Friday, May 7, 2010

Hike 54: Eaton Canyon to Cobb Estate

Hiked May 4, via Altadena Crest Trail. I also walked up the canyon that the Sam Merrill Trail crosses. Not sure about the name of this canyon--I think it's either Flores or Las Flores Canyon.

Hiking-wise, I've been pretty much a slug this week. That's been due to a combination of factors. Some days (like today), there's no excuse--just laziness. Other days this week, I've either had job interviews/oral examinations, job applications, or personal family obligations to take care of.

I think tomorrow, I'll take the Vulcan/Azusa Rock van to hike Fish Canyon the easy way. For now, this is my latest hike.

I've done this section of the Altadena Crest several times this year. The only variation was at the end. When I have started up towards Echo Mountain in the past, I heard the sound of running water in the canyon to the east. There's never been any water making it as far as where the Sam Merrill Trail crosses this canyon, but the ground there has been wet.

This hike started at the Pinecrest access point to the Altadena Crest Trail, which is about a mile north of the Eaton Canyon Nature Center. I parked on Crescent. Unlike Pinecrest, which limits parking to two hours on weekdays (and prohibits parking altogether on weekends), there's no time limit for Crescent. This means heading north on Altadena, past the Eaton Canyon Nature Center and past the roadside parking that overlooks Eaton Canyon. As Altadena starts curving to the west, there's Crescent enters from the north. I turned right on Crescent and parked where this segment of Crescent reaches Pinecrest. From there, it's a short walk along Pinecrest to the gate at the top of the old Mount Wilson Toll Road.

Down the Toll Road, and hang a sharp left just before you reach the bridge. From there, the trail climbs steeply up a number of switchbacks. It's significantly steeper than the Toll Road, which you can see behind you as you climb. The trail is also steeply rutted and eroded in places. Although it's a multiple user trail, I ruts and steepness make this trail much less attractive to mountain bikers than the Toll Road.

Sagebrush was still blooming crazy on this trail. Here was the largest single sage bush I had ever seen--probably eight feet in diameter!

As I looked to the northeast, I could see a large USFS helicopter hovering, then landing, then taking off from Chantry Flats. I've been seeing and hearing helicopters practically every hike this year, which I assuem they're hard at work, getting ready for the next fire season.

The Altadena Crest Trail intersects the Sam Merrill Trail right near the start of the Sam Merrill. The waterfountain there means you don't even need to carry water on this hike.
Once at the Cobb Estate, I headed north. The first 150 yards or so is on the Altadena Crest Trail. The ACT then branches off to the west. The use trail continues north. Within another 100 yards or so, a trail branches off to the right, into the canyon. (Had you stayed on the road, you'd soon reach the large, mostly-underground watertank that I assume provides water for Altadena or Pasadena).

The trail heading into the canyon is very narrow in places. Nonetheless, it's a short bit before you reach the end of the road. Once there, you're in what could be a pretty little alcove, except for the graffiti on the rocks around you. I've cropped that out of my pictures because I don't see any reason to publicize their pee-like scribblings.

There's a pipe where water trickles into the alcove. Above the pipe is what looks like a tunnel. All of this is set off by the remains of a stone wall. Don't know if this is strictly a water development or if this used to be a gold mine.

There's also a tiny seasonal waterfall at the head of this canyon. That's the picture at the top of this post.

The return walk to my car took 1:20 minutes at a moderate pace, so I'm estimating a distance of 6.5, miles roundtrip.

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