Monday, July 5, 2010

Hike 73: Little Santa Anita Canyon to Decker Springs

According to the sign at the start of this hike, it's 3.1 miles each way, with a net gain of 1900 feet. I don't know if it was the heat (only mid-70s) or the humidity or what, but I felt surprisingly tired after this hike.

I got a late start because I didn't know I had the free time to take it until nearly noon. Also, I first intended to go to Sturdevant Falls or someplace around Chantry Flat.
However, it turns out that a lot of people got July 5th off, because the lot there was filled and cars were parked 1/2 mile down from the lot. That still wouldn't have made the hike all that long, but it obviously did mean the trail would have been packed. To avoid the super dense crowd, I drove back down Santa Anita Ave, turned west on to Grandview, and continued a little less than a mile, to Mountain Trail Avenue. Mountain Trail goes up to the base of the mountain, then turns left, where the street becomes Mira Monte Ave. If you come from this way, Mt. Wilson Trail Road is just after the little park, on your right. That's where I left my car.
I needed to get back home by around 4pm, so I was debating how short of a hike I would keep it. The rapid onset of tiredness made me settle on Decker Spring. It's a spot where what I presume to be a seasonal spring crosses the trail, just 4/10ths of a mile short of Orchard Camp. Most day hikers turn around at either First Water or Orchard Camp. For me, First Water was too short of a hike, but I didn't want to go all the way to Orchard Camp because I was hoping to conserve energy for a much longer hike on Tuesday (I was thinking of trying Mt. San Jacinto, but the way I'm feeling now, I may put that one off to Wednesday).

Despite it being July, we've actually had a pretty mild summer so far. So, although many plants are drying up, a surprising number of wildflowers are still holding on. In the lower reaches, cliff aster (white) is still very thick. That's what the butterfly above is snacking on.

Higher up, some striking red flowers are in bloom. When I came to one particularly striking specimen, a hummingbird was feeding. I snapped about a half-dozen pictures, and was surprised he put up with me. Might have been able to take more pictures, but I had to keep swating at bugs and bees!

Not sure what the pale purple flower (two shots up) is, but if I have time, I'll look it up. The purple and yellow flower three shots up looks an awful lot like California aster to me.

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