Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hike 2012.021 -- Sturtevant Falls

Hiked Tuesday, April 3.

The parking lot at Chantry Flats fills early on the weekends, so I haven't hiked here in a while. But when I got off work on Tuesday afternoon, I figured it now stayed light long enough for me drive all the way up to Chantry Flat, squeeze in a short hike to Sturtevant Falls, then get back to the car with time to spare. Only question remaining was if the lot would be full when I got there.

As I drove up the road to Chantry Flats (Foothill Freeway, I-210, exit Santa Anita Avenue, head north, into the mountains), there were essentially no other cars heading up. I started feeling pretty good about my chances of finding a parking spot. And, sure enough, when I got there, the lots were mostly empty. This was just about 5pm.

Walked briskly down the asphalt road that is the beginning of the Sturtevant Trail. Looking back up from where I came, I saw an unexpected splash of color, with many of the trees looking more like fall than spring.

About 1/4 mile down, there's a bend in the road where a nice little (8-10 foot or so) waterfall is set in a small alcove of the canyon. Very little water was crossing the road here, however, and the a peek into the alcove confirmed that little water was coming in on this side canyon.

I continued down the trail.

After another 1/4 mile or so later, the trail reaches the canyon bottom, right where the water from Winter Creek comes in from the left. The water coming out of Winter Creek was also not particularly high. I concluded that Sturtevant would look fine, but would not be roaring.

Somewhat surprisingly, I then came across a couple with fly rods. The gentleman said there were rainbow trout in there, though most were very small. He insisted he saw a few larger ones, however.

As I made my way up Sturtevant Canyon, I passed the numerous cabins that are set among the trees here. Periwinkle and ivy dominate the under story here. Whether because of the windstorm late last year or simple concern over the upcoming fire season, the area around these cabins seemed a lot more open than it used to.

Never saw any fish in here myself, though I have seen fingerling-sized fish in nearby Fish Canyon. That one's got a heavier flow than Santa Anita Canyon, so I'm less surprised by fish there than I am by fish here.

Not many flowers during this walk. Some white ones that I've seen here before, but whose name I do not recall.

I did come across a nice bush of Canterbury bell. Didn't notice them on the way down, but they were very noticeable on the way back up.

Came to Fiddler's Crossing and continued up canyon. Several folks were coming back from the falls.

Unexpectedly, when I got to the falls themselves, I had them more or less to myself. A few stupid people were climbing on the hill to the left, where numerous signs say not to climb. I'm not sure if they started from the top or the bottom, but they were slowly making their way back down towards the falls for most of the time I was there. So other than their occasional shouts, there was nothing but the sound of running water to keep me company.

I shot a lot of pictures of these very picturesque falls. I liked the ones where the lower falls are framed by a nearby tree (at the top of this post), though I also took some from straight away. Exposure times in the late afternoon shade were as long as 1/8th of a second. I shot some braced against a rock.

Seemed like about 10 minutes before anyone else got there, which was my cue to leave. I passed about ten more folks coming to the falls within the first five minutes after turning around.

I saw the fishing couple down below, as well. They were fishing in one of the deeper pools below a check dam. I watched a few moments, mentally critiquing the casting technique of one of them, and saw no fish hook ups.

On the way back up, I saw the gibbous moon, climbing over the edge of Big Santa Anita Canyon. I took many shots of that, too. For several, I braced the camera on a rock, as my exposure times were creeping up towards 1/10th of a second, which is way long when you're zoomed in. Pictures came out okay.

About four miles for the day. Nice to know there's enough daylight after work to successfully squeeze in a waterfall hike.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a fantastic hike. I love the waterfall. We do not have many wildflowers this year here in SoCal as we didn't get much rain.