June 15, 2002, Part 3
Mount Wilson: A Peak into History
The fate of Mount Wilson is a VERY Southern California Story.

Many years after the demise of the Mount Wilson Hotel, the mountaintop was occupied by three entities with very different agendas. The Mount Wilson Observatory, television broadcasters, and the publicly-operated Skyline Park.

AT LEFT: The trail marker at the peak is pretty easy to miss.

The world-
famous Mount Wilson Observatory survives. The telescopes and little museum seem to be well taken care of.
The broadcasters have become far and away the most visible presence on the peak. I wish they would secure their property with something other than chain link fence topped by razor wire.

It certainly doesn't do any good for the ambiance of the place.

And Skyline Park? It is practically abandoned. A dozen years ago you could get a sandwich  and something to drink at the park's pavillion. Skyline Park was modest, but nice. It was a fitting destination. Now you can't even find water.

One group that continues to use Skyline Park is the hang gliders. It's quite dramatic to see them launch from the edge of the parking lot. It would be a heck of a way to get back to the bottom of the trail.

There is still plenty of morning left. My plans to get back by noon are dashed when I misread an awfully confusing sign at the junction of the Mount Wilson and Winter Creek trails. As a result, my 15-mile hike becomes a 16.5-mile trek.

Still, it's not so terrible walking the high country, thinking about what my next Southern California Outing will be.

RECOMMENDED READING: John Robinson is THE authority on the San Gabriel Mountains. His hiking guide, his illustrated history of the San Gabriels and his recently-published book on the Mount Wilson Trail (a little gem!) are all recommended.

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