A late National Naked Hiking Day in the lovely mountains of Southern California

Happy Naked Hiking Day!

I did go on a hike on the Summer Solstice, but there was no opportunity to be nude. So a couple of days later I tried a trail I was really confident would be empty. I checked to make sure there were no cars at any trailheads in the vicinity and hiked in the afternoon, long after anyone else would start.

Topo map of this section of PCT
Dashed red is the Pacific Crest Trail. Dashed black is Liebre Mountain Road, which I will cautiously cross. Solid red is my path.

The trail I took was just a few miles on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) from the summit of Liebre Mountain to Bear Campground, maybe five miles round trip. The temps were in the low 80sF and dropped into the 70s. It was a bright and sunny day with a strong, gusty wind that had me starting to feel cool by the end of the hike.

A broad meadow next to an oak forest.
Broad meadows and ancient oak forests.
PCT winds through the shadows of oaks.
A trail through the shadows.
A doe in the brush
I glimpse a deer through the trees.
Looking NE into the Antelope Valley
Intermittent views of the Antelope Valley.

The PCT through here is stunning with grassy meadows interspersed with oak forest. I crossed over from the north side of the mountain to the south side and it was a world of difference. The north side had burned in the 2004 Pine Fire. The oaks had barely been touched. The few pines had fared worse, but there are plenty of young trees coming up to replace those that were lost.

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Liebre Mountain Road follows the ridgeline closely. When I cross over, my world changes.
Liebre Mountain Road fire break
Fire crews cut a wide firebreak on either side of the road. The top of a ridge line is the best place to stop an oncoming fire.
Burned scrub oak
This is not dead. The trunk is burned. The roots survive. A big tree root is fueling little sprouts. New growth will be exceptionally vigorous. Grass and “weed” species will soon return. Already you see the vines of wild cucumber spreading out from the base.
Bear Campground
Bear (or in my case Bare) Campground was spared the fire. Old-growth oak does not burn easily.

The south side had burned in the 2020 Lake Fire. Being a southern exposure, the flora was mostly scrub oak. Scrub oak is much smaller and more drought-tolerant. However, it burns easily. It has a different survival strategy. The roots survive to sprout shoots that in time will become replacement trees.

Liebre Mountain Peak
And, of course, there is the obligatory peak bagging photo! A pile of rocks with a piece of 4×4 stuck upright is the marker for the highest point on Liebre Mountain.

It was literally perfect weather at 5,600 feet while my home sweltered in triple-digit heat. It climbed up to the mid-80s and then dropped to the low 70s. It was slightly chilly near the end because of the wind. Nothing worth dressing for.

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This is my latest pack, a Mountainsmith “Tour.” Much more useful than the one I took on my Big Morongo hike. Just enough room for food, some minimal gear, a pair of 2-litre water bottles and to carry my clothing with me. Belt pockets worked well with my camera and phone. The load suspension system keeps it securely against the upper slope of your behind and your lower back. Everything is very comfortable on my skin, very important for nude hiking.

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