Happy Tales With Owen
After a difficult day, with low-hanging dark clouds and the threat of rain still lingering in the air, we decided to spend that negative energy and turn it into a happy adventure. With the other previously scheduled events happening in the evening, I picked a hike that would be relatively easy to get to after a stop for a quick McDonalds lunch. So after some deliberation with myself and Google Maps, I headed west on Interstate 210 to the Angeles Crest Highway in La Canada. The plan was to hike a familiar trail, one mentioned in Great Hikes With Dogs.
I decided to take Sami and Owen on a hike to Gould Mesa. But as we were short on time and Samantha is in a ‘no hiking except when we’re at a national park with big trees to yell at’ phase, I decided instead of starting the Gabrielino Trail at JPL and hiking the 2.5 miles to the Gould Mesa Campground as I have many times with Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, as well as solo with the pupper, we started from Angeles Crest Highway and headed down the hill into the camp. Going this route was only about 1.1 miles to the camp, and the downhill was more palatable to Sami who actually enjoyed Owen’s antics and the cooler weather.
We parked at the small lot just outside the gate for the Gabrielino Trail and So Cal Edison’s Gould Substation. After some bribery involving the promise of an after-hike Mc Donalds hot fudge sundae, we headed through the gate that keeps out unauthorized vehicles and toward the trail camp. We passed the substation to the right and continued down the trail, enjoying the views of the mountains and the low clouds. We easily arrived at the camp within about 20 minutes or so. Sami wanted to take a short break and I explored around with Owen. The trail is usually very popular on a Saturday, however I think the threat of rain kept most would-be hikers from trekking out. There were a few campers, as well as a father and son who were taking a snack break while on a trail bike ride. Owen had plenty of space to sniff around and mark his territory even while on leash, as is required by the Forest Service. We also found the trail to the Paul Little Picnic Site, which is a mile north and has a few lovely stream crossings and is not far from Brown Mountain Dam.
Sami got bored and headed up just before Owen was done playing, and we had to run to catch up to her. Owen dragged a bit on the uphill, but we made it back to the car just fine, with an elevation gain of about 560 feet in just over a mile. Owen was a tired but happy camper and bounded back into the car ready to head home- or to the next adventure. Samantha was felling more cheerful after the hike, and while buckling her seatbelt reminded me of the promised dessert. So we headed down the mountain for a sundae and a McCafe pumpkin spice latte.
The Angeles National Forest offers up many fun hikes that are easy to get to. This portion of the Gabrielino Trail is easily accessible from La Canada and parking on the street or in the small lots does not require an Adventure Pass. Just be considerate of the residents who live in the area. Happy tails!
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