Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hike 31: Eaton Canyon Nature Center to Sam Merrill Trail via Altadena Crest Trail

Friday, March 5. ~7 miles.

I hiked this section just a few weeks previously, except I started this time from the nature center instead of from the Pinecrest access. That adds two miles to the distance.

The point of yesterday's hike was to get a little exercise in before the rain I expected on Saturday and Sunday. But I had to keep it short because my feet were still recovering from Wednesday. My destination today was actually a little random. When I got into my car, I still wasn't sure where I was going to drive. However, Eaton Canyon is the closest trailhead to my house, so there was a pretty good chance this is where I'd wind up.

As I drove up Altadena Drive, these movie location shooting signs were on the corner of Altadena and Washington:

I've noticed these signs are pretty ubiquitous in this area. I see them almost every time I go hiking. I suspect it's because the San Gabriel Valley, with the many larger, older homes and mature trees, lets some neighborhoods stand in for eastern cities. There are also lots of older parks, both developed and semi-wilderness, that can stand in for other locations.

Also, if you're in Hollywood, you can shoot across on the 101 to the 134 to the 210, and that puts these places within the thirty-mile zone of their studio bases.

On the drive up to Altadena, I also realized that I forgot to toss anything to drink in the car. That was another reason to make the day's hike short.

So I parked in the nature center lot. Plenty of bushy flowers. Kinda look like daisies, but I don't know what they are. That's the picture at the top of this blog entry.

Other yellow flowers in the area were oxalis, which most folks consider a weed. Non-native, but still kinda pretty.

Walked north the mile to the bridge, crossed the bridge, then headed up the Altadena Crest trail (ACT). Still wasn't sure how far I would go, at least not at first. Then I figured out that the Sam Merrill trailhead made a good destination because there'd be water there. So I walked along, with just my camera, cell phone, and car keys.

Figured I'd mainly be taking pictures of flowering things.

First flowery thing I saw on the ACT was this tree. Don't know what kind of tree it is:

Other flowers I saw, but many of which I did not:

Probably some variety of broom, maybe scale broom.

Probably a variety of acacia.

Indian paintbrush.

No idea.

No idea here, either. The flowers are from a thin vine, not the large-leafed shrub it's growing across.

Prickley Pear.

California buckwheat.

Another "don't know."

As I mentioned the last time, the ACT exits the mountains at Zane Grey, just a little east of Loma Alta. You've got to walk about 1/4 mile on the road to get to the final section leading up to the Sam Merrill Trail. Along Loma Alta, there was an end-couch that was there the last time. The funny part is that, this time, there were muddy dog footprints right across it. I just imagine that a dog was making his daily rounds and decided he had to visit the people furniture thing standing in his way.

After arriving at the Sam Merrill trailhead, I stopped for a nice long drink from the fountain there. I also ate a Cliff's bar. Then I returned to Eaton Canyon.

Drank some more water there. :D

I also saw an amazing quantity of poison oak along that stretch, and what I assume was a red-tailed hawk eating a rabbit for lunch.

Poison oak.

Hawk standing on dead rabbit.

Hope this all make some sense. I'm a little tired as I write this, and I keep catching typos!

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