08 May 2011

Wildwood Canyon Park

Burbank City Park

Locate the trailhead.

It was suggested that I might join with "Hike the Geek" type peoples. They were going up what they called "Stough Nature (backside)" at a time that seemed somewhat early for me these days, but it's getting to be summer so it seems much more reasonable at the moment. At least I thought it was getting to be summer. I woke up a bit early and heard a dribbling noise. Looking out, I saw there was a light rain falling and everything had gotten somewhat soaked. It probably would be much cooler than two days before, as predicted.

I'd left my hat on the desk, so had to go off and get it although then I didn't use it. I was running on fumes, so had to find gas. A generally cheap station isn't that far, so went there but it wouldn't actually pump the gas and there was no one there to flip it on. The next one wouldn't read the card outside, but there was no one inside to take it. A fair bit down the way I finally found someone willing to sell me gas. Once up to the top, I didn't see the rusted sculpture described, so went all the way to the top of the hill where valets were parking cars. Figured that wasn't where I wanted to be, so asked them. They knew of a sculpture of a golfer a little down a side street, but it was bronze not rusted and I had a sense that no one would want to take note of it. I decided to go with the big parking lot at the end of the golf course, which seemed to work because I did find a bit of sculpture that looked more creative. Also needed creative parking to find a spot and on the second time through found one. Unfortunately, after all that, the group of people who seemed to be gathering near the start when I first pulled through had taken off.

It wasn't too hard to figure out where the trail was, though, with all the trail signs with maps and the "You are entering a wilderness area..." signs. I started up it. It seemed a little steeper than is usual. It's also a little more single minded about direction than normal. It follows many tight little switchbacks lacing up the edge of sharp ridges from time to time. Once it dropped a few feet downward and for a bit it went flat, but then it was back to even more tight lacing switchbacks.

The very pointy hills ringed with trail.
The start of more switchbacks like shoe laces on the edge of the ridge looking back at the one length of flat and elevation loss. A use trail wraps to the other side of a small peak, maybe for a better view. A second trail meanders downward.

As I climbed further, I could see communication towers in the fog. This seemed like it was likely the destination. The fog thickened up as I went and this got harder to see as I got closer to it. Off to the north, there seemed to be a fairly steep and long slope, but there was really very little that could be seen. A fire had come through the area at some point not too many years ago and some bushes still bore the signs. A fork came up and I took the left. This section of trail had all its structures burned and unrepaired and significant water damage had occurred.

The fog came up even thicker.
Old fire damage and thick clouds behind quickly obscuring the vegetation beyond.

Off to the right (south), the land wasn't quite so steep but still enough to have been difficult to navigate. The fog of the moment was a little more open to that side. For the moment.

Can't even see down now the fog is so thick.
Similar burn damage in a small break in the moving fog.

Reaching the top, I finally caught up with the likely group. It turned out there were, indeed, the geeks. They were also about ready to leave. The communication towers, sufficiently visible before for recognition, were now just a generally darker blob. The immediate area was quite open in the fog, but it quickly closed in all around. Little could be seen downward. I took off a little bit after them and promptly stepped on a clean and slick with wet bit of wood for the trail. My foot didn't stop where I set it or after slipping about 1.5 feet along it. I caught myself with my hand on it badly and added a nice bruise almost at my back. Whatever was done to the thumb actually hurt more later on.

Continuing down with more selective foot falls, I took the second bit of trail that went around the washout areas. It was smooth and not very steep at all and really very pleasant travel. It was also thinner with the high grasses crowding in since most people braved the trenches instead.

A peak at the usually baked hillside.
A glimpse of the canyon to the south shows areas that are not as dense with vegetation.

Coming to the first junction with trails to the road below, I took a bit more new route. This dropped quickly to trees below and a picnic area. Following the road was a pleasant, though harder surface, way back to the start.

©2011 Valerie Norton
Posted 8 May 2011

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