01 November 2009

Henninger Flat

Angeles National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

I decided to have an afternoon/evening hike up to Henninger Flats for sunset and drawing and such. There are claims that they are rebuilding the roadway, but it was supposed to start in October and not finish until April or so next year. I didn't check the bottom slide area. I parked along Altadena, as usual, and proceeded down and over the wash area to the start of the horse trail to the road. The horse trail has a little bit of shade, especially at the bottom, which was nice when starting a little after 3PM with the temperature somewhere a smidgen below 90F.

It looks like some repairs have been completed, though. There was no need to snake about the fallen debris near the top of the hike on this go. The roadway was all a smooth and easy hike. I got to the top with about half an hour to sunset. Since I've already done a sunset picture during a previous hike, I opted to sketch the transplanted fire watch tower instead. This left me not entirely in the right place for watching the sunset since the flats themselves are a little hallow in the mountain.

The sun about 20 minutes before setting hides behind the local landscape.
About 20 minutes still to sunset but the colors are starting to pick up and the sun is already behind the local chunks of land.

That was the situation before sitting down to sketch a bit. Afterwards...

The same area during sunset.  The colors are a little deeper.
The same spot for sunset shows a little deeper color and no particularly bright, if hidden, spots. The lights are staring to show up well.

With the darkening of the land below, the lights came on and became visible all throughout the valley. A fair bit of moisture in the air that showed up as haze in the late afternoon making it look like the far places had a blanket of light fog made the lights of the places 12+ miles away twinkle.

Downtown Pasadena with downtown Los Angeles.  Behind both, the lights glitter.
Downtown Pasadena and behind it downtown Los Angeles make fairly clear appearances as tall buildings among the general sprawl. The dark hills of San Marino and South Pasadena and Hollywood showing between. Then the lights stop for ocean to the horizon.

More urban sprawl looking out over the Inland Empire.
The sprawl continues on out to the Inland Empire, some of which is (probably) in this picture.

I watched the lights glisten for a few more minutes while snacking. Though it wasn't clear among the trees, the moon had found its way up into the sky at some point. The moon is full the next morning, so very round now.

The imposible to photograph moon.
The moon among the trees, which seems to be quite impossible to photograph. It will be full in about 16 hours.

I got out my lamp in case I might need it and I walked back down the mountain along the road under the moonlight. As I came back out onto the side of the mountain, I heard a fire engine as it approached the New York/Altadena intersection. Throughout the walk down, I could hear sirens here and there. When the sirens were quieter, I could hear dogs barking. It's quite amazing how much of the sounds reach up onto this mountainside.

As I went, I heard a funny noise by my feet. I almost stepped on something and whatever it was was moving somewhat slowly into the sparse brush to the side of the road. As I looked, I could see something a bit large and maybe vole-like, but it seemed to be moving far too slowly. Then I could make out its shape a little better and it actually looked a lot like a toad.

A toad crawling around in the sparse brush.
A toad captured as it crawls among the litter and sparse brush at the side of the road.

Mr. Toad sitting, hoping I can't see him when he doesn't move.
The best photo of the toad that I managed to take.

I have no idea how this toad comes to be on the south side of a sun drenched desert mountain, but there must be a puddle somewhere. I continued down the mountain after finding the toad without any further incident.

©2009 Valerie Norton
Posted 2 November 2009

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