Thanksgiving is a good time to hit the trail and be thankful for creation and the beauty of nature. I’ve done a few Thanksgiving hikes over the years as holiday plans permitted. Since I have the morning free today before leaving to celebrate Thanksgiving with family, I have the opportunity to hike, as do a couple friends.
I drive to Glendora and meet John and Rick at Rick’s house. We pile into the car and take the five-minute drive to the Mystic Canyon trailhead in Big Dalton Canyon. There are lots of cars parked at the intersection of Glendora Mountain Road (GMR) and Big Dalton Canyon Road and at the trailhead. It’s a brisk 52 degrees.
8:10 Begin hike. I forgot how crazy steep the first section of the trail is. I assure my buddies that shortly it mellows out and the rest of the hike is quite gentle. It’s cloudy and brisk and we welcome the generated heat from the steep climb. We enjoy the expanding views of Glendora and think about Thanksgiving preparation happening in many of those homes. We exchange Thanksgiving greetings with others on the trail. Rick and John are engaged in considerable conversation but I hang back a little and just soak in the beauty of my surrounds. There is virtually nothing in bloom and deciduous plants like poison oak are hunkering down for the winter with their leafless stems. Some recent rain has invigorated plants from the arid months while weedy grasses are brown and dead. The chaparral has wonderful fragrance. A sunflower cheerfully greets us. I am so thankful for the splendor of nature!
Our route climbs north along the western side of Mystic Canyon, a tributary to Big Dalton Canyon. We choose to take the two long switchbacks for the final pitch rather than steep use path from Poop-Out Trail.
8:49 – Junction with Lower Monroe Road (aka Truck Trail). Wonderful vistas! Three gals have Rick take their picture. A small America flag attached to the sign post flutters in the wind. Patchy sun peaks through the clouds. Across Little Dalton Canyon to our west, vehicle noise on GMR detracts from the serenity. To our northeast, Summit 2760 stands pointed against the sky, but we won’t bag it today. Our plan is a two-hour hike, so when we get to the 60-minute point, we’ll turn around and head back.
After a few minutes at the junction, we head northeast on Lower Monroe Road and enjoy the expansive view north. Occasionally mountain bikers swoosh by us. I suspect that most are doing the one-way downhill from GMR, about a nine mile ride. A mother and her young daughter (maybe 10 years old), both clad in colorful riding gear, come racing down the trail. The young lady enthusiastically greets us, “Happy thanksgiveeeeeeeing!” as she wizzes by. We reach the sign post for Punk Out Trial and stop for a selfie (does not turn out well so we retry on our return).
9:11 – Reach our one-hour mark and take a brief stop. The view north begs for a panorama shot.
We turn around and head back, now engaged in a lively conversation about creationism. I’m not an expert but I’m thankful for a personal relationship with the Creator! When we reach the Punk Out post, a pair of cyclists offers to take our picture. Our descent is pleasant. Such a beautiful autumn day!
9:35 – Mystic Canyon junction. We linger for a few minutes, chat with a family of cyclists, and enjoy the views. The trails are getting lots of use today. We retrace our steps down Mystic Canyon Trial and continue to appreciate the gifts of rugged scenery and good friends.
10:10 – End hike.
Epilog – What a pleasant outing! Splendid trail, fresh air, brisk temperatures, picturesque clouds, superb vistas, aromatic chaparral, and a sense of holiday set aside for being grateful. We have so much to be thankful for!
Psalm 100 (Holy Bible, English Standard Version)
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
</blockquote/> Experience the Creator