10 July 2011

Hostetter Fire Road

Verdugo Mountains

Locate the trailhead.

The Verdugo Mountains are the dark spot I see far out to the right with the 210 snaking along at the bottom of them when I look out from one of the many perches in Pasadena at night. No part of them is very far from an accessible road and they are criss-crossed with fire roads. The folks at hikethegeek planned to hike about them and I decided to join up. I found the parking immediately south of the 210 on La Tuna Canyon.

A gate blocks vehicle entry, but the pavement continues beyond it. The road nearly parallels the 210 for a quarter mile before turning to climb up into the mountains. Eventually, the pavement gives way to well maintained dirt. It came to a large fire break and a number of bee boxes. The group decided, quite sensibly, to continue along the very winding road instead of the direct and sometimes quite steep route of the break, but we watched others follow the break on up.

The freeway was finally lost in the windings, giving the walk a more wild sense. At times it seemed far more windy than could ever be necessary to climb up a little mountain. It connected up with the fire break again, and a few people decided they'd done enough. It met up with Verdugo Motorway along the top, so we had a choice to make. To the right was a delightful, much more narrow and less used road and to the left was clearly the high point of the local area so we went on the road more traveled.

Yet more windings along, still many more than could be needed but it is very strict about keeping a constant upward movement, we made it up to the top. Well, nearly there. The top was quite occupied by fenced off communications towers, so we could only take a turn around near the top. Achieving the goal, as much as there was one, we soaked in the view (although visibility was not as good as one might hope) and turned back for the start.

Coming again to the firebreak, this time I chose to go down it. It turned out to have a lot of soft stuff and often achieve a 45 degree angle. This was fine going down since a simi-controlled slip could be very effective for traversal, but it would have just made the way up miserable. I wondered again at the people who had decided to do so. I also got sand in my socks.

getting up to Verdugo Motorway
Reaching Verdugo Motorway, there are helpful signs to tell us which road we are starting down whichever way we turn at the intersection. It's actually much smaller going the other way.

along the top of the Verdugos
Verdugo Motorway snaking away along the ridge line and past some of the many communication towers.

lower tops
Looking out along the backbone of the Verdugos.

a rather thick aired day out over Los Angeles
Glendale and Burbank and some Los Angeles, but it is greatly obscured by the thick air of the day. It's been rather humid, so it's not all smog out there.

bee boxes at the end of the firebreak
Heading down the firebreak. The bee boxes, the freeway, and the utility roads heading up on the other side come into view and will be lost again as elevation is lost with a vengeance.

©2011 Valerie Norton
Posted 15 July 2011

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