was a joint venture between the groups, 3H Family and Hikescapela. A total of 55 hikers joined us and a total of more than 12 miles of trekking. Click on this link to view last year’s blog:
At 5:30 am, we all met at McDonald’s at 449 Foothill Blvd., La Canada Flintridge, CA. 15 minutes later, we head up north to the 2 (Angeles Crest Highway) to the Colby Canyon Trailhead. It is a very small parking lot on the left side of the highway. Somewhere in between driving there, it was my fault of misguiding the driver, Meredith Crane, on where to go. I gave a few cars that were following us a bonus drive around the area.
As we arrived at the trailhead, Ricardo gave a few instructions in Spanish which were being translated by Lissinia Aguilar in English. He also introduced new hikers to the groups. Sergio Cruz was our lead for this hike with team support from both groups. The hike was a point to point just like last year. Maglory Maza gave some of us easter eggs that had a strawberry fruit in it and it was to be opened at the peak.
We felt cold in the parking lot. A few minutes later, we started hiking on the Colby Canyon Trail, passing by a small waterfall on our left side and seasonal little creek on the right. It was also pointed out by the support team that there was poison oak near the trail. The first 2 miles were a breeze, since there are lots of shaded areas. We also saw from a distance the peak. It felt that we were getting closer, but we were not. It got warmer as we went around the mountain.
We arrived at the Strawberry Saddle where the trail splits into two. The left trail heads towards Josephine Peak. Also in the area is a large water tank. We took a break at the saddle before heading up and continuing the Colby Canyon Trail. Two hikers stayed behind due to a sprained foot and later went back to the parking lot. They will wait for us until we finished the hike.
At the bottom of the canyon, we took a little longer break to eat our snacks. We had a lot of bikers and trail runners passing through. After our break, we continued the hike by ascending a few switchbacks until we arrived at the junction that changed to Strawberry Peak Trail. There is a wooden sign that points to the direction of the peak. Each of us had the chance to take a photo with it. We could not do a group photo since the area was too small for a large group. We continued heading south until we reached the area where we turned right heading up to the summit. Some of us got blisters, cramps, bruises, and were being poked by yucca plants. Those who had blisters were being taken care of by Ricardo. Some handed mustard and I gave apple cider vinegar for those who had cramps.
The steepness of the ascent reminds of some portions of Iron Mountain. We all enjoyed the challenge. Even though it was hot, we got a cool breeze from time to time. There was also a commotion that I did not witness where a snake was nearby while hiking up. James Bong took a photo of it.
We finally got to peak as we celebrate it by eating our mini-lunch with lots of strawberries. Of course, we brought it up with us. Some participated in the 22+1 push-up challenge. Group photos of the ladies, the gents, the leaders, and as a whole group were taken. My friend Dalila Santamaria had a butterfly landed on her hand. We also met new friends who got to the peak early and some late comers who caught up with us.
It was time to head back down as we continued the Strawberry Peak Trail. Took a quick photo of the four of us who had unusual hats. A few more miles down, we crossed the Angeles Crest Highway by groups of 5 and waited at the Red Box Picnic Area. Ricardo purchased a new van and we call it the 3H Mobile. It would bring as many as 15 drivers back to the Colby Canyon Trailhead and come back to Red Box to pick up the rest of the Carpoolers.
After the hike, some of us ate dinner at Dona Maria restaurant at La Canada Flintridge, CA. We even sang Happy Birthday to Meredith even though it was not her birthday just because she ordered fried ice cream. 😀
As a hiker, I like seeing groups come together and enjoy the trek. It was a great way for Hikescapela and 3H Family to show comradeship among us. It was an awesome sweet hike back to Strawberry Peak. I hope to do this again next year.