Friday, August 27, 2010

Hike 83: Henninger Flats

Hiked Friday, August 27.

Oh, my heck! It's been two weeks since my last hike? No wonder I'm so tired!

This week, like last week, was full of little events that seemed to conspire to keep me out of the mountains. Actually, the nasty heat was no small part of that--If the weather was nicer, I probably would have gone on at least an evening hike in there somewhere.

Fortunately for my hiking plans, the triple digit temps of this week seem to be over, at least for a few days. The marine layer was again making its way into the valleys.

But even if it was going to get warmer, I felt I just *had* to get some hiking in today. Woke up naturally around 6am, did a few chores around the house, and left by a few minutes after 7am. My car was parked in the Eaton Canyon Nature Center and I was heading out on the trail by 7:32am (according to my phone).

I'm not sure when the last time was that I was out on this trail so early in the day. I made the pleasant "discovery" that, in the morning, a fairly large chunk of the trail is shaded. Between the cooler, high-60s temperature of the morning and the shaded sections, this hike was pretty comfortable. I'm still glad I was carrying a 1/2 liter of water, but I'm sure I would have survived fine without it.

Thanks to the cool temps, the rattlesnake I ran across was taking his sweet time making his way along the road. I saw several other spots along the road where snakes had crossed.

Here's a close-up of his rattle. I'm not sure if that's 10 or 11 segments, but he's a pretty old one, right?

Despite my many times up the trail, I have not paid much attention to how long it takes to get up. Today, I did. I took the steep "shortcut" trail from the Eaton Canyon Trail up to the toll road, and reached the toll road almost exactly 30 minutes after leaving my car. About twenty minutes later, I passed the "You've walked two miles, and have .7 miles to go to Henninger Flats" sign. I still don't know if it's supposed to be two miles from the visitor center or from the bridge, or whether it's by the shortcut, or the long way.

Reached Henninger Flats just a few minutes after 8:30am. The gibbous moon was already fading into the haze, and was just above the trees of the flats. You can also see the moon if you look on the left side of the "Henninger Flats" sign picture at the top of this post. It's bigger and more obvious in the picture at the end of this post, too.

I thought it usually took me longer to get up there. I didn't stop for many pictures this time, so that probably helped. Also, I didn't stay up at the "top" very long, either. I needed to get home by 10:30am at the very latest. Turns out I got back to my car by a few minutes after 9:30am, and was back home before 10am.

Just about the same time going up as coming down, which is a little surprising. I did stop for more pictures on the way down. And, probably because I haven't hiked in two weeks, I was feeling a little tired by the time I got back. That's sad.

Here were a few shots of the winding toll road. The lower one here has a mountain biker, coasting back down into Eaton Canyon. He's actually in the previous picture, too, but much smaller and less obvious.

I'm pretty sure my next hike will be on Sunday. If the weather stays reasonably cool, I'm thinking of heading up Bailey Canyon, on to the toll road, then up to Mt. Wilson.

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