Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hike 2013.013 -- Eaton Canyon

Hiked Saturday, March 16.

Things keep coming up to keep me from getting my hiking in. Of course, a lot of these things are good; they just keep me off the trail.

Today, I had only a few hours in the morning to hike because I needed to be back for an appraiser to look at the house. So rather than a drive out to Joshua Tree for some hiking and comet hunting, I needed to do something short. I was still thinking of maybe heading out to the desert in the afternoon, but I'm feeling tired enough now that I'm not even going to make it into the Angeles National Forest for comet hunting, I think. Might do some sidewalk astronomy in Monrovia, though.

At any rate, it was approaching 9a by the time I made it to Eaton Canyon. It's the closest San Gabriel Mountains trailhead from my house, but one I had not been to so far this year.

Settled on a waterfall hike.

Parked on the curbside, Altadena Drive, just north of New York Drive. I figure that adds about 1/2 mile roundtrip to the hike.

They have planted sunflowers along Altadena Drive, and also in the area just north of the visitor center. In both locations, they are blooming like crazy right now.

I snapped a few pictures, then headed down on the trail (which starts just south of the drive way), crossed the driveway, and continued on the trail that stays "behind" the visitor center and west of the parking area. You join the main trail just north of the developed area, near where several nature trails loop in the area west of the visitor center.

Once I emerged on the main trail, I saw the first of what must be a crowd of hundreds. Still had the occasional moment to contemplate nature, but it was very crowded.

The fog burned off quickly, and by the time I reached the wash crossing, the mountains were now easily visible. The ground here was wet, but no water ran. I remember one year, the water ran high and fast here, and the crossing had to be made along a downed tree, well upstream from here. No such problems today.

As I walked on the straight section of the trail that stays east of the wash, I saw the water did not appear on my left until maybe 1/4 mile of the bridge. Still further along than earlier in the winter, but clear evidence that the waterfall would not be running especially high.

Once in Eaton Canyon proper, there are numerous stream crossings. When it's crowded, those stream crossings become bottlenecks. That slowed me somewhat, but it was not an obnoxiously slow way up. And, again, there were moments of solitude, when I could snap a few pictures in the absence of voices not my own.

Upon reaching the falls, however, there could be no illusion of solitude. I count about 35 bodies in several of my pictures of the end, and that's without being able to see into that final bowl where the water falls. Can't quite see the edges of the base area, either. I would expect well over 50 people where there.

So I snapped my pictures from a distance. No need to walk any further; it wasn't going to get better. Then I headed back. Again, a few bottle necks, but also lots of my time to get to my regular pace and try to burn some calories.

I'll call it 4.5 miles for the day. Still enjoyable, if not far too crowded for my taste, but hardly surprising, given it was a weekend morning with excellent weather.

Still have two hikes to write-up. May or may not be able to do that before my next hike. That one won't be until at least Thursday, since I have evening commitments Monday through Wednesday, and I work all day tomorrow.

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