24 November 2007

Red Rock

Los Padres National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

There's been some fires in the backcountry for a month or two and their effects could be seen near Paradise Road on the way to Red Rock, even a little bit on the river side of the road. There was also a bit of construction on the last river ford forcing us to park a bit before the parking lot and navigate bulldozed areas and pumping equipment to get to the trail. Thanks to the fires and it being just about along the fire road, the trail also required navigating bulldozed areas if a little less extreme in the bulldozing.

Well established fire road.
A nice wide trail thanks to the fire road being reestablished, but no actual burn around here.

The river is just a series of puddles, though many of them are quite deep.

Deep pool along the river that isn't doing any particular amount of flowing.
A deep pool along the generally dry Santa Ynez River.

20 October 2007

Alamo Mountain

Los Padres National Forest

Decided to have an overnight on the mountain. Haven't been there for quite a few years now and the little car should have plenty of clearance for the fairly well maintained roads up there. So up I-5 to Smokey Bear Parkway and just sort of go strait to get to the entrance to Hungry Valley. Then watch out for kids on dirt bikes that are worse than jackrabbits since they'll come back around to jump out in front of you again.

I went up to the top of Alamo mountain some three times when I was a camp councilor near Fraizer Park and had been up there twice since, but not since the 4x4 died.

The road used to be a bit of a sand trap but it had gotten paved the last time I went so I figured they were probably taking care of the road and it would be fine to take the car up it. It's now mostly gravel, but still a very nice road. Especially considering it's going through an off road vehicular park. I guess it's nice they're taking care of it now since once that first summer I found myself rolling over some hills on a much nicer road that didn't keep on going past campgrounds telling me to go 15MPH. It's good to actually know where the road is.

The stretches outside the park in the national forest that were always paved have had the bad bits redone. They've even added paving after the river, right up to the sign saying it's not a fee area anymore. Which is right about the place where it suddenly got cold. It felt like someone had turned on my air conditioner.
With all the good roads, I even decided to go to Twin Pines campground, up a nice unsigned road I always used the 4 wheel drive low for. Even it was easily passable.

Once parked, first thing I did was extract a coat. It was getting cold! Then I was going to start supper but found that the pots had made it to beside the bag and not in the bag. This turns out to be an important distinction. No pasta for me, just cold cornbread and cashews. I had some cashews and pitched the tent just a bit down the remnant of old road that runs down from the campground. There was a stream next to the spot the first time I was there. Two fallen logs, too, but most the logs I remembered had turned into smooth lumps of black along the ground.

Cornbread was good, but pasta would have been better. It got dark and I pulled on all my warm stuff. The bit of wind was growing. I was fairly sheltered, but I could hear it in the trees. I got out my lamp and read for the evening, eventually taking shelter from the cold in the sleeping bag in the tent. The winds kept going strong all night and the cold just got worse.

Tonight I had neighbors, but unlike the drinking target shooting neighbors I had the only other time I'd shared the campground (and decided to leave in the late evening because of), these were only noisy in conversation and were even quiet in that by 9PM.

But then morning. The sun rose far south of my expectations. Another reminder of how late it is in the year. Also a signal that it wasn't going to get any colder. (Finally! It's cold enough now!)

The sunrise, as seen out the tent through the golden oaks.
As dawn breaks, from my tent I can see the sun rise far south of the summer days of memory.

29 July 2007

Valley Forge Campground

Angeles National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

There was a very large moon scheduled for the 0:48UT on the 30th, according to the calendar. This made it seem quite reasonable to head out late on the 29th for a bit of moon watching. Perhaps some star gazing too. We chose to try for De Vore campground but the guidebook (1994) noted that the road on the map (1995 and still the one sold) was closed and this would probably be permanent. A little investigation confirmed this. Also there would be toilets and no water.

We weren't really looking for much of a hike, though. Just a stroll in and out with stars and the moon in the middle. So, even though De Vore is supposed to be one of the 10 best campgrounds in LA (according to some Gorp listing) and the next one up, West Fork, not quite as good but still very nice, we decided to stay at Valley Forge, the first campground along the long closed road. It's got a nice historic ring to it, anyway.
We drove up to Red Box late in the day, getting there around 5:30PM and headed for the trail. From Red Box, both the road and the trail go to Valley Forge, but the trail requires a turnoff that, as far as we know since we haven't been there, might be easy to miss. The guidebook implied that it was, so we chose to go down the road to get there.

At Red Box, there is a stairway down to the trail that heads left to points unknown and right to the road. Points unknown turned out to also be the road, just a lot further down.

Sign at the trailhead. Sarah and Abbie already started.
The sign at the trailhead, which doesn't note the distance by the road or agree with later signs. Sarah (in front) and Abbie (in back) are already on their way down the stairs.

21 July 2007

Inspiration Point

Santa Barbara Front Country

Locate the trailhead.

My mother and I decided to hike up Jesusita to Inspiration Point. There is no actual Jesusita trailhead, it connects Arroyo Burro to Tunnel at points very close to the trailhead of each of those. I think that's how it works, anyway. It might share Arroyo Burro for a bit instead. We decided to go up from the west side at Arroyo Burro where parking is generally easier and the route is longer. Also, my mother seemed to be worried about dive bombing mountain bikers that are apparently more common on the other side of the trail which has some very fun steep sections.

big oaks along the trail
A bit of shade at the start of the trail.

looking through a tree over the ridges
Looking out over the ridges and trail and power lines.

15 July 2007

Devils Canyon

Angeles National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

Today's grand escapade was found about 27 miles up highway 2 just the other side of Upper Chilao Campground. Well signed and even with a bathroom, we came to...

Road sign for trail to Devils Canyon.
Here be Devils Canyon. Well, on down the trail a while, actually.

Devils Canyon! Um, trail. The actual canyon is at the end of the trail as most of it is going down a tributary.
And so we headed out into the San Gabriel Wilderness. Also we met our first set of backpackers.

San Gabriel Wilderness starts just the other side of the road.
The San Gabriel Wilderness starts just the other side of the road from the parking.

16 June 2007

General Stark Mountain (part 2)

The Long Trail

Camel's Hump State Forest

Part 2, continuing from the first half.
A little more view from further along.

A little reminder of what I am not prepared for and should be when hiking in the east. I hadn't even occurred to me to bring rain gear for the trip, must less for a hike that started with such a clear sky. These never did get to be threatening that particular day.

General Stark Mountain

The Long Trail

Camel's Hump State Forest

Locate the trailhead.

Finally on my own with my own car in Vermont, I could go out hiking. Not that I went very far. A short way down state route 17 from Irasville where we were staying is The Long Trail. General Stark is 2.3 miles along and Massachusetts is just 155.6 miles away.

Going up, occasionally there would be an opening to see the view.

13 May 2007

Monrovia Canyon Falls

Monrovia Canyon Park

Locate the trailhead.

We wanted something on the way to dinner down the 605 a bit and short enough to start well after lunch. Sawpit Canyon (on the map), but Morovia Canyon by the signs, looked like a good one except that they were going to close the gate at 5PM and we'd still be on the trail then. No problem since parking outside of the gate is easy too.

Getting there just involves getting off the freeway at Myrtle and turning north through picturesque old town Monrovia. Turn right onto Foothill and then left onto Canyon Blvd. We parked on the street. Most of the way up to the park there was a footpath beside Canyon Blvd. The trail starts just past the pay station. Since it's run by the city, the National Forest Service permit doesn't get you in.
Going up we pondered the loudness of the water sound and whether it might really be water in spite of the dry winter. The wind didn't seem to be blowing that hard. It was water; according to the handout the city had, it is spring fed.

We started our wildlife viewing right at the start of the trail. A deer was pondering where to go and eventually went down the side of the hill toward the road. There it found a dog to be chased by, so it probably wasn't a very good choice of where to go. We turned the other way.

As we climbed higher on the trail, a huge dam came into view. This dam holds back the water in Sawpit Canyon, the larger canyon. The trail goes off to the left into a smaller canyon explaining the difference of opinion as to what this area is called. The road goes up to the dam after the parking lots.

Along the trail we spotted a great big fuzzy red velvet ant (which is apparently a solitary and wingless wasp) and some lush poison oak. We were warned that there was a rattlesnake down by the river but failed to find either snake or anything river-like.

The trail is joined from the second parking lot on the right just past a creak crossing. It is joined again from the nature center and third parking lot up a hill to the right. After the nature center trail joins, a bunch of numbered signs pop up, presumably to tell about what can be found on the side of the trail. Even a check dam gets numbered.

14 April 2007

Rubio Canyon

Angeles National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

Rubio canyon is a particularly short hike heading out from a street corner on a right-of-way between houses. Just up Lake, then onto Palm Ln. to Maiden Ln. (which sort of merges in), then through a slew of roads all named Rubio to find a trail up a tiny canyon with many, many waterfalls. It used to have a few more, but the water company dropped a few tons of rocks on most of them a couple decades ago. A few years ago, Mother Nature dropped 11 inches of rain on the mess in less than a day which the rocks couldn't hold. The large falls were uncovered, but the lower small falls are still invisible.

Start of the trail between two houses at the corner.
The trail heads out from a neighborhood corner. Decorated with a warning sign thanks to the local water company. A great little hike if you can ever get the boy off the phone.

Once we got the boy off the phone, we got started down a rather warm trail along a rather south facing slope. The first half of the trail continued along this slope with one tough spot.

Most of the fisrt half of the trail is about like this.
Fairly flat trail heading up the left side of the northeast heading canyon. The first half of the trail was mostly like this.

01 April 2007

Colby Trail from Big Tujunga

Angeles National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

Abbie and I decided to go hiking around Strawberry Peak. There was a small bit of effort to find the correct turn for the trailhead, but it worked out quickly enough. We started out hiking along Big Tujunga Creek with, again, a little bit of effort to locate the proper trail. Many people go just for the creek, so there were many routes that weren't correct. Eventually it sorted itself out and we were traveling along the trail up the mountain.

trailhead marker
Starting off on a well signed trail.

nude trees in the basin of Big Tujunga Creek
A little bit of climbing and there's a view through the trees of the creek bed below.

25 March 2007

Spruce Grove from Chantry Flat via Sturtvant Falls

Angeles National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

Chantry Flat is far too easy to find. Just turn north on Santa Anita Ave. in Arcadia and go to the end. As usual, parking was up to being lucky, which I wasn't. Found a nice spot a little tilted up onto the cliff, neglected to notice all the "No Parking" signs and got started. The main trailhead is actually down the road a ways past the locked gate.

Shortly after the gate, the First Water Trail heads off to Hermit Falls. I went down this trail once, but it peters out before really getting to the falls. At the time we hiked directly up the creek a little to get closer to them.

Sign marking the First Water Trail.

Near the bottom of the road is the first cabin of the day and then the footbridge. The road ends just beyond this bridge after it takes a ford.

Footbridge to main trail crossing near Chantry Flat.

11 March 2007

Strawberry Peak from Red Box

Angeles National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

Just across the street from the far eastern end of the parking lot at Red Box Junction, where the road up Mt. Wilson turns off the 2, there is one end of Strawberry Peak Trail.

From here it is a little over three miles to the top of the peak. The first two miles are very easy ones on fairly level trail that spends about half the time along the southern face of the mountain. First, though, it winds along some telephone poles. What I read of it said this was an old road for the first half mile and it may have been the old utility road but it was not particularly apparent. It also said the trail wasn't signed but it clearly is.

The trail followed along the road climbing for a short way before turning into the mountains. Very shortly after starting, I passed a mile marker marked with the number 7. The road quieted completely as the trail found its way to the back of a nearby peak, but the observatory was still easy to spot.

01 January 2007

hikes of 2007

 Strawberry Peak, Angeles National Forest: Mar 11

 Chantry Flats to Spruce Grove Campground via Sturtvant Falls, Angeles National Forest: Mar 25

 Colby Canyon from Big Tujunga, Angeles National Forest: Apr 1

 Rubio Canyon, Pasadena Front Country: Apr 14

 Monrovia Canyon Falls, Monrovia Canyon Park: May 13

 General Stark Mountain, Camel's Hump State Forest: Jun 16

 Devils Canyon, Angeles National Forest: Jul 15

 Inspiration Point, Santa Barbara front country: Jul 21

 Valley Forge Campground, Angeles National Forest: Jul 29-30

 Alamo Mountain, Los Padres National Forest: Oct 20-21

 Red Rock, Los Padres National Forest: Nov 24

View hikes 2007 in a larger map

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