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.


I packed up the food and left the tent and warm things behind. With water pumped the evening before, I was set up like I normally am for a day hike. I took off up the trail. It followed the bottom of the canyon for a little way, then crossed over and sort of followed a little longer, but higher up the side. Finally, it took off sideways to the stream and started the opposite direction up a gentle slope. Indeed, the stream bed was choked with poison oak and the trail looked quite nice so I followed the trail.

the stream crossing
The trail coming to a stream crossing. There this seemed to be the split steam coming back together, but from above, the right seemed to be a tributary from a very steep canyon.

a few yucca popping out with flowers
Yucca was popping out all over down in the valley, too.

a bit of burned hillside
Climbing westward meant getting closer to burn areas.

the cliff wall of the canyon
Some of the wall of the canyon is still a sheer cliff.

blooms of white sage
The delicate flowers of a huge white sage bush.

tall flower
This marks the first of these huge flowers I saw. Many of them were taller than I am with flowers the size of a fist.

close up of yucca flowers with one pointing directly toward you with light coming through just perfectly
Some yucca flowers up close with the sun pouring through. (more)

lush hillside
Lush hillsides near and burn in the background.

sitting still
A hummingbird in a rare moment of stillness.

The trail wandered up and up to a few good views and traveled around the edge of a ridge. It dropped down again to a stream with a fair bit of water in it and someone had built a fire ring near it for a campsite. The trail then seemed to climb out of that canyon again, but then actually went along the edge of it, up and up.

the view along the 'line' of the canyon
Getting high enough to look out the twisted canyon shows that there was marine layer again today. The trees at the farm stand out a bit, too.

canyons joining
Sharp canyons joining together making a knife-like cliff edge between them. (from lower down)

yucca like telephone poles
A bit of yucca headed up the ridge line with a telephone pole of uncertain age and unlikely use anymore.

lush and regrowning
The hills are starting to look familiar, like the ones behind Inspiration Point, but from a different angle. The burn is regrowing.

little purple flowers
Some more flowers along the way.

the little stream
Upstream along the little stream along the way.

I spotted someone coming down the trail toward me, but when I actually looked, the someone actually seemed to be a little short and oddly shaped. In fact, it looked a lot more like a bear strolling down the trail at me. Not a very big one, only a little bit bigger than me. I started to wonder if it was young enough to have another with it, but couldn't see any. We stopped and stared at each other for a moment and then she took off up the hill. I waited a moment longer and proceeded cautiously along the trail but didn't see anything but footprints of her again.

It was getting near lunch time and I was getting a little hungry so I started thinking of where I might stop for a snack. Then I thought I might get a bit further along from where the bear was first. Eventually I found a spot to eat and draw the local hillsides.

sketch during lunch
A sketch during lunch of the hillsides across the way. Looking closely found a tree there and there that just hadn't felt like dying.

I came to a spot along the trail where water had cut a near vertical gully and little of the trail was left. The crossing was difficult, but could be done. On the other side of the gully, the trees and bushes along the trail were all burned. After that, there were rough sections like speed bumps, but no missing sections to the trail. It kept climbing.

top of the canyon
Looking up the canyon, this landscape looks even more familiar but from a different angle. The stuff close the the water seems to have survived, but little else.

fire victim
A rather large victim of the fire very near the edge of it on this side of the valley.

The trail eventually came down to the steam again, but it was much smaller. I went a bit further up from there, which was probably getting within a mile of Inspiration Point. I was getting tired and have been there before and did have to carry a bit of a load out of the canyon the next day, so I quickly turned around again and came back to the little stream to eat my mango and maybe do another drawing.

a trickle of water flowing down the mountain from very near the top
Near the top of the mountain, a trickle of water is still flowing. The small stream it becomes below is a torrent compared to here.

little red flower
With water, there is life. Here is a new flower for the trip's collection.

a bunch of purple
A profusion of purple flowers greets the traveler on the other side of the stream.

little purple flowers
Some of those purple flowers as individuals.

sketch of the stream similar to the first photo of it
My sketch after I was stuffed on mango.

While sitting there, a group of four mountain bikers came by in the same direction. They wondered if it was long to the road, but I couldn't tell them since I hadn't gone all the way there. They were the only people I saw that day. I continued back to camp after finishing with my sketch.

some more burned bushes and sprouting flowers
A little bit more of the landscape in the burn area.

the valley with some green and mostly grey
Slow recovery from the burn. The forest closure lifts at the end of September, but it looks like it may simply be replaced with another.

rarer butterfly
One of the lesser seen sorts of butterflies.

red flowered vine
Some vines hanging over the bushes hanging over the trail.

Coming back, I noticed a few things I hadn't noticed on the way up. One was that there seemed to be a horizontal plane through the trees below which everything was dead. Trees that passed through the plane were green on the top and brown on the bottom. Trees that did not quite reach were just brown. Trees starting above it were green. Most of the trees were pine and oak. A few bay were about and these were trying to grow from their roots when they were below the plane, showing that they may not be quite dead.

a hollow tree serving as a bee hive
A bee hive I failed to notice coming up the trail but found easily when faced with the entrance. A line of bees went out from about the center of the hole and up at an angle to just about head height as they cross the trail. A few blurry spots can be seen in the picture marking the high traffic route of bees.

zoomed in on that same picture, bees are visible
This is from the same picture. Bees lined the inside of the hole and a couple of them are in flight.

more flower and butterfly
Another flower adorned with a butterfly. Less scary insects. Not to say the bees were any worse the second time through as the first, but that time I knew they were there to be scared of.

ruined building
I also didn't notice the ruins on the way up, not that there's even enough of them to guess what they might have been before they were a couple short walls.

ruined building
Some more wall remaining near the other.

whooshing water
Back down to the stream barreling itself down Eaton Canyon.

a few raspberry flowers
A few thorny raspberry flowers. They were just some of a large number in this section. This will be a good place to be come fall.

continued on day 3...




©2010 Valerie Norton
Posted 4 July 2010

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