Switzer Falls and Bear Camp via Gabrielino Trail

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST

Activity: Backpacking, Hiking, Camping, Chasing Waterfalls

8.5 miles, (10.5 If you add “THE HOUSE!!!”), 1550’+ elevation change, rated Moderate

Date: 2-24-21

It was great to be in a backpacking tent again. I joined some new LA backpacking friends all ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ in the Angeles National Forest. These friends were checking gear for the start of their Epic Through Hike journeys starting in the next couple weeks. Anthony and Grant will be backpacking 770 miles of the Grand Enchantment Trial through Arizona and New Mexico. Ahmed will be tackling the Pacific Crest Trail over 2,500 miles from Mexico to Canada. That left Joey and myself without such a grant adventure, but along for the ride on this trip, and grateful to be out in nature just the same.

Especially since most of my adventures are solo it was really cool to be sharing the trek with these Trail Blazers, cracking jokes, spinning yarns, comparing adventures, learning new techniques, talking about places to explore around the campfire.

We gathered at the trailhead and set off- the Butcher, the Baker, and the Candle Stick Maker. Actually it was the out of work, but certainly not the depressed or downtrodden because we have such a love for nature, adventure and the pursuit thereof. The Architect, the Music Industry Sound Engineer, Hospitality Providers, and the Adventure Blogger hit the trail.

The first stop was Switzer Falls to enjoy the waterworks and a snack of Clif bars and fruit. This was my second trip to the falls. It is a popular and wonderful hike and I invite you to look back at my previous post: Switzer Falls via the Gabrielino Trail from 1 year ago almost to the day.

After we snapped a few photos we sat our sights on Bear Camp. The journey through the rugged canyon took us along a couple of spots not for the squeamish or those with fear of heights as the trail was narrow and the fall was wide. There were incredible views of the surrounding mountains, hills, and the canyon, filled with trees, and stream crossing were plentiful. Some rock hopping, and log crossing all added to the fun and excitement.

We arrived at Bear Camp at lunch time. What a great trail camp! Next to a stream, mountain and canyon views, tree canopy for shade, it even had a picnic table and fire ring, Shangri-La, (Definition: a place regarded as an earthly paradise, especially when involving a retreat from the pressures of modern civilization. BINGO!! Also known as “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’), to be sure. We set up our tents and then struck out on an otherworldly type of adventure.

Camping is a great time for ghost stories around the campfire, but we said screw that let’s go experience one! You see Joey had something in mind and he wet our appetite for it recanting his macabre encounter just a few weeks earlier in these very woods. With raised eyebrows we set out to investigate the shuddersome goings on at “THE HOUSE!!!

We returned from our menacing, strange escapade just before dark with our hunger for ghost stories satisfied, but not our actual appetite. We all chowed on some type of freeze dried meals each of us interested in what the other had from Thai to Mexican, Italian and who knows what else.

We had the best campfire ever between Joey‘s gathering just the right fallen limbs, and Grant’s teepee stacking, to Anthony’s secret fire starter wad. The night had a chill and the fire felt warm and delightful before turning in for a long night of cat napping and listening to Grant getting plenty of shut eye, for his tent was only 10 yards away.

There was a wind event late that night which was a little unnerving as there was a freshly fallen tree in the camp which took out the tree next to it as well. Still we were somewhat protected being down in the Canyon, but we certainly could hear the rush of the wind almost like a plane engine along the tops of the canyon. Even this roar could not drown out Grant. I am just kidding Grant, sorta…

Next morning was just as fabulous of a day. We took our time packing up, filtering water, and enjoying a hearty breakfast of Clif Bars and fruit before slinging the pack up on our back and returning to that crazy, anxious, busy world, but of course we stopped to enjoy the views along the way and sniff the wildflowers. Oh, and pick the tick’s off of our Trail Mascot, Frank, the cute little dog of Joey’s. Later that evening as we exchanged information and pictures electronically I discovered that Frank was not the only victim of those little varmints, but that is a story for a future post on ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ Backpacking and Hiking 101.

This outing in nature was super. Good trip, good spot, good camp, good trail, good fun, good guys, good ghost story, even good after party at a cool LA Eatery to celebrate- outdoors of course… COVID Protocol after all.

Photo by AnthonyEKing.com
Joey relaxes on a log dangling over a pool while on a trail break.
Photo by AnthonyEKing.com
Joey and his four legged faithful companion “Frank” cast eyes over the canyon.
Our intrepid gang of explorers. Photo by Joey
“A perfect gift for anyone that loves the outdoors is inviting them on an adventure.” – Ben Stookesberry
Photo by AnthonyEKing.com

Thanks for joining Anthony, Grant, Ahmed, Joey, and I while ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ in the Angeles National Forest along the Gabrielino Trail. Bear Camp was a great place to take a load off and unwind from the all the trappings of a nearby major city. It is hard to believe that just over the hill there are “30 Million People Surrounding US” when you are in a place so peaceful and remote. We wish the Through Hikers all the best with hopes that they truly find what they are looking for along the trail. I hope that I might meet up with them on some portion of their journey to at least experience a taste of such extreme adventure. Stay with us for more trekking by doing a couple easy tasks: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. Then if you will checkout my Online SHOP APPAREL for top quality adventure wear that carries the mantra, the banner, the message, the logo: ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. That is what it is all about Profound Experiences in Nature to Balance home/work life with finding yourself, peace and harmony. You can get inspired to do just that and find your own adventure by checking out the menu for places that you might want to experience for yourself. Keep in mind that each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

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