Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Hike 2012.074 -- Griffith Park -- Old Zoo Trail, Mineral Wells Trail, Condor Trail, Skyline Trail, and Crystal Springs Drive
I considered several possible hikes on this Veteran's Day holiday, but settled on something close and easy. My initial plan was to park near the zoo, pop in there for a little while, then take a hike towards the old zoo. Old zoo and new zoo. Seemed like it would be fun.
However, as I pulled off the freeway and on to the exit lane, I saw the traffic in front of me at a dead stop. I could also see the traffic on the bridge I would need to cross to get over the 5 and to the zoo was at a standstill. I waited a moment or two, then lost patience. Clearly, this would take me 15 minutes or so just to go the 1/4 mile from the exit to the zoo parking lot.
Indeed, the drive was pretty quick and easy. Crossed over the freeway and then turned right on Griffith Park Drive. I decided I would also take this opportunity to see the official park visitor center, which I had never yet seen.
Standing near the street, I saw an American flag on a pole behind the more obvious buildings, and I deduced this was a signal that the visitor center was in there. And it was.
On the way to the visitor center, there are what I assume to be life-sized representations of various large birds you might see in the park.
Inside the visitor center, there's a nice topographical relief map of the park, with little light-up indicators for a variety of attractions that have associated buttons to push along the perimeter of the map. They also had taxidermic examples of various local wildlife: cottontail rabbit, fox, coyote, bobcat, raccoon, and opossum.
I was most amused by the little blurb next to the section on Griffith J. Griffith, who donated the land and a chunk of money for the park and observatory that bears his name. There's a paragraph in there noting that "Colonel Griffith was a Park Commissioner for a brief period of time in 1903. He later survived a brief period of scandal in his life."
Compare that treatment with what you'll read on findagrave.com's website, and you'll almost think you're reading about two entirely different people!
After getting my fill of the visitor center, I hopped back in the car and parked in the lot that's just south of the Merry-Go-Ground. This is the same place I started my hike to Bee Rock, just a few weeks previous. The trees in the lot were beginning to turn color.
I also observed that the weird Christmas decorations and singing elves I saw on my pre-Halloween hike were gone. Turns out they were part of the Haunted Hayride, which one reviewer, at least, said was worth it. I didn't go, myself.
Along the way I saw some woodpeckers. They were checking out the acorns they had "planted" for grubs to eat. I also saw Amir's Garden from the other side. There's a steep trail that heads on up there from the north, but I wasn't in the mood for the challenge.
My initial plan was to either head into the zoo or go to the Autry National Center for lunch. Yet the trails don't actually take you to those places. Instead, on the trail took me below Zoo Drive and on to a trail that paralleled the Golden State Freeway.
I ended the day tired, but happy at having covered quite a bit of new trail for the day.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
I've written this hike a lot recently, because the trailhead is right were I work. I was trying to get some night skyline pictures, again. What I have learned is that my cheap tripod is not steady enough--every shot has a blur as the camera shakes from the shutter being triggered. It's not *too* obvious with small pictures sizes, but it looks terrible at full-screen size.
So, one shot of downtown on the way up, and one on the way down.
Maybe three miles roundtrip. I walked around the summit on the way up, to try to get that magic distance. Not sure if I made it. I also had to contact the rangers after I got to the bottom. Just before crossing over the Vermont tunnel, I ran across a mother who's grown daughter left the trail and was no longer visible. Not sure of all the details, but I talked to a couple of rangers the next day and they confirmed that all ended well. The young woman was waiting by the car. I sorta figured that was going to be the story, so I was not nearly as distraught as the mother was.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Been out this way a number of times, usually when time is short. I had a great hike here in February, even as I was coming down with my last cold (the one before the latest bout).
The map of the trailhead of this trail is here. Once you walk off the right end of that map, you'd enter this one.
When you reach a fork in the trial (4/10ths of a mile up), the Peppergrass is the steeper one, to the right. I also went over a few hills along the way, just for the fun of it.
I made a right turn here. After 1/5 of a mile, the Rattlesnake Ridge Trail runs into the Sumac trail, which I had taken just a month ago.
Once I passed the Sumac trail, the path I took last month to the multi-colored watertank was in front of me. However, as change of pace, I walked down the lower (left) road, to see where it would take me.
It eventually did take me around to the other side of the watertank, but it's probably 3 or 4 times further that way than just heading up the steep trail.
He had hiked in from the Turnbull Canyon road, and asked about where the trail to the south came from. I told him I had come from the Greenleaf access (Hellman Wilderness Park), and that there was also access to these hills from Seventh Avenue in Hacienda Heights. I like to think this means he'll be able to make a few more trips up this way in the future.
From here, it was on back to my car. I'd estimate 3.5 miles for the day.
Friday, November 2, 2012
Once there, I observed a fire truck, a paramedic truck, and saw a helicopter fly out from the canyon. I assume a hiker fell, though I did not stop to ask. Instead, I parked, rummaged around my passenger compartment (looking for my Adventure Pass), then dug through my trunk and backpack, looking for my change of clothes, socks, and boots.
As I dug through my trunk, I noticed a tall, slim, dark-haired woman heading down the trail, towards the falls.
After changing, I tossed the work clothes into the truck, laced up my boots.
There was a bit of a bite in the air (at least by southern California standards), so I pulled on my sweater over my shorts and t-shirt before moseying on down the trail. Having eaten an excessively large lunch, I had to take it slow, to prevent from upsetting my stomach. I should know better by now.
When I got to the end of the pavement, I noticed for the first time that there are stairs that climb the hill behind the pit toilet near the bridge. I'll have to head up those stair some day and see where they go.
Continued on down the trail, still taking it easy, and enjoying my first recreational hike since the Mojave, over two weeks ago. Yeah, I guess I'm spoiled by the past few years of multi-hike weeks.
Still pools sat behind the check dams, largely covered with leaves. I kept snapping pictures, and continued my slow walk.
However, it turns out she had not reached the falls. Instead, she told me she had gotten creeped out by a man further up the trail, who had stood astride the trail and did she did not want to approach, so she turned around. She asked if she could tag along with me, and of course I agreed.
It bothers me that women have to live like this, because obviously I'm always hiking all over the place on my own, and I only get nervous when I'm thinking about mountain lions.
Fortunately, we did not run across the person she had encountered earlier on her hike, and we had an uneventful walk both to and from the waterfall.
I learned my hiking companion was trying to get a short tune-up hike in before she continued to join a friend for a hike into the Grand Canyon. I also learned she was in town for her brother's wedding, which was at the Pasadena City Hall. I've seen their city hall in the day light, but it looked really photogenic at night. I'll have to try to make it up there some evening.
I'll have to check my older pictures to see, but I think the water was slightly higher on this day than it was the last time I was at Sturtevant.
After about fifteen minutes at the falls, we headed back. Uneventful on the way back, to. So, back in the parking lot, I bade farewell to my hiking companion for the day and wished her luck on her trip to the Grand Canyon.