Saturday, November 28, 2015
The trail map is here.
I headed on the main trail, which heads south from the trail head, for .3 miles, then turned left at the Coyote Trail, for 1.2 miles, until it meets the Skyline Trail. Along the way, I gained altitude, and could see the white roofs of warehouses and manufacturing facilities in the City of Industry. The Pomona Freeway was visible before that, and the San Gabriel Mountains were beyond that. A scatter of snow had fallen on the higher reaches of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Unfortunately, I worked last night outdoors, and it got pretty chilly by the end of my shift. Not feeling so hot today, and I have another night shift coming up. Not looking forward to that.
Many hikes to blog, still. This is my last. May try to fit another hike in tomorrow.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Zion's visitor center is a little odd. Yes, there are rangers you can talk to. And, yes, there's a really nice bookstore / gift shop there to buy maps and books and what not. But what interpretive exhibits there are are simply signs in the courtyard outside the building. Also, there's no introductory video, which seems to be a mainstay of the NPS experience. Turns out that's at the Museum of Human History, a stop up canyon.
It leads to the foundation of an ancient grain storage structure. No, it wasn't pyramid shaped (Years from now, people will have no idea that this was a joke. Heck, I'm pretty sure that right now, most people won't get the reference!).
We then returned to the shuttle, and rode that up to the Zion Human History Museum. Not a lot there, either, but they did have the introductory video showing there, so we watched it. It mentioned petroglyphs, so we asked the ranger there if there were any we could visit, and she directed us back near the visitor center. So we hopped back on the shuttle bus and returned to where we had just been. Found the short trail to the petroglypths (probably another 1/2 of mile roundtrip, mostly just getting to the trail and back from the shuttle bus stop), then hopped back on the shuttle bus, to head back up canyon.
Although short, it is pretty, particularly on a fall afternoon. The cascading water drips over a wide cave mouth, and scatters the sunlight that shines into the cave. Also, there was a bit of fall foliage along the way.
We then rode the shuttle to the top of the canyon, then rode it back to the Lodge.
We returned to the Lodge. I used the restroom, then returned to the trail, heading across the bridge, then downstream, to Courtyard of the Patriarchs. This trail goes along the west side of the canyon wall, and passes under the three patriarchs (rock structures, obviously, overlooking the canyon). Shortly after passing them, it crosses a small creek. After another 1/4 mile or so, it reaches a split, with a short loop that would be walked, were one to continue. However, it was getting close enough to dark (this was the day after the switch back to standard time), so I turned around at the start of that loop, and returned to the Lodge. Probably four miles total on this segment of hiking (From the Lodge to Lower Emerald Pool, then to the Courtyard of the Patriarchs, then back to the Lodge).
Unlike the wild turkey I saw in Land Between the Lakes, these showed no fear. They did not run quickly and silently into the denser forest when they saw me. Instead, they just kept grazing. So I got plenty of shots of them. By contrast, I never got a decent shot of a turkey during my Land Between the Lakes hikes.
Food prices are, of course, a little pricey. Figure on $18-25 for most entrees, though usually with a $10 or $12 option hidden away, somewhere. In fact, on the first night, I went with the salad bar buffet, because it included chili as the "soup of the day." Between the chili and bread and all the veggies, I ate very heartily that day.
first, second, and third.
The Canyon de Chelly trip was a lot of fun. If I had to rank it, I'd say I had more fun on that trip than this one. But it also required 3 1/2 days of really serious driving, albeit broken up with some nice little surprises (the little mining town in western AZ, Winslow, and Meteor Crater) along the way.
Can't say I wouldn't want to do this, again. Yeah, maybe in the summer, I'd be willing to camp. But, by the end of October, man did it get cold at night!
And, in fact, the next week, the highs were down in the 40s, as opposed to the mid-60s when we were there. Also, the scenery is beautiful, including at night, and, especially, at twilight. So maybe again next year, or in the spring. We shall see.
So, a lot of short hikes on this trip, totalling 6-7 miles for the weekend. I made well over 30,000 steps on that full day in the park. My wife broke 10K, which is good, for her.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
This hike's been done by me many times. But it's convenient--among the closest possible trailheads, and almost always with at least some water to give the hike some interest. It's also about four miles long, which means I can fit it in to any 3 or 3 1/2 hour block of time I may have. In this case, I arrived near the Nature Center (off of Altadena Drive, just north of New York Drive) about 2:30pm. That means about two hours before sunset. Given that the parking lot is supposed to close "at sunset," that meant there was some chance, if I got hung up along the way, of not making it back before the gate got locked (assuming it was locked on time). To be safe, I took the precaution of parking on the street.
It's another two days or so before the First Quarter moon, so there was a fair crescent visible from the start of the hike. As I entered the canyon, the sunlight still hit the west canyon walls, but the sunlight was well off the floor.
There are some powerlines that cross the canyon. I thought it would be fun to illustrate the cause behind the phases of the moon by shooting one of those balls at almost the same angle relative to the sun as the moon. And, as expected, the "phase" of the ball was, in fact, pretty much the same as the phase of the moon.
Pleasant weather. Funny thing about this canyon hike I've noticed is how, as you walk down the canyon, you may be periodically hit by warm, then cool air. Microclimates are a funny thing.
As for the waterfall, I also shot plenty of shots, including both the full falls and close-up details of the falls, themselves.
About four miles for the day. Well over 15,000 steps for the day, too. ;D
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
As I suspected, I was too late for fall color. Looks like it was a pretty poor season for foliage up here, as well.
Still, Oak Glen Preserve is always a nice little hike. It's got a nice mixture of micro-ecosystems, which makes for year-round interest.
Then, back down the Preservation Point trail, and up the Stream Trail, to the small pond. Then, from there, back to the parking area.
Oak Glen is accessed from either the 10 or 210 freeways. From I-10 (the San Bernardino Freeway), exit at Yucaipa Blvd, then turn left at Oak Glen Road. Follow Oak Glen Road into the town of Oak Glen. Riley's Los Rios Rancho is the home of Oak Glen Preserve.
From the Foothill Freeway (I-210), exit at San Bernardino Road and head east. After a several long blocks, take Orange Street south (right) to Citrus St (CA-38). Take CA-38 about four miles east, to Bryant St (just before the ranger station). Take Bryant Street about two miles east to Oak Glen Road, then turn right, to Oak Glen.
At the southeast corner of Oak Glen and Bryant is a Rite Aid. If you've forgotten any sundry items (batteries, SD card, sun block, water, etc), that's a good place to get it. There's also a Stater Brother's supermarket, on the northeast side of that corner.
Sunday, November 8, 2015
North Etiwanda Preserve as at the north end of Day Creek Blvd. From I-210 (Foothill Freeway), just west of I-15, take the Day Creek Blvd exit and head north approximately 2 1/2 miles.
There are no restroom facilities at the trailhead. There is a pit toilet approximately one mile along the loop trail if you start counterclockwise, or two miles along the way if you go clockwise.
Shortly after the end of the pavement, there are two locked gates, one to the north and one to the west. Those are the two ends of the 3.5 mile loop that traverses the Preserve. Within the preserve are several exhibits that interpret the historically significant remains in the Preserve.
To get to the waterfall, head around the north gate. After a bit more than one mile (distance markers are on the loop at 1/4 mile intervals), you'll reach a multi-directional split. The loop trails would head west. There's a picnic area, a bit to the east. On the other hand, if you go straight, you'll be on the path to the waterfall.
There's a disappointing but not surprising quantity of graffiti down there.
Return to the main trail. Once there, continue further up-canyon. In another 1/8 of a mile or so, you'll reach the top of a set of waterfalls. There'a narrow canyon that links the two sets of waterfalls, which is pretty impossible from the safely-accessible top or bottom.
From what I have seen, it's about 3.5 miles roundtrip if you go from the parking area to the falls and back.
The trail then heads somewhat to the east, then south, and includes an overlook of what is described as a marsh. This whole area looked relatively well-covered in foliage for the area, which is probably due to a high water table that made this place a target for early water development in San Bernardino County.
Somewhere between 4.5 and 5 miles total for the hike. Moderate climb on the way to the falls, then largely level, then a descent. The weather on my hiking day was comfortable. This area can obviously get hotter and windier than it was, in which case you'll want to make sure to have lots of water.