Monday, March 28, 2016
The first visit is linked here; the second one is linked here. I feel like I'd been here at least once additional time, yet I could not find a third post in a quick google search, so perhaps those were my only visits; if so I should visit, again.
My initial plan was to head for the ridgeline between the Sylmar side fo the mountains and the Placertia Canyon side. However, as is often the case, I got distracted.
The paved road to access Wilson Canyon Park is well-signed. However, parking there requires a $5 fee, and you sometimes feel like a sucker when you pay for something you could so easily not pay for. And you do not pay if you park on the street, and walk in.
Instead, the trail appears to lead to an old home site. There's brick walls or brick retaining walls, flat concrete pads, and the remains of a power box attached to a wooden power line pole. There were also red oleander in bloom, and burned skeletons of what might have been a few fruit trees or shade trees. I'd guess it very roughly as one mile up.
Meanwhile, for the return, there were several options. I could return the way I came, or I could head down the canyon to my west. A well-defined trail headed down into that canyon.
At the bottom, it was wet, though I could not tell if this was a perennial source of water.
As I neared the ridge, the Canterbury bell became thick. Yellow flowers of wild mustard were also common. And there were a WHOLE bunch of large caterpillar, perhaps several variety.
Overall, I had seen a nice collection of flowers: lots of blue dick, lots of filaree, lots of morning glory, some scattered lupine, and several concentrations of purple nightshade.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
I've gotten off to a very slow rate of hiking this year. I'm also still struggling to find the time to blog what hikes I do take. This hike was taken at the end of last week. It was my second visit to Death Valley this spring.
The previous blog entry, for example, included a mere 3/4 to one mile, along the road. Very pretty, though. Also, the pictures do not fully convey the feeling of looking over those rolling hills of yellow. It's an amazing sight.
The descriptions I read gave a distance of three miles to the waterfall at the canyon's end, with about half that distance being the walk across the relative flat of the alluvial fan to get to the canyon mouth. In real life, however, I felt as thoough, distance-wise, it was more like 2/3 of the distance was spent on the flats. Much of that was just cross-country.
The wildflowers became more common once in a wash.
The waterfall is described as perennial. Still, the flow was not that high, despite this being winter, and with the heavy rain the night before. Probably more magical in the summer time, when it's crazy hot.
So whether the other car owners went up some other canyon, or just left their car there and road off with someone else's car for a while, I don't know. But I didn't see them during my walk to and from Monarch Canyon.
It's probably a record visitation year for Death Valley National Park.
I have one more trip planned for the park, in early April. So, I shall return. I'm hoping to get at least one decent hike out of that trip, but I'm mostly going for the astronomy outreach. That's assuming they get back to me with additional information, as I have requested. "Marsfest" is April 8-10.
Friday, March 18, 2016
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
So now I had no real plan. But I hopped in the car and drove to Griffith Park, anyway. I had figured out it only takes me about 25 minutes from garage to parking lot, which is as fast as I can get to the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. Weird, but true. Because I think I had previously noted that, growing up, Griffith Observatory always seemed so far away.
I went on up the Charlie Turner Trail, slowly gaining altitude as I walked to the west, and snapping many pictures along the way. Then I gained altitude while heading east. I snapped some shots of folks at the ridgeline, where the trail spits, with the choice of either looping around to the west or to the east, but either route giving you the option of reaching the top of Mount Hollywood.
I continued south, past the restroom. Initially, I stayed on the east side of the road. But I crossed over to the Greek side when I reached the wide but short paved road that runs immediately south of the Greek Theater.
Saturday, March 5, 2016
I knew I was coming before peak, but I had the time, and the motivation to make a drive out here. Figured I'd check now, and maybe come back in April. But, because it was early season, I knew the trails would be empty and I'd have the trails largely to myself.
And, as expected, there were only a few patches of orange. Not enough rain, and the early warmth / late freeze killed a lot of the poppy plants.
I hiked out there a few weeks ago.
As of today, I'm also planning to return to Death Valley next week, too. That's why I'm rooting for a bit more rain there this weekend.
Previous trips have been drier, with poppies, without poppies, with some poppies, etc. It varies a great deal by year.