Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hike 63: Hacienda Hills

I've been looking over the access and trail maps for the Puente Hills Landfill Native Habitat Preservation Authority the last few weeks, checking to see if there are any more trails I haven't been on, yet. Near as I could figure, the "Puma trail" out of the Seventh Avenue access point is the last major segment I hadn't been on, yet. So, on this day (Monday, May 24), when I knew I had limited time, and with the weather relatively cool, I finally did it.

To get to the trailhead, I took the Pomona Freeway (CA-60) to Seventh Avenue, then went south until I reached the small parking lot for the hiking trail, just south of Orange Grove. My route went up the Ahwingna trail for .8 mile, then on the Native Oak trail for 1 mile, then left at the Puma Trail. From there, it was on to the Schabarum Trail for .5 miles south, then north/east from the top of the Ahwingna trail. To add a little more distance to my hike, I then went back up the Native Oak trail for just about a mile, then took then turned northeast for about .3 miles, to the west end of Orange Grove Avenue. I walked back to my car along Orange Grove. Total mileage was a bit over 5 miles.

As I've mentioned before, this is not an especially scenic route, but it is nice, and it is a place to get away from the pavement in a relatively short period of time. If I lived on the other side of the 605, I'd probably hike out here more often.

Despite the coolish weather, reptiles were still active. Shortly after I started up the Native Oak trail, I came across a snake, laying across nearly the entire trail. Given the relatively narrow head of this snake, and the relative narrowness of its body for the length, I'd wager this was a gopher snake.

Not much further up the trail, I came across a good-sized (6-8 inches) lizard. [edit--a check on line allowed me to identify him as a coast whiptail. He looked similar to, but much smaller and darker than, a similar lizard I saw at the base of Bailey Canyon, ten days earlier].

Flowers are still blooming on this trail, although the thistle has largely gone from purple spiny to puffy and white. The false daisy were common, as were the mustard. [edit--I just got this CD called "Plants of the San Gabriel Mountains: Foothills and Canyons." What I thought was a false daisy, they have photographs of the same plant listed as "cliff aster." So I learned something new already!]

After finishing the circuit described above, I headed down towards Orange Grove Avenue. I passed the remains of an old oil well, as well as several water tanks.

At the bottom of the hill, sprinklers worked to keep the urban interface green and fire resistant. Beavertail were in full bloom.

Given the coolish temperatures forecast for the next few days, it's possible I'll make one more hike in the area before returning to the San Gabriel Mountains.


  1. Thanks. :D

    I ran across a fair number in late spring and early summer. Probably more rattlers than anything else, but a few gopher snakes and a few garter snakes.