20 August 2016

Holy Jim Falls

Cleveland National Forest

With my sister back in the state, she wanted to get another of the particularly old geocaches. This one is a little past a popular waterfall fabled for its graffiti. I decided I might get to see what all the fuss is about, although was not too excited about the second part. I borrowed the Explorer to come down because I wanted to poke around the roads and peaks above the waterfall. Unfortunately there are seasonal gates on those roads and the season they are closed for is fire, not winter. They were locked up tight and the only thing I got out of bringing the larger vehicle is an easier drive along the last 1.5 miles of road to the trailhead. Taking it in the Scion would have been exciting, I am sure. I grabbed a shady spot under some trees just before the fire station while the main parking is actually just after. There are at least a dozen vehicles there and four or five are small cars with clearance around 6" like mine.

Holy Jim Volunteer Fire Station
The Holy Jim Volunteer Fire Station next to a bit of road that is not at all challenging.

The parking lot is just before a fork with one heading off to another trail and the other passing by a bunch of cabins. A map shows an overview of the area with mileages marked. From here to the closed roads above is only 4.5 miles. It feels like it will get hot along the way. We need to head past the cabins, so we do. Two roads go that way and we just go along the one that is handy. It gets to a cabin and stops, but there is a short scramble up to the correct road to get us passing by the rest of the cabins. The last has a supply of water and a note that basically states they do not want to have to go out and save you, so please drink some water.

peacock that has shed its tail feathers
Odd things happen among the cabins. We are approached by a peacock with a cry like a goose rather than the haunting squawk they usually emit.

19 August 2016

Millard Canyon Falls

Angeles National Forest

Last time I was in Millard Canyon, the area of the falls was closed as part of the Station Fire as it had been the two times before. It did not burn and the canyon above it had long been opened, but this little island remained closed. It seemed a very senseless closure, but a tall fence was erected across the canyon to enforce it and a nanny-cam Teddy bear was added halfway up a tree to at least give the illusion of video surveillance. The fence came to the campground host's compound of trailers and he clearly had been going past it plenty. This was my favorite waterfall of the many local ones to choose from, so the whole thing really annoyed me. Maybe if I had seen one of Rubio's 100 foot falls in good flow, it would be different, but this one has artistry and those are hard to get to.

This time, there is a bright new sign for Sunset Ridge Trail coming down from above as I enter the campground. There are actually campers here today. It is a walk in, but that is not the least bother for the folks touring on bicycles. At the end, the campground host has clearly changed and the area can no longer really be described as a compound. Past that is open canyon.

canyon opening
The opening of the narrow canyon. No more nanny-cam on the three in the middle and, more importantly, no more chain link across it all.

13 August 2016

Ortega Reservoir via Polo Club


The Montecito Trails Foundation maintains paths along easements and beside some roads primarily as bridal paths but also allow hikers and sometimes bicycles. Many of these follow the creeks of the area. One of the weekend hikes the Sierra Club puts on was going to follow some of these, and I decided to tag along. This one starts along one of those creek trails, then climbs past lemons and winds steeply up the side of a canyon to get to the covered reservoir. We got stories all along the way and ate some lunch at the top before returning a slightly different route. I took only a few pictures along the way.

polo ground
Starting off passing a manicured bit of grass surrounded by flowers.