Hiked Sunday, September 30. Another post-work hike. I started around 5:15pm, though the temperatures were still very high and dry.
From the Observatory, I elected to head down East Observatory Road. That's where employees park, and the route that is suggested for hikers and bikers coming up or down along the road between Vermont and the Observatory. Of course, this doesn't stop slightly insane people from walking or biking through the narrow tunnel that leads to West Observatory Road, but there's no way I'd walk through that tunnel if I didn't have to.
This trail is labeled "Riverside Trail," although no river was apparent to me. You do approach a canyon bottom. A trail crosses your way here, heading both south, towards the tennis courts, and north, into the canyon. It seems to be one of three ways to get up to the Hogback Ridge.
Even from down here, you can occasionally see people making their way along the Hogsback, far above.
Your path now heads back towards Commonwealth, before turning east just before reaching the street. Trail access would be possible from here, though I'm not sure about the parking situation on Commonwealth.
I noticed a large number of "cedar" here. Some were burned, and most looked ragged and aged. There's no doubt that this locale is drier than their native habitat.
This trail takes you higher, and gives you a return view of the Observatory (my first from the east). After a turn to the north, most of the rest of the Hogback is now visible to you. Yeah, it looks steep, and it is.
Just before crossing the bridge, "Henry's Trail" is on your right. It's a short, roughly 1/5th of a mile trail to the top of Glendale Peak. The first 20 yards or so are steep, up eroded dirt steps.
A small snake, only a foot or so long and 1/2 inch in diameter, somehow found itself among these steps as I headed up the trail. It tried to get out of my way quickly, but the steepness and dusty sand made that impossible. Once it determined no quick getaway was possible, it adopted the opposite tack--it stopped, then slowly slid its way off the path.
By the time I was finished taking in the view (and a few phone calls--another story), the sun was nearly setting. I returned to the East Ridge Trail, crossed the bridge, and headed up towards Mt. Hollywood.
I soon discovered that this segment was longer than it appeared. It looks to be very nearly 1 mile from Glendale Peak to Dante's View.
Along the way, I stopped at the turn where I observed the shuttle flyby just over a week before. Tried taking some skyline at night shots. I had no tripod, so I just set the camera on my backpack, and tried both shooting regularly and using the self-timer. In theory, the self-timer would allow for picture taking without the risk of my hand triggering the shutter inducing vibrations. On the other hand, just tripping the shutter of a camera on a backpack probably induces some vibrations.
After about 20 minutes of trying for that skyline shot, I continued down the trail. It was now fully dark. The Harvest Moon was supposed to be rising, but a ridge would block my view of the moon until I was quite near the end of my hike.
After a few of those shots, I switched to manual. I also needed to figure out how to make adjustments. It would appear that I could set camera to "A" (aperture-priority), use the dial on the back of the camera to dial in my desired lens aperture, then switch to "M" (manual), and use that same dial to set the shutter speed.
The results are still not super-sharp. But the ISO is 400, and I'm not sure how precise the autofocus is (or if I could have done better in manual focus mode). The picture looks okay at snap-shot size, but I can't blow it up much more than this without the edges getting ragged and the sharpness getting worse.
I'll call it 4.5 miles for the day. Felt good to stretch my legs, which I hadn't been able to do in over a week. I've fallen a bit behind on my target of ten hikes per month, but the unofficial goal of 100 hikes for the year is still attainable.
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