Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hike 2014.003 -- Legg Lake

Hiked Monday, January 27. Guess I'll be posting backwards for a while. This was my third hike of the year. It was an after-work thing, so I had little time before the sun set and I completely lost my light.

Most locals referred to this entire developed area as "Legg Lake" (or, if you're a kid, "Lake Lake"), but Legg Lake is actually only the southernmost of three small man-made lakes in the midst of the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area.

The Whittier Narrows itself is the relatively narrow passage between the Montebello Hills (to the west) and the Puente, Hacienda, or Whittier Hills (to the east). Both the Rio Hondo and the San Gabriel River must pass through this area. In pre-modern days, the rivers frequently switched beds, washing back and forth over the narrows. In more modern days, both rivers are nearly entirely encased in concrete. An exception is the short segment of the Rio Hondo that passes just north and south of the Pomona Freeway (CA-60), right near Legg Lake.

Despite the proximity, these lakes are not river impound-ments, nor even formal settling basins for this rare bit of water in an arid country. But the area is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers, and, were the twin rivers ever to really flood like in the days of old, this entire area would certainly be one of the places inundated with water.

But, until that happens, Legg Lake is just a really nice place to take a walk in the morning or evening. Numerous dirt, asphalt, or concrete trails crisscross the area and circumnavigate the collection of lakes. Within the lakes are numerous large islands that provide a safe haven for migrating and non-migratory waterfowl.

If I were an expert avian expert, I could tell you all the birds I saw. Instead, all I can say is that there were a lot. Definitely plenty of Canada geese, and numerous heron and egret. LOTS of ducks, geese and coots.

I walked and photographed for somewhat over an hour, so I'll call it a 3 mile walk Not sure what the actual distance around each of the lakes would be.

This is definitely no wilderness trip. The Pomona Freeway roars to the north. Rosemead Blvd (CA-19) hums to the west. Santa Anita Avenue is on your east. Durfee Road is to the south. The grass is manicured. But the islands and lakes do attract the aforementioned waterfowl, and they provide lots of free entertainment. :D

This area is also linked to other bicycle and hiking trails along the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel Rivers, so the possibilities are pretty endless if you wanted to extend your hike or ride. For me, with the darkness falling, three miles was all I had time for.

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