24 April 2011

Henninger Flat

Angeles National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

I was hoping to be going backpacking soonish, so needed to have a few hikes in the last little while.  Having frittered away Saturday, there was still Sunday.  But I'd already said I'd go to a lunch party and so the day began with baking bread to have something to take.  The day didn't start all that early, I admit.  Then there was the eating and talking and eventually the heading out.  I grabbed the water and trimmed down sketching tools and something warm and headed out to the end of Mt. Wilson Toll Rd., finally starting up it at nearly 5:30 PM.  I headed out by the gate that would be closed by the time I got back.

The clouds were thick overhead, but not continuous over the whole sky.  As I rounded one curve shortly after the bridge, I noticed a bright form, mostly of buildings, off in the distance.  A fair bit later when the lay of the land was better visible, I sketched the oasis of light.  This is more experiment with the newly ink filled water brush.  I went after it just a little too fast, having forgotten how long the paper needs to allow the ink to dry to fairly waterproof.

That was still less than a mile up, so I kept on going.  I noticed many flowers on the way including some large bell shaped purple ones and the white bunches of flower on a tree I drew some time ago.  Once to Henninger, I decided to take the trail through the three campgrounds instead of the road.  I've never seen the two upper campgrounds except through trees.  They were a little more pleasant than the lower one that must get most of the activity since the road also goes through it.

I decided to check for the old road that goes into the top of Pasadena Glen.  I could see a cut in the side of the mountain showing where it had been.  There were also a few mirage cuts, but once the real one was found, the others were obviously not right.  I hiked up to where it seemed to come to the main road, which was just above some water tanks as stated.  Unfortunately, it's very overgrown.  There wasn't even a thin trail to hint at anyone using it once in a while.  The brushes were so thick, it was difficult to say where one might walk along it.  Definitely need to wear jeans for that if it ever gets tried at all.

I then decided I should do some more exploring obvious things I'd never quite got to, walk around the loop to the helipad.  On the way, the sun was setting.  There was an amazing cloud with gold outline and I thought I'd go ahead and try to portray it.

Then I went up to the fork in the road and took off down the route to the helipad.  I started down the more used side of the loop to the south.  The two parts got close enough and there was a crossing between near an outpost of some sort of equipment.  There seemed to be a camera up on a pole near it.  As I walked around it, I noticed ears and thought they must have one of those fake owls to scare off the other birds.  Then the owl stretched out its wings and took off.  Guess it wasn't so fake after all even though it hadn't seemed to move up until then.

I walked all the way down to the end.  The end came to a very steep slope with Eaton canyon far below.  As I turned down the north side of the loop, it was getting fairly dark.  It was hard to see the far canyon wall and contents.  This is supposed to have an old, disused fire road at the bottom of it.  When I got to the lowest point, there did seem to be a road that headed off.  The first part of it seemed much more passable, but I couldn't see far with my light.

Then I headed back to the main road and down it.  Since it was after sunset, the gate would be locked so I had to cross the stream.  It is much larger than I recall seeing it.  It was hard to find a way across without wetting the feet.  Since I wasn't wearing my hiking boots and one rock I went for was a little below the water, I didn't manage it, but they stayed fairly dry.  I started noticing how much thinner the soles are on the way down, too, so I guess I am now reminded of why one likes hiking boots.  Then back to the car and home.

© 2011 Valerie Norton

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