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.

The trail has changed. After so long without feet, it had to be rebuilt. Of course, all they would need to have a trail is to open it. The feet would have come to beat a path. The canyon is so narrow, it would not have been much different from this one. There are spots where they tried to go higher, but the dirt is already showing it will not hold up long. As I go, there are all sorts of details I had forgotten.

green painted cement opening in the rock
One forgotten detail is the mysterious hole like a mine equipped with a doorway. It has always been green.

creek across the path
Crossing the creek while a snake went the other way almost hidden by bushes. There is not a lot of flow today.

random old pipe
Not forgotten is that there is always a bit of old pipe somewhere.

I do remember the place well enough to know when I am about to turn the last corner before the waterfall. It is hidden by a tree as I do and I can barely hear water landing in the pool, but this is definitely the spot.

almost there
Almost there but still hidden. The smoothed stones are a bit of a give away.

Sure enough, once past the tree, there is waterfall. The boulder at the top remains lodged there. Water is pouring from all around it. I had not expected that it would be covering so much of the waterfall with such a little flow. It may not be in its glory after all the drought years, but it is still quite nice.

Millard Falls
At the waterfall and taking it in.

boulder at the top
Up close and personal with the boulder.

The sides of the canyon seem to tell a tale of a retreating waterfall that grew as it moved. The climbing anchors still trace out at least 4 routes up the smoothed stone.

old sides of the waterfall
Smoothed rock that looks rather like it was once the edge of the waterfall.

climbing anchors
The climbing anchors go up both sides of the canyon.

I sit for a while and just enjoy the waterfall. Its gentle flow is perfectly audible beside it.

in the cracks
Various plants hang on tightly in the waterfall and beside it.

shallow pool at the foot
Not too much to splash into the shallow pool.

damsel flies making more
Damsel flies doing their bit to continue the species.

Millard Canyon Falls
Another angle looking right up the waterfall.

After a rather long time, I turn back. It is time to face the traffic.

mostly dead tree
A tree with a hard life beside the trail.

stipes of pink in the rock.
Stripes of pink in the rock.

damsel fly on iron
Another damsel fly by an old bit of water control.

short rock dam
The last of the many little dams in the canyon. This is back to where the fence was erected for too many years.

©2016 Valerie Norton
Posted 25 August 2016

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