This week, I took on another challenge: Backpacking with my young daughter. Now, before you say there is no comparison, let me mention that she is three years old. Not only must I carry all the gear for both of us, I usually wind up carrying her for the majority of the hike. Gear + food + fuel + water for the two of us is somewhere around 40 to 45 lbs/18 to 20kg of weight for this time of year. 40 to 45lbs/18 to 20kg of weight is perfectly manageable for a person of my size, but now add the weight of my daughter (~30lbs/13.5kg), and the total weight is about 70 to 75 lbs/32 to 34kg. Now, that is a heavy load!
Naturally, with a load like that, I'm not going to take on a particularly aggressive hike. For our destination, I chose Henninger Flats, which is about a 2.7 mile/4.3km hike (depending on which source you believe; some list it as 2.2mi/3.5km) with about 1500'/450m gain. It's steep, but not undoable, and it's mercifully short.
So, let's get started. The hike follows the route of the old Mt. Wilson Toll Road, a historic pathway into the local San Gabriel Mountains. In days of old, one paid a toll in order to gain access to the road. Today, the road is closed to all but official motor vehicles, but the road is free to all hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians.
|On the Mt. Wilson Toll Road en route to Henninger Flats|
Our arrival at Henninger Flats is marked by this large sign.
Even though Henninger Flats is on the outskirts of the Angeles National Forest, it is operated by the County of Los Angeles. It's not exactly a rugged wilderness camp, so hard core backpackers will want to look elsewhere, but for someone backpacking with a young child, it's a lovely, commodious facility. It's really more like a city park than a wilderness camp.
Here, I'm sitting with my daughter at one of the picnic tables.
|Breakfast time in Henninger Flats|
|A blueberry muffin, fresh baked out on the trail|
Henninger Flats is graced with a number of large, mature trees which are perfect for stringing up a hammock. Hammocks make great places for children to play.
|My daughter, in a hammock at Henninger Flats|
|Child at play|
|Sleeping daughter in a hammock|
Speaking of sleep, sleep reminds me of night, and there's a real night time treat from Henninger Flats: The view.
|The San Gabriel Valley at night as seen from Henninger Flats|
|Downtown Los Angeles from Henninger Flats (long exposure, 15X zoom)|
|Greater Los Angeles from Henninger Flats|
Alas, all good things must come to an end.
|Sunset, seen while descending from Henninger Flats|
|Iconic shadows seen while descending from Henninger Flats|
I thank you for joining me on another hiking adventure,