Fall in Southern California is a bit of a mystery. The calendar says it is Autumn and the shorter days are clearly a sign that it is no longer summer…but the weather didn’t get the memo. My Instagram feed is filling up with photos of apple picking while wearing flannel and boots, I’m over here planning my day around free air conditioning and living in shorts and tank tops. It seems like October is deciding to stage an endless summer (if only it would stay light out longer!) and while it is nice that I was able to spend the day at the beach yesterday, the fall wreath on my front door is mocking me…palm trees don’t change color and I needed to find some signs of Fall before stores start playing Christmas music.
So, in an effort to catch up to the rest of the country and catch a glimpse of fall, I joined Jeff from SoCalHiker.net (and his wife, Joan) for a quick hike to Aspen Grove in the San Bernardino National Forest. I heard about this small patch of Aspens tucked away in our local mountains but haven’t braved the dirt road to get out there (it is the same road we would take to the trailhead for one of the highest peaks in the area, which is good to know for future hikes).
I saw a photo of what the area looked like the weekend of 10/4 and was excited to see the golden leaves. Apparently the peak season only lasted a week because most of the leaves were off of the branches in the lower grove and the leaves were taking on a deeper (but still beautiful) golden tone than the rich yellow the trees are known for.
The walk to the grove is pretty straight forward and short enough that young children were able to make the walk from the parking lot to the first grove without much difficulty. This is not a wheelchair-friendly trail, nor is the road very sedan-friendly, but people drove it anyway. I knew I didn’t need a ton of water or supplies so I packed a few snacks and 1L of water in my Teton Sports Trailrunner 2.0 Hydration Pack and wore my KEEN light hikers so I wouldn’t get tired from wearing heavy boots (like my hiking boots, which are no longer available). Being comfortable on the trail is really important to me because otherwise I’m focused on how I’m feeling (uncomfortable, itchy, chaffy, etc.) instead of enjoying my surroundings.