June 15, 2002, Part 2
On to Orchard Camp--Halfway There
Orchard Camp was one of the many trailside resorts that existed during what San Gabriel Mountains Historian John Robinson calls The Great Hiking Era.

You could camp or you could rent a tent cabin. You could get food and drink. Sometimes there were activities and entertainment.

Today you can walk around the ruins of Orchard Camp. The site seems very small, but maybe that is because trees have grown and landslides have changed the dimensions of the area.

Orchard Camp is 4 miles up the trail. There is an annual Mount Wilson Trail Race where the participants run to Orchard Camp and back. 

Running the trail TO Orchard Camp sounds grueling; Running BACK sounds terrifying.

This is part of the trail about a mile past Orchard Camp. The trail sort of washes out and you need to carefully get over these slick, slanting rocks. Last year, a friend of mine fell and broke her wrist here.

I'm glad to get over it with my camera--and me--in one piece.

I can't help but notice that even here, maybe 4500 feet elevation, the flora is distinctly Southern Californian.

Manzanita Ridge and the junction with the Mount Wilson Toll Road are near. 

I reach the junction with the Mount Wilson Toll Road. This path has quite a history. In its heyday, not only did the operators of the toll road charge for horses and wagons, they even charged hikers.

Later on, the toll road was travelled by early motorists. For a while there was an automobile race along this road.

I'm glad they don't do that today.

The toll road is a welcome change of pace. It is less steep than the trail, and wider. I'm able to let my mind wander a bit more here because you don't have to concentrate quite so much on where you step.
Soon, I am off the toll road and back on the Mount Wilson Trail. Sometimes I'll come around a bend and see a view that reminds me of the old hand-colored postcards that were popular during the Great Hiking Era.

According to John Robinson, this was a very popular trail. 

I am getting near the top. It has been a good morning of hiking. 

PART 3: Our Destination

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