Lori Carey Photography

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gold Mountain trail 3N69

After last weekend's heatwave, I think the last thing anyone was expecting for the holiday weekend was a freak cold wave that brought lots of rain (and snow at higher elevations ) as well as hail, tornadoes and a mudslide at Cook's Corner. Last Friday it became pretty apparent that our plans of camping and wheeling up in the Big Bear mountains over the weekend required some last minute changes.

Bill and I spent a quiet Saturday at home while we kept an eye on the weather in the mountains, and when it looked like the worst of it was over we made plans to head up first thing Sunday morning and meet up with FunN4Lo and NotMySonsJK at the trailhead for Gold Mountain, another Big Bear trail with a Forest Service rating of Most Difficult. After seeing what John Bull was all about two weeks ago and realizing that Big Bear has exactly the kind of trails I like (rocky!), I was really looking forward to my first time on Gold Mountain.

The Gold Mountain trail is a beautifully scenic trail that winds up the side of Gold Mountain with a series of switchbacks to an elevation of 8200 feet. I'm sure the views are even more spectacular when the skies are clear, but you can clearly see from the photos in the gallery that the higher we went, the worse the weather got. The boulders on Gold Mountain aren't nearly as big as they are on John Bull, but the trail has some good rock crawling obstacles with loose rocks and a few ledges to climb, as well as the well-known talus slope.

I promised myself that I was going to stay behind the wheel and forget about the camera on this trail, but you know me better than that - I have a hard time resisting a photo op. I did stay behind the wheel 95% of the time, only asking Bill to take the wheel so I could shoot at two obstacles. No photos of the talus slope or anything after that, because there was no way I was going to miss out on that fun. And to Bill's credit he didn't whine once about wanting his turn at the wheel! Guess that means I have to let him wheel on the next trail... Luckily, when I was shooting the guys at one obstacle a group from Gear Grinders 4WD Club came up behind us, so we decided to wave them through and I figured I'd shoot them too. That ended up being most of my photos from this trail, although we did go exploring later in the day and I found quite a few subjects that caught my eye.

The weather was in the mid-40's for most of the trail and the views were fantastic for the first half:

But as we went higher, we got closer to the cloud layer and the temperature steadily dropped.

Later in the day we went up even higher until we were literally in the clouds. I'm saving those photos for my next post.

Here's a few more of the trail photos. In the later ones you can see that we lost our blue skies...so I have photos with boring gray skies and flat light. I had my light kit in the jeep, but I figured the guys would kill me if I attempted to set them up!

Wonder what this guy did to win the cowbell? ;)

You can see the rest of the photos in the gallery here.

Most people head over to John Bull after running Gold Mountain, but since we had just done John Bull we decided to go do some exploring at higher elevations. That was a lot of fun and I got some great shots. That will be covered in my next post.

Oh yeah, and if you were one of the people who subscribe to this blog by e-mail, I'm sorry that I have to ask you to re-enter your e-mail address if you want to continue receiving the e-mails. I was having problems with the feed and e-mails weren't being sent, so I needed to change the code. The new code seems to be working fine, but you won't receive any e-mails unless you subscribe to the new e-mail feed. Sorry about that!

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