The San Gabriel Mountains, part 2

You can see many little mountain valleys like this one along the Angeles Crest Highway.

Vivid green brush gives the appearance of grass, but the trees grow out of soil that is practically bare gravel.

The Angeles Crest Highway reaches up to 8,000 feet in elevation, but in winter parts of it are closed due to snow, which finishes melting in June.

People living in the basin below come up here in winter to let their kids play in real snow. Once, so help me, I saw a car with a snowman on the hood.

Photo by John Chambers
In this view, you're looking back at the tunnel, which lies a distance after Buckhorn. A ranger once informed me that this is one of the best places to see wild bighorn sheep; you get there early in the morning before it gets light, and sit quietly and wait. Eventually you'll hear what sounds like rocks falling, but they aren't rocks: they're bighorn sheep crossing the ridge over the tunnel.

There's little rock climbing in Angeles National Forest, because of the unstable, soft nature of the rock. It's impossible to safely work with pitons and such equipment; the rock won't hold them. In fact, just building roads through this National Forest was a major accomplishment, and one road, which briefly connected Highway 2 to Angeles Crest Highway, was permanently closed by a massive rockslide (and has been buried by even more since then).

Numerous skiing places dot the road. In the 1930s, the San Gabriels were popular to hunt and camp in, although then it required a backpacking trip to get this far. Now the hunting season is only in October, but this area offers a lot of skiing and is locally very popular.