Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hike 57--Arroyo San Miguel, Arroyo Pescadero and Deer Loop

Hiked Tuesday, May 11. 6.2 miles.

Today's trailhead was off of Colima Road in the hills between Whittier and Hacienda Heights. I took the Pomona Freeway east, exited at Hacienda Blvd, headed south, then turned right at Colima. I returned by continuing on Colima, turning right on Whittier, right again at Painter, then left at Beverly. I took Beverly past the 605 to Rosemead Blvd, then headed north. In retrospect, I think the Pomona Freeway approach is definitely quicker.

This parking area is "improved," as so far as Puente Hills Landfill Native Habitat Authority trailheads go--it had a a large map of the area on a wooden sign structure, a drinking fountain and a porta-potty. The lot had room for about eight cars, and it was pretty full both when I got there and when I left. Unlike any of the other Authority trailheads I've been to, however, these trails are dead-ends. There is no trail access from here to any of the other trailheads.

There appear to be three trails leaving the parking lot, although all three go to the same place. One is supposed to be wheelchair accessible. Not sure what the point of the other two are.

After about 100 feet, there are signs pointing to various trails. I turned right, starting out on the Arroyo Pescadero trail, but continuing straight even though the trail then became the Arroyo San Miguel Trail. At the start, it's paved. The pavement goes up a slope, then curves down and under Colima Road. On the other side, it winds to the left, generally heading east or east-northeast. Hills are on either side of you. Colima Road is to your left. Across a small gully, the hill to your right is topped by mega-sized homes.

Currently, trail on either side of Colima is very unattrac-tive. According to a sign I passed, they are in the second year of a five year plan to restore the native habitat of the area. In the meantime, the road here is literally roped off on either side, to try to keep hikers on the path and out of the restoration area (that's the picture at the start of this post). I also saw a large dumpster filled with mustard plants, a whole lot of trees (probably eucalyptus) cut to the stump, and areas criss-crossed by plastic water pipes and sprinklers. Native plants were flowering in some spots, while the invasive mustards were also blooming thickly.

According to the Authority map, it is 1.3 miles from Colima Road to the end of the Arroyo San Miguel Trail. There's also a gain of 300 feet or so. The trail ends when it runs into what google maps says is where Las Palomas Drive turns into Le Flore Drive. There's a fire road gate here, and a large area that could serve as parking, except for the "No Parking" signs all around. Mega-mansions dominate the view. I guess this trail access is intended strictly for nearby residents.

On the way back, I passed this lizard. Pretty common.
As I eased closer to take another shot, he raised up on his legs and filled himself with air. I thought he was trying to intimidate me, but he soon darted off and chased a smaller lizard away from his territory.

I returned the way I came, crossed under Colima again, then hung a right to take the Arroyo Pescadero trail.

Just as you leave the Arroyo San Miguel trail and begin the Arroyo Pescadero trail, there's a large, circular bench. I suppose they give talks there.

Interestingly, the sides of this bench reveal an amalgamum of seashells.

The Arroyo Pescadero trail is nicer than the Arroyo San Miguel Trail. It's got older growth (although a lot of the growth in the lower end of the arroyo is Eucalyptus). But, more importantly, this arroyo is wider than many I've ventured into in the Puente Hills. This meant it didn't feel as claustaphobic.

1.3 miles along the main part of this trail, followed by .8 miles of the Deer Loop, then the last .7 miles back to the lot.

The Deer Loop is not as nice as the Arroyo Pescadero section. You're closer to homes, and most of the view is dominated by Eucalyptus. The flowering plants were higher up the arroyo.

Sights along the way:

A mass of blue flowers. The plant looked like a fiddleneck, though I don't know if that's what this is. The only ones I'd seen before had yellow flowers.

Beavertail cactus in bloom.

Something that looks like a fuzzy red ant. I saw one of these yesterday elsewhere in the Puente Hills, and also when I was in the Antelope Valley poppy reserve. Apparently, they're called "velvet ant," although they're a type of wasp. I learned that in about four seconds by googling "fuzzy red ant." Technology!

Cliff aster, which I have come to learn are pretty common on dry hillsides all around southern California.

Bright orange-red flowers on this single crawling vine I passed on the Arroyo Pescadero trail.

More monkey flower.

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