Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hike 98: Sawpit Wash

This turned out to be a very short hike because Monrovia Park was closed and the trail to Monrovia Canyon Falls was also closed.

As I pulled out of my driveway this morning, I was still debating where I might go. I eventually settled on just driving north, thinking maybe Echo Mountain, again. It was a little after 8am as I headed north on San Gabriel Blvd.

For the second or third time in the last year, I realized as I approached Huntington that I shouldn't have come this way. There's a private school at the corner of Huntington and San Gabriel, and if you're passing this way around 8:30am, you're going to get stuck in some lousy traffic. D'oh!

As I approached the 210 freeway, Monrovia Canyon popped into my head. That was probably because there was a story in the local paper about Monrovia's new wilderness park acquisitions, which is going to undergo a CEQA scoping meeting next week.

So I decided on Monrovia Canyon. As I pulled on to the 210, I decided I would try something different. I exited on Mountain and headed north. After about two miles, you reach a stop sign, which is where Foothill runs into Mountain from the west. If you turn east there, you're on a small private road/driveway that soon runs into Sawpit Wash. It's a deadend, but that's where I wanted to go. I knew this trail was supposed to lead up to Monrovia Canyon Park, but I had never walked up this way. So, for variety, I figured, what the heck?

Heading north, I found the walk about as scenic as you would expect a walk along a concrete drainage ditch. Interestingly, however, on the other side of the chain link fence, I saw a deer, munching on some grass and leaves. Yep, no doubt: The deer in Monrovia are tame. I guess the bear are also pretty brave, since they're often taking baths in people's pools and saunas in Monrovia.

The path north from Fooothill crosses above Greystone Avenue, and under Norembega Road. The wash slowly bends to the north. As you approach the Sawpit Canyon Debris Basin, the trail crosses through a fence (one of those with a step-through hole that I suppose is supposed to keep motorcycles and minibikes out but allow people, horses, or mountain bikes to pass through), then heads up to Canyon Blvd. From there, you've got about 2,000 feet until you reach the main entrance for Monrovia Canyon Park.

I was planning to catch the short, 1.5 mile trail from there to the falls. However, the trail was closed, so I had to turn around.

I retraced my steps all the way back to my car. Total walking time was just over an hour. I grabbed a ballcap from my car (for shade) and continued south on the Sawpit Wash trail. It deadends at Lemon, only about 1/2 south of Foothill. I returned, again.

My guestimate is I covered between 3.5 and 4.0 miles for the day. Pretty short by hike standards, but something new.

Alone, this hike makes no sense to walk unless you already live near here and it's just a place to stretch your legs. But if you want to add 3-4 miles to the already-short hike to Monrovia Canyon Falls, this seems like a decent way to add to it. It's not very scenic, but it still gets you away from the cars for a while. Some horse properties adjoin the trail. Other properties have gone fully suburban.

There is on-street parking near the Lemon Avenue "trailhead," in addition to the Foothill "trailhead" that I started from. I didn't specifically look, but I assume there's on-street parking near Greystone or Norembega, too.

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