30 June 2010


Wild sketches done during the month.

Stopping for a moment while wandering on the Wilcox Property.
Er... I mean Douglas Family Preserve.

Hanging out in the gardens at the Getty.

Heading out to one of the free summer concerts.

A jacaranda on campus.

My campsite at Idlehour.

Walking along the trail that forms the boundary between open forest and that closed by the station fire.

A spot of Humboldt Lilies by the creek.

28 June 2010

Idlehour (day 3)

Angeles National Forest

26th | 27th | 28th

The new day started again with a gentle brightening of the clear blue sky and an eruption of birdsong at 5 AM. Someone's got to eat all those bugs.

I decided not to be so lazy getting up, so I could enjoy the most time going uphill in the shade. No one had stolen my cashews in the night. I didn't manage to finish off my dried fruit even though it looked like such a small stash the day before. Camp was struck fairly quickly and the pack stuffed to the top. I got some water pumped from the stream and a little dirt scrubbed off. Then splashed on some bug attracting sunscreen and followed it up with some mostly DEET to get rid of them again. About 6:15, I started up the trail. Okay, I wasn't in that much of a hurry.

I met a little sunshine in the bottom of the canyon the trail had come down, but the day was still cool. There was very little on most of the trail as it wound up the north side and around the west side of things.

clouds around the foothills
The city below has no sunshine as the morning fog keeps it cool.

mostly black caterpilar with flecks of blue and orange on a yellow monkey flower
All those butterflies have to come from somewhere.

27 June 2010

Idlehour (day 2)

Angeles National Forest

26th | 27th | 28th

Between the elevation and all the twists and turns to get through the canyon below, there was no marine layer to darken the morning and cool the initial part of the day. Light started breaking around 5 AM and the forest erupted into birdsong. The loud stream down the short cliff very near the tent was virtually drowned out in the noise of at least a dozen different ways of screaming "mine!"

Having not gone down the stream bed because of the poison oak, I was suspicious I wouldn't go up it either for the same reason. Instead, I would probably follow the trail on up to the top, maybe all the way to Inspiration Point, connecting with where I've been before. I was rather lazy about getting up. Eventually I did as the sun started touching the tops of the nearby trees. It took a while with the high canyon walls.

Someone had gotten into my bags and carried off most of my almonds. Not to say I had many left, but there was more than five. The bread bag had a hole in it and the ants were going after that too. Not much my scones that I'd planned for that morning's breakfast, but they were loving the olive loaf for Monday. It was a bit bothersome. The dried fruit was untouched. I dallied a bit longer until the sun was finally coming down the the campsite.

my shadow far off on the cliff wall
Good morning! The sun is here and I am here. Right there on the cliff side, you can see me.

26 June 2010

Idlehour (day 1)

Angeles National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

26th | 27th | 28th

Eaton Canyon is a local hike with hundreds of people headed up to the first falls on a daily basis. The falls themselves and the area around them offer no way up to the top. Apparently you can get there for another waterfall, but that one completely blocks all progress of the hiker. Most of this canyon cannot be seen unless you've got a very long rope. I've poked around Rubio enough to know that there can be a lot more waterfalls up there. I've been meaning to take the Idlehour trail but had been told it was somewhat hard to find once (not true). I realized that it was getting late in the season and I'll never get another chance, so if I really want to go up there, I better go now.

I decided to make it an overnight, or rather two night. Grab the tent, but now the rain fly since the average rainfall for this month is in the hundredths of an inch. I decided to pack it all up in the ultralight and forgo the stove. I'm not sure the ultralight is really that great when fully packed. I once had a replace a hip belt and the only one I could get was twice as heavy but four times as comfortable and made the pack feel lighter than it had ever felt before with the same load. The ultralight carries oddly once loaded with the recommended weight and the single stay numbs my tailbone a bit. On the other hand, it's got really good ventilation.

I poked around for information about the canyon above the falls. I found this on the stretch from Idlehour down to the falls first. According to it, as a hiker, I can get down to the first feeble bit of good stuff and no further. Then I found the matching site for the canyon from the top down to Idlehour. I could do the whole route of that, if I cared. I decided to try to hike in, set up camp, and poke around down stream the first day, since I wouldn't be able to get far. The next day, I would poke around upstream then hike out the next morning.

I didn't get started until almost 10 AM, once the care and feeding of the cat had been arranged. There was a nice marine layer cooling off the day while I hiked up the south facing roadway. It burned off at the top as I started passing boy scouts. I stopped into the museum since it was actually open while I was there. The county firefighters were enthusiastic to get me to sign a fire permit even though I didn't have my stove so didn't need one, even claiming it was a camping permit as well. Had to pull teeth to get the last one (at Red Box) and this one is foist upon me. Mostly the firefighters were concerned with what educational program they would be putting on for all the boy scouts. Three or four troops were already up there.

It was noon, so I nibbled a bit of lunch while at Henninger. The fog had burned off just a little before I got up there. I packed it back up and headed out, leaving the boy scouts behind. Everywhere I looked, tufts of yucca flower were springing up. There was a bit of wildlife, especially butterflies. Dozens of butterflies at any one moment.

A hillside popping out with blooming yucca.
Yucca all over the hillsides. It was especially noticeable along the ridge edges which would be lined with stalks of flowers.

A very cute lizard.
A small bit of wildlife.

Hillside of yellow monkey flower and such.
The floral displays along the way were rather stunning from time to time.

The backdrop for the hike.
The backdrop for most of this hike. The local mountains are covered in green with the occasional freshened fire break while the further ones are an ash grey from more than distance.