Hillcrest Open Space Preserve
This hike was one that I had scoped out on a previous hike. It was just under three miles, including the short trek to where I had to park. I was fine with a shorter hike because for once I read the trail description first and I knew this one would be a beast at the start. I've been wanting to take this trail for ages because I pass the trailhead often and I always wonder where that trail disappears to.
The trailhead forks at Hillcrest Ridge Trail and White Sage Trail. I took Hillcrest Ridge Trail up and White Sage Trail back.
That hill looks deceptively easy from the road.
It doesn't even look that bad from the bottom, but it is steep as hell.
The worst part of this hill is when you get to the top and discover there is another one right after it.
View looking back the way I came.
View from the second hill, looking in the opposite direction. While I was stopped taking this picture and guzzling water, another hiker passed me. She said, "You always think you're done when you get to this point." I said, "But there's one more." She held up a hand as she passed me and said, "Two more, but the second one is easy." That means the first one isn't.
The other hiker headed up the third hill.
This is the 360° view from the top of the fourth hill.
If I had continued on Hillcrest Ridge Trail instead of turning onto White Sage Trail, there was an even higher hill to climb. Not today Satan.
On White Sage trail, I came across these markers in reverse order. They honor firefighter Angel Castro, who battled the Hillcrest Brush Fire in 1978. This area also burned in the Woolsey Fire in November 2017.
White Sage Trail was peaceful. It led me down into the clefts of the hills, blocking the distant hum of the freeway and hiding the surrounding homes from view.
I want to take Hillcrest Ridge Trail the whole way, but it is a 4.7-mile out and back hike, so I will have to plan a little better to do that one. It definitely needs to be on a cool day when I get an early start.