Pasadena Mountain Bike Club
Chill out at Chilao
August 1998
All photos and text Copyright © 1998 Jon Trent Adams

For most of the latter half of August 1998, LA wasn't exactly as hot as Hell, but if you stood on your handlebars you could see it from there. So it seemed like an ideal time to take leave of the blistering heat and high tropical-storm-driven humidity of the basin and drive up the Angeles Crest into the mile-high peace and coolness (relative) of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Up at the 6,000'-high Chilao campground, I fearlessly led our little ground into a hopeless bit of thicket thrashing about aimlessly. Then Richard or John found the correct path, the Silver Mocassin Trail, which we flew downhill on. Then a long dusty climb up a fire road that led to pavement that led eventually to the Charlton Flats road.


Near the entrance to Charlton Flats: The gaggle of happy campers in a rare moment of stillness (the tiny flies were thick and liked nostrils, eyes, mouths and ears). From left, it's Richard Barnes, Chris the mystery Brit, John Khao, Scott and Katrina Dayman. Jon's behind the camera. From this point it was a not-too-grueling climb up the Vetter Lookout road (paved most of the way).


High atop Vetter Mountain, at the recently reopened US Forest Service's Vetter Lookout. The gang takes a sweet break from the hillclimb, enjoys the breeze, and chats with the volunteers on duty at the lookout.


While inside the lookout, Chris and Scott discuss the pros and cons of fire spotting using Osbornes as opposed to aircraft and satellites (well, not really).


Meanwhile, Chris and Richard relax outside wondering how far one can lean out on the rail before falling to an early demise.

Soon we left the top of Vetter to enjoy a fun-filled single-track downhill that wound down a little gully.


We stopped at our favorite "jump" where we could repeatedly ride real fast and catch a little air under our wheels. Unfortunately for John in the picture above, my little digital camera doesn't have a reliable shutter release so I wasn't able to time the photo well enough to catch him with over two feet of air under his wheels. Sorry, John!

After this, we crossed over Angeles Crest Highway at Charlton Flats and rode up the Mooney Mountain side then down a long fire road which took us back to the entrance to Chilao and the end of the ride.