Saturday, September 6, 2014

Hike 2014.043 -- Shoemaker Canyon

Hiked Tuesday, August 12. One of numerous hikes from the past that I need to blog. Shoemaker Canyon is sometimes called the "Tunnel to Nowhere." Like its more famous cousin (The Bridge to Nowhere), this is a hike that takes you to a defunct road project.

In this case, the road was to be an additional evacuation route from the Los Angeles Basin. At some point, I guess they figured the road didn't actually serve any useful purpose, so it was shelved. What's left is a road cut and a couple of tunnels that combine to give you a nice four-mile-ish hike, high above the East fork of the San Gabriel River.
The trailhead is at the end of the paved portion of Shoemaker Canyon Road, which splits off from East Fork Road, just a few miles west of Glendora Mountain Road. In other words, if you've come up from CA-39 and you reach Glendora Mountain Road, you've gone too far. If you reach the trailhead for the Bridge to Nowhere, you've also gone too far.
On this particular day, it was a late afternoon hike I took, after jury duty (at the time, I was serving on a criminal court jury), with enough time for just a short stretching of the legs. But it had been a few years since my last visit, so it seemed like a nice time to return to the area.
The views today were great. The sun was low, the clouds were colorful, and the mountains were warmly lit with the long rays of late afternoon.
As I ap-proached the first tunnel, I heard rocks tumbling down the nearby cliff. After some scanning, I found the source--a couple of deer, trying to put some distance between themselves and me.
I took many pictures, but most were of the deer's hind-quarters. The shot above is the only one with their faces clear. The next shot is a crop of the previous one.
It being the middle of a long drought, and their obviously being not a lot of grass or water nearby, I felt bad for making the deer exert so much energy on account of me. So I turned around there, a little earlier than I planned.
On the way back, I practically walked right into the largest tarantula I had ever seen. I've seen a number, both in the local mountains and in the Mojave Preserve. But, really, this guy (or girl) was huge.
Continuing back to my car, I frequently passed the sound of many buzzing bees. They were forcing their way in to numerous blazing star flowers.

Got back before it was completely dark, and felt pretty good about my day's short little hike. Better than nothing, anyway.


  1. Skyhiker, you'll have to write a book one day about your time in the mountains down there. Keep hiking!

  2. I should have taken better notes to write that book! :D