Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hike 2012.042 -- Sturtevant Falls

Hiked Tuesday, July 3. Yes, this is hike 42 for the year. Haven't gotten around to writing up the last two hikes, though both were pretty short, and I have no pictures of the last one. I hate forgetting my camera.

Got off from work early today, drove home, and contemplated where or if I was going to hike. Ended up taking another short hike.

But first, I headed up to the new Angeles National Forest HQ building, on Santa Anita Avenue in Arcadia (just south of the Foothill Freeway (I-210). My Adventure Pass expired back in April, and I decided it was time to get a replacement. Went with the America the Beautiful Pass this time, so I'll have to hit Joshua Tree and at least one other national park by the end of July 2013 to "get my money's worth."

Made it there with 10 minutes to spare (they closed at 4:30pm), made my purchase, then continued up Santa Anita Avenue, to Chantry Flat. Had to follow an excessively slow-moving car the whole way. Probably only cost me a minute or two, but it's always a little frustrating to get stuck like that.

Parked, signed my card, and headed down the pavement towards Sturtevant Falls. I had several optional add-ons to this hike, but ended up just going to the falls. Got me thinking about my time in Kentucky as I walked.

When I was in Kentucky last fall, I'd get up at about 7am, eat a bowl of oatmeal, get myself ready for work, walk the one mile to my office, change clothes, prep maybe an hour or so, teach a class or two, get back to my office, eat my lunch during office hours (usually just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but sometimes leftover pizza), then often be heading out as early as 12:30pm on Fridays or maybe 2pm on certain other days. Changed clothes again, walk the mile back home, then drove the 30-45 minutes to somewhere in Land Between the Lakes, and took a hike. I lost some serious weight during my five months in Kentucky. It was a pretty comfortable routine.

Of course, it had the drawback of being 1500 miles from my wife and my home and my cats, which kinda sucked. But, all things considered, things worked out pretty well.

How does this relate to today's hike? Well, I've discovered something the past few weeks. But first, my new routine: I've recently shifted my work schedule to 7am - 3:30pm. This means getting up at about 5:30am, which gives me about 45 minutes to get myself ready and the cats fed, followed by a 40 minute drive to work. Then it's a Pop Tart or two for breakfast, with coffee, at the desk, as I'm working. Maybe something from Jack-in-the-Box if I'm running early. Then lunch at 11:30am, then work until 3:30pm. Then I either drive straight from work to a trailhead, or I drive home, then change, then head out again. Either way, I still have lots of daylight for hiking.

Unfortunately, the thing I discovered the past few weeks is that, on this schedule, I start getting hungry around 5pm. So if I go hiking, I barely get started before I'm already thinking, "Man, I'm hungry. What am I going to eat for dinner?" Quite often, that means I'm losing my hiking motivation and just thinking about getting home for dinner. I'm eating more, walking less, and definitely not losing weight. So what happened today, where I start with an ambitious plan, but end up cutting things short due to hunger, has become a regular pattern the past few months.

OK, end of that digression.

It's been a few months since my last visit to Sturtevant Falls. As I made my way to the falls today, the water was well below where it was during my last visit. Lower Winter Creek didn't even flow over the check dam, though it did reappear near the bridge that crosses the creek. Also, the check dams along Sturtevant Creek didn't flow over the face of the dam, either.

Crossing Sturtevant Creek at Fiddler's Crossing didn't take any level of dexterity, either.

Still, it was a scenic crossing. The guy in the cabin recently got himself a new American flag. He's almost always got one displayed out front, but sometimes it's more worn than others. Today, it looked new, and very dramatic with the backlighting. What a place to live!

The falls were very narrow. Not as narrow as Bailey Falls, but a fair impersonation.

Dan Simpson gives a distance of 3.7 miles for this hike, and a loss/gain of 700 feet. That's pretty short to me, but the end will be up a long paved road. If you don't have much aerobic capability, it'll be a slow slog back to your car. Lots of younger kids (meaning 8 and under) make the trip, while younger ones sometimes get much of the trail riding in a stroller.

I've written up this hike numerous other times, so use the search function at the bottom of this page if you want to see more descriptions and pictures.

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