13 April 2008

Rubio Canyon

Angeles National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

One day short of a year from the last go, and we're off again. Well, fewer than before. We're out to see the falls and the day is just a bit clearer. As we went up the canyon, there was actually water along the bottom, we could hear it. Also, we could see it for a short bit where it came up in the litter of rocks at the bottom when the trail hits there.

We powered our way right on past the first waterfall and up the canyon on the side looking to see where we could get to. Instead of going along the first trail to the left, we kept going up the bottom of the steep, narrow canyon. Further up there was another trail going off toward the various falls that are promised to be up there. Now anyway.

Up and up and up we went. Finally there was a low road that looked at least as well traveled as the one still heading straight up. What we found was a big waterfall.

100+ foot falls.  Once, anyway.
Thelehaha (top) and Roaring Rift (below) falls: Beyond where we got to last year is a very tall waterfall. By the accounts of the climbers, I've missed a couple waterfalls between here and lunch last time.

The map promises more, though. If more there are, then more we should go looking for. The trail may have widened a bit and made it clear this was a good point to stop for a bit, but there was more to it just as well traveled hinting that there was somewhere else to be too. So we climbed up and up some more.

Along the way, we found a little snake. This was quite odd because I'd see the tails of two snakes already when I was in the front. They were both quickly moving away from the trail. Now I was in back, but I could see the snake. This one didn't want to go anywhere. It did finally move back its head as I stepped over it.

Snake playing dead on the trail.
Constrictor playing dead on the trail. It moved a little when stepped over and then let its tongue out a few times but it wouldn't move from its spot.

As we continued up, again a low road option presented itself. This time in back, I looked at the two trails called to Mingshr happily climbing that I thought the low road looked much more inviting. It was shady and there would be actual dirt under our feet quickly (and quickly not again) so I went that way and found more water falling.

Falls somewhat hidden by the side of the canyon.
(Part of) Leontine falls: These are doing a lot of their falling just hidden by the curve of the canyon wall.

The trail seemed to get less traveled and most of it went down into the delightful valley below. Here two canyons meet, the one on the right having the visible water.

Two canyons joining with much shrubbery at the bottom of each.
The canyon to the right with another large waterfall is meeting another canyon to the left that is just as big as it. The valley looks quite pleasant below. From pictures of the rock slide, it looks like they came from somewhere on the left into here and the areas below.

We are trying to be back by lunchtime, so going down into the valley isn't really an option. Even tough there's a little bit of waterfall much further up from the bit pictured, so we clearly can't see it all due to the curvature of the canyon, we won't get a better look. We head back. When we got to the middle fall, the sun was hitting it a little better.

Falls again, with different light.
Thelehaha (above) and Roaring Rift (below) falls again: But this time a little more light falling on them. These 100+ foot falls may be the tallest in the local area, or maybe that's Leontine. Looks like some of the smoothed waterfall face has gone too, but that could be normal wear and tear.

Top of the middle waterfall.
Thelehaha falls: The top of the waterfall! A little bit of the green filled valley can be seen peaking out from the very top.

Bottom of the middle waterfall.
Thelehaha falls: The bottom of the waterfall! Great textures in the face of it.

Small falls just downstream from the 100+ foot falls.
Roaring Rift falls: The falls below!

Although we passed it over a bit on the way up, the short falls still partly buried is really a very pretty bit of water. This time around it was covered in moss giving lovely colors to the rocks that are already striped.

Bottom half of the first falls.
Ribbon Rock falls: The bottom half of the first falls. This is the climbable part, but this is not the part that gets climbed, at least not when there's been enough water to keep the moss particularly happy. The lovely striped rocks look great with some green stripes added. The wet and dry, growing and clean, light and dark parts really make a great waterfall. What artistry from nature!

Of course we had to play in the one waterfall that we could actually touch along the way. We climbed up it since it is so easily climbable, at least the first half.

Mingshr halfway up the lower falls.
Moss Grotto (mostly) and Ribbon Rock (partly, bottom) falls: Mingshr went first, so there he is, halfway up the waterfall, and quite topless! He hikes in a jacket on a warm day, but takes off his shirt when he rests. There's no figuring boys.

Once climbed (halfway), there might have been some amount of play in the falling water too.

Valerie after trying to stand under the falling water.
Moss Grotto falls: Playing in the falling water. I sort of tried to get under the water, but it was fairly hard. The water is mostly along the rock and there's no good place to stand. Also, about this time I'm realizing that I no longer feel warm. At all.

The upper half of the waterfall.  The bit that can't be easily climbed.
Moss Grotto falls: Which has less moss growing on it than Ribbon Rock this time. Also, it can't be easily climbed.

This fall is still landing on the debris dropped in the narrow canyons above by the water company, but it is still a long way down.

Looking down the bottom half of the waterfall.
Ribbon Rock falls from above: The view from the top of the climbable bit of waterfall. This might pose one way down, but we're not taking it.

And, yes, this is all in our backyard. As it were. Did I mention it was a very clear day? Sometimes it gets clearer, but not many times.

The view from on high out over the tiny canyon and into the sprawl of cities near Los Angeles.
The view on back from near the middle falls. Not too much further up, we were able to pick out the wall the trail starts along, dividing it from the house on the corner. We really had to climb a lot to get to the further falls "along" the trail and this sort of viewpoint illustrates well how short the canyon really is.

Then off home again and back in plenty of time. Lunchtime is 1PM, right? No injuries were had on this go.
There are two main pages I am using to identify the waterfalls. Mainly a page by a guy who knows the falls in their former glory, post debris dump, and post big debris movement. He's put together a nice page kept up to date. Secondarily, a page by a guy who gives a post debris drop, pre massive debris movement, post smaller debris movement account that's rather hard to follow and links to other pages that don't exist anymore for pictures. This one, however, adds a cheat sheet listing the falls and describes how to get to the top of the largest falls instead of the bottom for the hearty rapeller coming from Echo Mountain. The missing page is nice for its account of hiking when the damage was the worst.

©2008 Valerie Norton
Posted 14 April 2008
Updated 26 April 2008

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