It’s been just too hot the last few weeks for fun hiking in the Los Padres. But I still want to get out on the weekends and do stuff. What would be really nice is if I could find somewhere within a few hours’ drive that has some nice clear flowing water.
I got an invitation through Meetup.com for a canyoneering trip through San Antonio Creek. According to Brennan's description not only would there be water but I should expect to get wet in the lower waterfalls. Whoot! That’s just what I want, so I signed up.
The drive up Mount San Antonio (commonly known as Mt. Baldy) was pleasant enough. Mt. Baldy is the highest peak in San Gabriels, topping out at just over ten thousand feet. I got there around 8:30 and parking was already an issue. I got lucky though, and found a spot near the trailhead. I had arrived about an hour early so I got my equipment organized and ate some snacks.
At 9:30, I met up with the other eight canyoneers. We went over the basic game plan for the day and then headed out. In Brennen’s guide he hikes up 2000ft to an old ski hut before entering the canyon. Instead of that route we opted to take a use-trail up to the top of the second waterfall. This shaved about three hours and only one 60ft rappel off the trip. I measured the water temperature at a refreshing 52F. The first rappel was just a few yards down from where we got geared up. There are bolts and webbing at all the waterfalls. From what I gathered, a local guide company visits this canyon frequently and keeps the anchors maintained.
Getting close to the end
The last waterfall
Everything was pretty straight forward. Find the anchors, rig up the rope, rap down, pull the rope. The flow wasn’t heavy, but getting wet was unavoidable, not that I tried. The third rap was the best. It is an 80 footer that pelts you with water for the lower 60ft. When we got to the last waterfall we had an audience. A lot of people just hike up to the bottom of these falls and hang out. We all made down without any complications. We were a bit wet, but I think everyone enjoyed the soaking. After that it was just a short walk down hill to the parking area. I had a good time meeting all these new people and having a little adventure with them. Hopefully we can do it again sometime soon.