Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hike 2012.055 -- Eaton Canyon Falls

Hiked Thursday, August 9.

Apparently, Eaton Canyon Park closes earlier now than it used to. I arrived late, just around 7pm, at which point two L.A. County Sheriff's Department patrol cars blocked entrance to the parking lot. It was locked by the time I walked back. Still figured walking would be fine, and I knew I had just about an hour of daylight, which should be enough for the 3-4 miles round trip from the nature center to the waterfall and back.

There were surprisingly few people as I walked down, however, so I worried for a moment that maybe they really were serious about the park closing at 7pm as opposed to "dusk." However, after about ten minutes walking, I passed several people coming out. A few warned me that a young cougar had been spotted in the area earlier. Hiking alone, I that meant I had to be a little more vigilant than normal. That also meant I felt pretty stupid stumbling back out of the park well after 8:30pm.

When I got to the waterfall, it was past sunset. The narrow canyon walls make the area appear even darker. I squeezed off several shots, bracing myself on rocks or with my camera bag on top of rocks. Exposure times of up to 2 seconds resulted.

A couple of hikers were there before me, and two more arrived as I started shooting my carefully-secured camera. Didn't want to relocate it and try to get the balance, again, so I kept shooting. Tried a couple of camera settings. I think the last one pretty accurately reflects the brightness (or lack thereof) as I finished my shooting.

Made my way back, walked slowly and tried to "look big" as I returned to my car. Too dark to tell; if the cougar was sitting down just off the trail, I wouldn't have seen him. I so I kept my camera and car keys handing to try to stab him, in the unlikely event that I was attacked. I was not, of course.

Roundtrip distance on this hike I usually give as 3 miles, but I'm thinking it's actually a little further than that from the nature center. Also, I actually parked on the street and had to walk several hundred yards just to get to the nature center, so I'll call it 4 miles for the day. Water's pretty low, but I'm not sure if that's the lowest I've ever seen it. Even inside of the mouth of the canyon, a good part of the wash is dry.


  1. What a wimpy waterfall :)

    I suppose that I went to Eaton Canyon at the right time. To this day, I still post the picture on my home page. Cool spot...

  2. Been there when it was roaring like Lower Yosemite Falls, and been there when the water was so high I couldn't even make it up the canyon. It's a wash, in the desert sense of the word. Sometimes dry, sometimes flooding. Always close to my home. ;D