Saturday, December 29, 2012
Given the recent rains, thought I'd check out Bailey Canyon. Although the waterfall here is dry more often than not, it can be a cute little waterfall if the water is high. Also, if there's no water, there are several possible hikes on up the canyon, including the cabin foundation, Jones Saddle, Jones Peak, Hastings Peak, and even clear over into Little Santa Anita Canyon. But I was pretty sure my destination was just going to be the waterfall, then the cabin ruins.
There's a flush toilet and several drinking fountains in the picnic area near the parking lot. There's also a map and trailhead just north of the restroom.
The sign there said it was 2.2 miles to the cabin foundation.
Shortly thereafter, a small bridge crosses what will probably be a dry streambed. A nature trail with interpretive signs is over that way.
I continued straight, which also is supposed to be a nature trail. There are a few metal poles with numbers, but no interpretive signs this way.
Today, there was very little water here, and it turned out most of that was coming from a side stream and was not coming over the falls.
After the 1/4 mile of criss-crossing the mostly dry stream bed and passing through, under, and over the riparian growth, I was at the wall where Bailey Canyon Falls would be. Today, it would qualify as a slow trickle or a fast drip.
The only time I came here with a significant flow was last March. On other visits, it has either been very slightly more than today, or nothing at all. Nothing at all is the default case, probably 9 months out of the year.
The climb is steep here, as is the way along most of the path to Jones Saddle. However, you're quickly rewarded with a view up Jones Canyon (the picture at the top of this post), and down towards the monastery. Street trees were looking a little colorful today.
The trail eventually makes its way to the south a bit, where it reaches a ridge, then returns back into the hills. At the ridge, there's a very short (10 yard) detour to a bench where you could sit and enjoy the view.
As you're walking along the ridge, you get several impressive views of canyon walls to either side of you. The San Gabriel Mountains rise steeply here.
More steep climbing, with a couple of places where a use trail is as well-defined as the actual trail. Then, the next level segment is when you're at "cabin level." The trail runs more or less flat as it heads towards a "V" where, if it's wet, water will spill down towards Bailey Canyon. I'm pretty sure this is where the water that enters Bailey Canyon from the side (not over the waterfall) comes from.
I walked over to where the cabin once stood, peeked over to see there was no water flowing behind it, then returned the way I came. Just under six miles for the day.
It's raining, now, so I guess no hike for me today. My next chance will be after work on the 31st, when I'll probably be getting off early and have several hours (assuming it is dry) to squeeze in hike 80 for the year.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Despite threatening weather earlier in the week, Saturday was clear enough to take a moderately long hike. I knew if the weather did cooperate, I was going to try heading out to the Middle Fork of Lytle Creek. I hiked this once before, in January of this year.
I wanted to verify my directions, so I decided to do this hike again.
You reach the trailhead by takng I-15 north to Sierra Highway. You exit there, and head west. Sierra Highway becomes Lytle Creek Road. Obtain your Wilderness Permit at the ranger station. Also, if you don't already have one, purchase your Adventure Pass there, too.
About 1.8 miles past the ranger station, Middle Fork Road is on your left. There's a sign saying it's three miles from there to the trailhead.
This time, I parked about 1/4 mile from the end of the pavement, where there's a large, flat parking area just down and to the left of the road.
That meant I had a bit over 2 miles of walking along a dirt road each way, in addition to the 5.2 miles or so I would have had to the waterfall and back.
The start of this hike was warm. Although the temperature was probably in the 60s, it was in full sun, with little shade. That's the case for essentially the entire dirt road section of the trail. It's wide and on the north side of the canyon, so there's no escaping the sun. In this section, I wished I had worn shorts and a short-sleeved shirt.
I walked deliberately up the dirt road, which climbed consistently on up towards the trailhead. Most areas seemed like they would be passable for my car. Only two areas looked tricky (including the last stretch up to the official trailhead parking). If I took it slow and didn't mind knocking my alignment out of whack, I'm pretty sure I'd have made it okay. However, only high clearance pickup trucks and SUVs were in the trailhead lot both when I arrived and when I left.
There are only a few sections of this main section of trail where you need to pay careful attention. First, at the start of the trail, head off from the trailhead and resist the temptation to walk near the water way. Second, if at any point in the first mile, you find yourself rapidly descending towards the waterway, TURN AROUND. You missed a turn.
You may also take a few seconds when you reach a dry wash crossing in from the south. The trail is washed out for about fifteen yards by a wide path of rocks and sand. Scan the other side of the wash out and find your path on the other side.
Finally, when you reach "Third Crossing" (the first time on this hike where you will be crossing significant water, at least unless there's been a recent rain), you'll want to cross the stream, then begin heading downstream (east). You can either stick near the waterway, then turn north when you reach the fork coming in from your north, or head diagonally, to just west of what looks to me to be a limestone cliff. You would have seen this high and to your south as you were still on the main trail.
Some descriptions of the hike to these waterfalls would take you to the top of the highest of a series of falls. You'd need technical skills to make it down those upper falls to get to where you are standing now.
You will not need any technical skills to get to the base of the lowest of falls. But you might need to pick your way carefully. The rocks may be wet and slippery, particularly if the water is high. You might even find yourself needing to turn around, or else risk a significant fall into the water, or a willingness to walk through the pools that may be quite deep in spots.
I returned the way I came. Figure about nine miles and 2400 feet or so of elevation gain for the day. That was last Saturday. I sure wish I had done a hike today, but I got lazy. Should still be able to reach 80 for the year, though. It's not 100, but it's all I could manage, with my current work load.
Monday, December 10, 2012
The trail then continues on the east bank of the wash, passing under a number of large oak trees, many of which were scarred by past fires. At least two signed side canyons will be passed on your right side before the trail reaches the bridge of the old Mt. Wilson Toll Road. To get to the waterfall, you pass under the bridge (about one mile from the parking lot) and continue an additional 1/2 mile up the now-narrow Eaton Canyon.
Instead, after several crossings (which require at least average balance and dexterity in times of low water, and above average grace and nerves when the water is roaring high), you arrive at a small alcove, into which Eaton Canyon Falls descends. The water can range from a trickle to a torrent, depending on season and recent falls of snow or rain.
This day, it was running above average for this time of year. It was a peaceful scene, and not all the crowded, despite it being a weekend morning. As with other recent hikes in the local foothills and canyons, there were some patches of yellow from sycamore leaves to give a hint of fall to the scene.
Returned the way I came. It's an easy two hour hike, even with lots of time for pictures and relaxing.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
However, upon reaching the crest, the parking area was looking pretty full. Silly to think I would find parking on a day like this, I guess.
Once on Mt. Lowe Road, you turn left (uphill). After maybe 2/10ths of a mile, the Sunset Ridge Trail drops off from the road, heading to the left. The paved road continues straight ahead. Both meet up again another 2 miles or so ahead. However, the trail is definitely more scenic than the road.
There are also several waterfalls to view on the way up. The water flow on both I saw was very low, however. Also, Millard Falls itself was in shadow, and hardly visible on my way up. It stood out nicely on the way back, however. So the shots I included with this post were actually snapped on my return leg, when the sun was lighting up the falls nicely.
Not long after passing the first waterfall, a cabin is down on your left. I am told that there's a trail there that would take you down to the stream, where you could work your way down towards the lip of the falls. There's no real view of the falls from here, however.
A bit further on, another series of waterfalls come down from the west. The last time I hiked here, the water was running pretty good, but, today, it was just enough to keep the algae green. ;D
This, despite the recent rains.
Nice views up Millard Canyon from here, though.
This, despite the recent rains. There were even a few flowers blooming, though they were far between. The ferns looked happy, though. Also, in a few spots, fresh growths of green grasses lined the single-track trail. You could almost pretend this was someplace besides the San Gabriel Mountains.
Saturday, December 1, 2012
Hike 2012.075 -- Griffith Park -- PaDATL Trail, Bill Eckert Trail, Vista del Valle, Five Points and Fern Canyon Trail.
So, by very early in the afternoon, I was pulling into Griffith Park, getting ready for my latest hike. The trees in the lot had turned even more orange than they had been the week before.
Today, I started out by walking along the parking lot, due north, towards the Old Zoo picnic area. Once there, I walked to the left. A fair incline takes you along a slew of cage areas where zoo animals once lived. You also have some nice views up at Bee Rock.
On the eastern end of this clearing is a restroom. Unlike many other restrooms in the park, this one has locking doors that would give you some privacy. However, the toilets are still prison-type toilets, so it's not the most attractive place to use, if you don't have to.
With the gain in altitude come 180 degree views, from down south, towards Glendale Peak, to up north, towards the new zoo. To the northeast is the golf course I walked along on my last hike in Griffith Park. Unfortunately, unlike last time, this day was much hazier than the last.
Topanga State Park, Bee Rock is a more impressive lookout if you're coming from one end versus the other.
As I passed to the north and east of Bee Rock, I eventually reached Vista del Valle Road. From there, a right turn would have taken me north, with a possible detour back to the peaks north of Mt. Hollywood. However, since I've been that way several times this year already, I turned left.
After passing the Bee Rock trail, my paved path swept to the south, then to the west. It brought me to the base of one of those impressive escarpments, where you look up and marvel at how abrupt these hills rise. Earthquake country? Yeah, I'd say so.
I took that trail as part of a different hike, earlier this year. A softer right would send you down towards the Roosevelt Golf Course. You'd also pass the tennis courts and eventually pop out at Vermont, where you could take several paths either up towards Mt. Hollywood or towards the Observatory.
Or you can just pause for a moment, and enjoy the view to your west. The Observatory domes and parking area are to the west, less than a mile as the crow flies, but several miles of winding, up-and-down trail away.
An easy hike, since I avoided most of the major climbs. Lots of new trails covered, too. I'd estimate about 6.5 miles, particularly given the two passes through the Old Zoo.