At 5,700 feet in elevation, the Horse Flats campground is usually closed for the winter season (typically November to March), but on November 21st of 1997, back in the day when we were not aware of such winter closures, Gil, Elaine, Chuck and I packed up our pooches, Pookie and Dante, with the bright idea of an overnight camping trip to Horse Flats. By the time we got up there, we were tired but still totally stoked for a campout, and then got really bummed when we realized the campground was closed. But, heck, there was no snow on the ground and the rangers didn't appear to be patrolling, so we did the most logical thing, which was to pitch our tents and make a night of it. It's not like we were party animals, gangbangers, or nefarious deer poachers. Just sayin'.
The next morning we did a short trek on the Mt. Hillyer Trail before heading back home to La Puente. The vistas along the trail were really grand, punctuated by large boulders and majestic pine trees.
In the summer of 2009, the infamous Station Fire, which burned over 160,000 acres (the largest fire in the history of LA County), scorched parts of the Horse Flats/Mt. Hillyer Trail area, but from what I had read, a number of the trees actually survived and a lot of the vegetation has since regrown. Mother nature always prevails.
11/22/97 EE & me. Mt. Hillyer Trail.
11/22/97 With Dante & Gil. Mt. Hillyer Trail.